Since this is a place of honesty, I have to admit something here. I grow so impatient with the book of Proverbs starting around this chapter here, where King Solomon became repetitive. It seems each chapter boils down to “avoid the wicked,” which doesn’t answer every problem in my life — at least, on the surface. But then, when I take the time to slow down (like I’m doing this month), I realize how often I want to join the gossiping, complaining, partying, “fun-having” activities that my co-workers or friends seem to enjoy each week. I get serious cases of FOMO, and wish my life would be different. And that’s when I realize why King Solomon warned his readers so frequently; the wicked (to whatever degree) will lead me astray, and it is wisdom to know that and remember it.
Another interesting element in this chapter is how often it addresses lustful women and adultery. King Solomon urges his audience to turn from that specific temptation, and it’s easy to read the warning as only applying to men — because they were, traditionally, Solomon’s readers. But it’s just as important for women to heed the warnings as well. To really bring this morning’s text home, I mentally changed some of the verses to read “lustful man,” rather than “adulterous woman,” and suddenly those verses seemed much more applicable.
Verse 3: “For the lips of the adulterous woman [lustful man] drip honey, and her [his] speech is smoother than oil…”
Verse 23: “For lack of discipline they [the wicked] will die, led astray by their own great folly.”