BibleAsk Team

Who is the strange woman that is mentioned in Proverbs?

Solomon the wise warns the young men of the strange woman in the book of Proverbs (ch. 2;5;7). This woman represents primarily the prostitute and the illegitimate wife (ch. 7:10). She is characterized by using smooth words to appeal to the weakness of mankind (ch. 2:16; 5:3; 7:21). Cunningly, she claims to be moral (ch. 7: 14) and assures her victim of his safety (v. 19,20).

Solomon’s illustration

Solomon uses an illustration to emphasize his instruction (ch. 7). He speaks of a woman who had roamed the streets looking for a victim and once she finds him, “She persuades him with the greatness of her teachings; with her smooth lips she compels him. He goes after her suddenly; like an ox to the slaughter he goes, and like a stag to the instruction of a fool, until an arrow pierces his entrails, like a bird rushing into a snare, but he does not know that it will cost him his life” (Proverbs 7:21-23).

Paul’s instruction

The strange woman is certainly not one of the “keepers at home” that Paul commended (Titus 2:5). Paul advised that a godly man will keep himself from temptation and trials of this sort (1 Corinthians 6:18). He will run from it as Joseph did (Genesis 39:12). As for the young man in Solomon’s illustration, he is typical of many moral offenders today, who, while permitting unwise associations, having no intention at first of selling their soul to lust. But suddenly they find themselves in a trap from which they seem powerless to escape. These, should have successfully repulsed the first instigation of evil. “Touch not; taste not; handle not” (Colossians 2:21) is the only safe course to pursue in such situations. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

Jesus’ warning

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus taught, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus does not say that temptation itself is sin. But if a person indulges in sin when he has the opportunity, that condition itself is sin. Thus, sin is the lack of obedience to God’s law, whether in act, or thought (1 John 3:4). A person’s character will be judged by what he would do if he knew that he would never be caught. Therefore, “So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:10).

The lustful relationship of the foolish young man is very different from the true love (1 Corinthians 13). Love deepens and becomes richer with the years, but a sinful attachment quickly becomes an unwanted trap that brings misery and ruin. Why would a man let himself be drawn into such a snare? (Proverbs 5:20). Many are not guided by the Holy Spirit (Genesis 6:5). Therefore, when sin is strong, God’s people must make wise decisions in choosing their friends and flee from temptation (2 Timothy 2:22). And they should connect themselves to the Savior that the very idea of sin will be quickly pushed from their minds (2 Corinthians 10:5).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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