This chapter’s first study set the scene of a parent teaching their young son about adultery and warning against it. The second section discussed the problems that this kind of sin can cause for the one who commits it. This section uses the symbolism of water for the young wife that the young man is engaged/ married to.
As we studied in Chapter 2, in old Jewish tradition, a child was “betrothed” (engaged… promised) at a very young age. A pact, legal promise, or “covenant” was made. The couple would grow to know each other as they grew up, and while the “groom” was building their house. When the father of the groom proclaimed the house ready, the young man would go and call to his bride (often at a time she didn’t know) and then they would have the marriage ceremony. (This also reminds us of Jesus promise and his return for his bride…)
In Chapter 2: 17-19, adultery was looked at from the side of the young woman that decided to be immoral, while in this chapter and verses, the warning against adultery is to the young man. Let’s read today’s verses:
Proverbs 5:15 - 23 (NKJV)
15 Drink water from your own cistern, And running water from your own well. 16 Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be only your own, And not for strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love.
20 For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, And be embraced in the arms of a seductress? 21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He ponders all his paths. 22 His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin. 23 He shall die for lack of instruction, (or “discipline” – NIV) And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
Verse 15- 18 uses symbolism to warn the young man to satisfy his “thirst” (sexual urges) within his own marriage and home, and not by running around “in the streets.” The advice that is given, is for the young man not to stray, but to remain with the “wife of your [his] youth.”
Verse 19 reminds the young man of the beauty of his wife, and of their love when it was young, and urges him to “always be enraptured with her love.”
Verse 20-22 has the “father” reminding his son that everything that is done is seen by God, and thought about by Him. It is important for the son to keep this in mind as it will help him to resist the temptation to stray. Wicked men that don’t keep these things in their minds, will be “entrapped” by their own choices and caught in their sins. The picture is almost one of a spider’s web catching a curious bug…
The final verse of this chapter again warns that those that don’t listen to instruction or take heed of “discipline” will be led astray and can even die. Just as today there are so many STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) that can kill your body, the same was true at that time also. Even more than that, as we have seen, sin can cause spiritual death as well, and sexual sin has a very strong attraction for many people.
I will finish this study with this scripture from 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 (NIV):
15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." 17But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.