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Proverbs 5:1-23

February 2, 2015

In this chapter a father warns his son about the dangers of adultery and the benefits of sexual faithfulness.  The fact that an entire chapter is devoted to this subject shows not only its importance but also how strong the temptation to adultery is.  Although the “strange woman” whose lips “drip honey” is the focus of warning, the real problem is male promiscuity.  There is always a tension between society’s need to foster faithful marital relationships and the fairly common male tendency to want to have sex with whatever attractive women are available.

The chapter is filled with liquids symbolizing the delights of sexuality.  The “strange” woman’s allure is symbolized by honey and oil.  But the delight of a wife is a spring or fountain of water.  The son is urged to “drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well.”  Find your delight in the “wife of your youth” and in the pleasures of her body.  “May you be intoxicated always by her love.”

For those who assume that biblical marriage was simply about producing and raising children, this chapter (and the Song of Songs) makes it clear that marriage is also meant to be a source of sexual delight.  The problem is, though, that many husbands (and wives) get tired of their spouses.  What then?  Here is where adultery becomes a strong temptation.  One common way to deal with this temptation is to justify adultery:  an “open marriage” is supposed to be more healthy and perhaps bring a spark back into the marriage.  This is nonsense.  Human beings (especially men) have been trying to figure out for millennia how to have multiple sexual partners without negative consequences.  No system has yet succeeded that I know of.

The social wisdom of much of humanity is that marriage needs to be faithful and exclusive.  Adultery leads to bitterness, sometimes violence, feelings of betrayal, the undermining of true intimacy, the weakening of emotional bonding, and the breakup of families.

Which does not mean that those who have fallen into adultery cannot be redeemed.  Marital relationships can be repaired if there is honesty and renewed commitment (and perhaps professional help).  Even if the marriage fails due to adultery, people can learn from their mistakes and build new, successful marriages.

Old love is mature love.  A couple who have lived together for many years, have gone through many trials together, and yet continue to put the wellbeing and joy of the other ahead of their own, can experience an intimacy and satisfaction more profound than any acting out of sexual fantasies with others.


From → Proverbs

  1. Your words and the scripture are so true. As a happily married man for 57 years I still delight in the wife of my youth (the same one!) She is a joy and a treasure.

  2. Thanks for the affirmation from your own long experience!

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