Have you ever found by experimentation that if you repeat yourself enough, you get something through to a slow learner? Solomon uses this tactic in Proverbs. His intention is to impress upon ‘his son’ (who could be his real son, or just a close student) the importance of following what is right. Let us read.
“1 My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye. 3 Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”
Hebrews is an interesting language and one I have not studied but encourage you to do so. Scholars notice that, particularly in songs and proverbs, instead of using rhymes to emphasis a point (which would be lost in translation anyway), the writers use similar or contrasting ideas to achieve a flow of reason. We see this in effect here in the first few verses. Notice the same idea is being presented, but in different ways. The basic call is for the reader to keep what Solomon teaches. But why should we treat what he has to say as very important? The basic answer is that he has God’s wisdom to impart to us. While he did fall from grace in later life, King Solomon had much good to say in his early years.
The language in verse three is very similar to wording in the law of Moses, so he seems to want to parallel his words and God’s words. That is bold for sure, and we definitely need to be examining whether his words do line up with God’s.
“Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” And call understanding your nearest kin,”
If you have been reading my Proverbs posts since I had a look at chapter one, you might recall this personification of wisdom as a woman. Such is her importance, we are to call her sister, bonding with her and learning all about her. She needs to be on our minds and in our hearts. Understanding needs to be close to our hearts as well, in order for us to discern what is right or wrong at a moments notice. We have to be on our toes when it come to sin, especially sexual sin. Solomon teaches this repeatedly.
“5 That they may keep you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words.”
Is this idea sinking in for you? It seems Solomon will not let go of this idea of the immoral woman. I doubt he is actually against pleasure, since we saw in chapter 5 a rather visual explanation of enjoyment with one’s wife. Also try out the Bible book of ‘Song of Solomon’ for a full exploration of the sexual joy to be found in marriage. So he is not out against pleasure. Rather, he is ensuring that his son enjoys it within the confines that God commands. We are allowed to enjoy wine, but are not get drunk. We are allowed to eat all manner of good things, but are not to be a glutton. We are allowed to enjoy sex, but it is to be shared within marriage alone. Our pleasure for things needs to be confined lest we destroy ourselves in the process. The woman who flatters with her words wants something from you. What she wants is worth much to your (possibly future) wife, and it shows one’s lack of understanding when they give in to such a woman. “Keep [Soloman’s] law and live.” Live and be wise. Keep yourself from impurity. Surely God knows best. Amen.
Your turn for pondering: Is God right about this? Is there room for fun outside of marriage? If yes, what grounding do you have for that?
Note: All scripture is taken from Biblestudytools.com and is the New King James Version. I am using a commentary by John Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.