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Bible: What Does Proverbs 7-10 Teach Us About Sexual Sin and "Wisdom Personified"?
Joseph and Potiphar's Wife
Proverbs 7-10: Avoiding Prostitution; Wisdom Revisited; Wise Sayings
Avoiding Sexual Sin
Solomon employs a variation on a familiar sequence of expressions (cf. 2:1; 6:20 ff) to introduce a new slant on an old topic (vv. 1-5; cf. 6:24 ff).
He recounts an apparently true incident in which he watched a prostitute/adulteress seducing a young man (vv. 6-23).
The writer highlights the youth's error of walking under the cover of night to where he could see her “places of business.”
This secretive activity shows that the young man knew that the deed was wrong (vv. 7-9; cf. Jn. 3: 19-20; Eph. 5:11).
Notice the prostitute's social characteristics: ostentation, boisterousness, sensuality, non-submissiveness, as well as unfaithfulness and deceitfulness toward her “man” (vv. 10-11, 16, 18-19, 21).
[What does she mean by “love” in verse 18?]
Solomon also heavily emphasizes her enticing speech to him (vv. 14-20).
She seeks to convince him that it is all right for them to engage in adultery, because she believes that as long as she is “paid up” she can indulge in sin as much as she wants (v. 14).
[The adulteress salves her conscience through fulfilling religious duties, making her feel better about reveling in presumptuous sins.]
By appealing to his pride (vv. 15, 21) and inciting his passions (vv. 13, 16-18), she finds it easy to lead him to his destruction (vv. 22-23).
Solomon gives one final warning to his male children to avoid her (vv. 24-27).
[Solomon says that her victims were all strong men; perhaps they thought that their will power made them invulnerable and not susceptible to the wiles of an adulteress/prostitute].
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Wisdom: An Attribute of God or Christ?
Do you think Wisdom Personified refers to Christ?
Solomon reintroduces Wisdom personified (v. 1; cf. 1:20).
Again, she functions as a herald to men, especially to the simple and foolish among them (vv. 2-5).
Wisdom claims that she speaks plainly about things of excellence, truth, and righteousness, and avoids wickedness, crookedness, and perversity (vv. 6-8); those with understanding and knowledge recognize these facts about her (v. 9).
Possessing her is incomparably better than having material riches (vv. 10-11).
Wisdom soliloquizes about herself: her companions (v. 12), her hatreds (v. 13; cf. 1:7), her possessions (v. 14), her utility (vv. 15-16), her loves (v. 17), and her spiritual rewards to those who possess her (vv. 18-21).
She discusses her eternal existence with God before He created the heavens and earth and its entire splendor (vv. 22-26) and her presence with Him while He was preparing it all (vv. 27-29).
“She” "accompanied" Him as He made everything—though “she” calls herself “a master craftsman” (v. 30)—and rejoiced in what He had made, especially mankind.
Happiness, life, and divine favor await those who eagerly seek and find wisdom, but death belongs to those who hate her (vv. 32-36).
[To avoid Trinitarian confusion, one must understand this personification of wisdom as exactly that: a personification.
Wisdom refers to a quality God possesses, not to the Son of God Himself].
Personified Wisdom prepares a figurative banquet, and invites "simple" ones to dine and fellowship with her (vv. 1-6).
Verses 7-9 reveal disparate responses of both the wicked and the righteous to Wisdom's rebuke and correction; the former hates them (vv. 7-8a), but the latter loves them and learns the truth (vv. 8b-9).
The writer repeats the famous principle first penned in 1:7, and asserts how knowing God will increase one's life span through the understanding it brings (vv. 10-12).
As a framing device, Solomon concludes with the advice of the foolish woman.
It is instructive to contrast Wisdom's activity, position, and advice to the foolish woman's inactivity, position, and advice (vv. 13-18; cf. vv. 1-6. See also 7:27 and 9:18).
[Be able to recognize the role of constructive criticism in the maturation process].
The Wisdom of Solomon
Wise Sayings of Solomon
Solomon now begins his wise sayings, many of which contrast the ways of the righteous with those of the wicked.
Especially prevalent are those that deal with how one controls one's lips, tongue, and mouth. He wishes to prove that what one speaks discloses one's spiritual condition (vv. 6, 11, 13, 14, 18-21, 31, 32).
The writer characterizes the wicked as violent, destructive, full of hatred, liars, people of many words, slanderous, and perverse (vv. 6, 9, 10, 18-19, 31); on the other hand, righteous men show wisdom, restraint, and acceptable behavior/speech (vv. 19, 32).
Other salient features of this chapter include acknowledgments of the value of being diligent in one's work (vv. 4-5, 16, 26), the importance of wisdom in family relationships (v. 1), in personal growth (vv. 8, 14) and in teaching (vv. 13, 31), and the different destinies of the righteous and the wicked (vv. 2, 7, 16-17, 21, 24-25, 27-30).
[Diligent meditation upon these sayings can generate a multitude of applications to life].
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