A Strange Woman
The “strange woman” spoken of here in Proverbs 7, by Solomon, is presented in stark contrast to the “woman” with which wisdom is synonymous.
So, we would first consider… what is the opposite of wisdom? In a modern term, we could say “stupidity,” but you’re likely to have heard it, in Bible terms, as “folly.”
This strange woman is representative of an adulteress, dressed in a prostitute’s clothing. She is particularly subtle (as was the serpent in the Garden of Eden, according to Scripture), loud, stubborn, and is rarely ever home:
“She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:” (Proverbs 7:11)
The Strange Woman Lies in Wait
Meeting with this “woman” is certainly no chance meeting. Solomon tells his son that she catches the young man who is void of understanding (Proverbs 7:7), kisses him, and then proceeds to tempt and lure him.
She mentions her peace offerings, and her paid vows and goes on to say that she had come to meet him. She goes a step farther to say that she “diligently sought” his face. Chances are, she would have said the same to anyone she encountered, hoping to entrap the first one she came to.
I have to think that this particular point in the proverbial conversation would have offered a turning point if the young man had not been “void of understanding”. If he had been prudent, he would have stopped her right there, allowing his strength to rise up and overcome evil with good.
But this was not the case. Again, like the serpent tempting Eve, he started out with simple conversation. Then he drew her deeper into the quicksand, making sure she focused her eyes on his, and not the quicksand she stepped into.
This man, when accepting this much of the conversation, would have been knee-deep already. But in Proverbs 7:16, she pulls him in a little deeper. Now, she begins to talk about the intricacies of tapestry and linen, all created to shroud the works of darkness. She speaks of perfumes and the solace of love as if there is no right or wrong.
No Need to Worry about the Strange Woman…
Between verses 18 and 19, I have to think this unwise one might have made an attempt to get away. But this strange woman would not have it.
She now begins to offer assurances and safeguards. Her husband isn’t home. Further still, he has left with spending money and she knows exactly what day he will return. And verse 21 tells of the victory of this most formidable opponent:
“With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.” (Proverbs 7:21)
This strange woman is not the only one in the Bible to have “forced” someone through nothing but flattering speech… lies… misinformation, as it were. She’s not the only one to have accomplished it down through the ages and yes, even to the very day in which we now find ourselves.
Stupidity, i.e., folly, i.e., a mind devoid of wisdom, isn’t as innocent as she seems…
Wait! You Should Definitely Worry!
The hearing is never the sin.
The words that you take in from one who’s mission it is to ensnare you are not the enemy.
A speech is never the blame for the consequence of the reaction.
The real enemy?
Our lack of willpower. Our lack of knowledge, of wisdom, and of understanding. And our “knowing to do good and doing it not” is the sin according to James 4:17.
We see, starting in verse 22 of this chapter, that this foolish man, not only listened to the harlot’s words but bent to them as well, and goes down after her like an ox to slaughter. Like a fool to the correction of stocks.
Now, it’s as if she sent a dart to his liver. It’s like he’s a bird in a snare. He doesn’t understand that he’s giving his very life for the temptations and possibilities he has allowed.
Listen to Me!
“Hearken,” by definition, has a plethora of meanings: to perceive, to give heed to, to be obedient, and to sound an alarm or make a proclamation are some of the most obvious.
In essence, Solomon is demanding the attention and obedience of his sons:
- “Let not thine heart decline to her ways.” In other words, don’t stoop to her level.
- “Go not astray in her paths.”
- “She has wounded and killed many.”
- “Her house leads to hell and death.”
This “woman,” as we’ve mentioned, is the opposite of wisdom and understanding. She is folly and ignorance. And we must avoid her at all costs.
In order to alleviate the possibility of her snares, there is only one course of action and that is to “get understanding” (Psalm 119:104; Proverbs 4:5, 7; Proverbs 16:16)
On the road to Emmaus, two men walked along the road, talking about the crucifixion, and of the empty tomb. Can you imagine what a conversation that must have been!
But while they journeyed on their way, Jesus Himself joined them. Only they were unable to “see” that it was Him. He talked with them and asked why they were sad. Cleopas answered Him, saying, basically, “How could you not know what’s happened these past few days unless you were a stranger in Jerusalem?”
He inquired further and they began to tell him all that had happened. Their demeanor must have remained downcast, because Jesus rebuked them, calling them “fools” and “slow of heart.”
He went on to discuss in great detail, all the Scriptures, from Moses and all the prophets, that spoke of Him. It must have been one of those conversations that was just too good to end because they asked Him to stay and eat with them. But when He took the bread and blessed it and broke it and gave it to them, their eyes became opened, and they knew Him.
He Opened Their Understanding
When they realized that it was Jesus with them, He vanished. But after they’d made their way back to Jerusalem, to where the disciples were, Jesus joined them again.
After assuring all those present of His identity, He showed them His hands and feet. How the writings of Moses, the prophets, and of David, in the Psalms, all spoke of Him.
And here’s that all-important verse:
“Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,” (Luke 24:45).
Jesus still gives that understanding today! He’s still just as willing to open OUR understanding if we’ll just take Him at His Word.
Think about it this way: the Word that we have now, which is the Bible, has been banned, burned, discarded, and made an illegal item more times than any other piece of writing. There’s a lot of controversy concerning versions and languages, and historical documents, and more. It’s a never ending argument.
However, in spite of all that, I have to believe that for God to have protected His Word, which he places above ALL ELSE – “…for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” (Psalm 138:2) – then I have to believe that what I hold in my hands is EXACTLY what He intended for me. This is the Word He wants us to read, to study, and to UNDERSTAND.
And those things that made it into the Book, must also have been exactly what He wanted us to see and know and learn from. John 21:25 says that if all the things that Jesus did had been written down, the whole world couldn’t contain the books it would take to write them. So this collection we have in our possession?
It must be the most important stuff!
There are countless times throughout Scripture where understanding is placed in very high regard. The Bible even tells us, in 2 Timothy 2:15 that we should study to show ourselves approved to God, a workman that doesn’t have to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of Truth. That’s a mouthful, but that’s what we have to do to “get understanding.”
How do you work toward getting understanding?
Lord Jesus, I can’t thank You enough for Your Word…for allowing us the opportunity to have it in our possession! What a blessing that it is still, at least in America, legal to have, legal to preach, and almost legal to stand on! But Lord, today I ask that You set a hedge of fire and protection around Your Word, and those who adhere to it, for Your Name’s sake!
Even now, Your people are not only being ridiculed and harassed for standing on the moral principles that You died for, but preachers are being imprisoned, moral familial codes are being dubbed “intolerance” and “hate speech,” wrong is being called right, and right is being called wrong. Lord, we know that if You don’t turn the tide, worse things will come to pass. Help us, Lord! Help us to GET understanding and help us to GET wisdom! Let us never fall prey to that strange woman and her deceitful words! And we ask it in the mighty Name of Jesus, Amen!