I begin with some context for Solomon’s teachings on sexual-marital purity in Proverbs chapters 5-7: Solomon was a man who knew the devastating consequences of sexual sin and marital infidelity. His own older brother, the product of the adulterous affair of David and Bathsheba, tragically died in infancy (see 2 Samuel 12). Solomon’s half-sister, Tamar, was raped by his half-brother, Amnon, who was in turn murdered by another half-brother, Absalom (see 2 Samuel 13). Years after Solomon wrote and compiled the Proverbs, as an old man, he himself experienced the consequences of violating God’s standards for sexuality. While God’s plan is for sex to be enjoyed only between a man and a woman who are married to each other, Solomon’s lust turned him into a man who couldn’t be satisfied by a thousand partners (I’m not exaggerating — read 1 Kings 11:1-8 and do the math).
That context is germane to this chapter because the wisdom Solomon teaches here deals with the issue of sexual integrity. The first section of the chapter (v.1-6) describes the lifestyle of the “forbidden” woman (v.3). This archetypical immoral person has found the moral “freedom” of many in our culture today. She does whatever feels good, follows every sexual urge and craving, and she does not know that the thrill of sin will eventually kill her.
The forbidden woman represents all that is off-limits to us sexually: the spouse of another, the casual fornication, the explicit online image, the same-sex partner, and anyone else who is not your spouse. Solomon advises that the only sure way to protect against sexual sin and to maintain sexual integrity is to set boundaries in your life: “Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house” (v.8). Adrian Rogers said, “If you don’t want to fall down, stop walking in slippery places.”
Solomon urges his son to save his “honor” for his spouse (v.9). Sexual fulfillment is not found in a variety of partners and experiences, but within a loving marriage (v.15-20). Solomon’s poetic rendering of this truth does justice to the beauty of marital intimacy. To stray from God’s design in this area is to be trapped in one’s own sin and to suffer the consequences of foolishness. Our culture may have lowered sexual standards to the point that they have disappeared altogether, but God still holds His standard high.
Note: If you are trapped in some kind of sexual sin or addiction, God has a better plan for you. He is able to break “the cords of sin” (v.22) and forgive you. The first step is to admit to God that you have violated His standard and call out to Him for mercy. In Christ, you can be clean and pure again.