Proverbs 7:1-5

Proverbs 7:1‑5  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
THE chapter opens with a fresh paternal appeal to his “son” individually (vers. 1-5). Then is drawn the graphic picture of a young man void of understanding drawn into the worst corruption by an adulterous woman (vers. 6-23). The close is a call to the “sons” generally, a terse, earnest, and solemn warning (vers. 24-27) of similar character, but deeper still.
“My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments and live; and my teaching as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers; write them upon the tables of thy heart. Say to wisdom, thou [art] my sister, and call intelligence kinswoman; that they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger that flattereth with her words” (vers. 1-5).
In this individual appeal the value of the word is urged as the great preservative means. “My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.” There is not only the need of dependence on God when the trial comes, but the positive value of the truth and the divine will infusing one beforehand. Thus is the soul inwardly strengthened within against the snares without, which find the father's precepts in possession of the field. The words are therefore to be kept, and the commandments laid up.
Therein is the path of life; for it is not by bread alone that man lives, but by every word that proceeds from God's mouth. Hence here we read “keep my commandments and live.” Yet the teaching that comes from God, though alone nourishing, is easily injured by self-will, and needs to be vigilantly guarded from a world of evil where defilements abound. Therefore must the teaching be kept as the apple of one's eye. What more jealously prized as invaluable and irreparable? What more exposed to sudden damage?
Other figures are employed to impress the all-importance of heeding the words which express Jehovah's will. “Bind them upon thy fingers; write them upon the tables of thy heart.” Old and New Testaments indicate that rings were worn for weighty use and high authority, not mere show or ornament. Besides, the precepts here were to be written on the heart.
Nor does this suffice the care with which grace forearms those exposed to temptations suited to a fallen nature. In O.T. times little was known of a new life from God. Still it was there, and implied if not clearly taught. Hence the new call: “Say to wisdom, Thou art my sister, and call intelligence kinswoman.” For the reception of God's word made this true. In contrast with one born of the flesh, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” We are begotten by the word of truth, and thus become a sort of first-fruits of His creatures. Our new relationship is with wisdom and understanding, as near of kin, suited, beloved, and necessary.
Thus does God work in His goodness to keep one “from the strange woman, from the stranger that flattereth with her words.” That she was a “stranger” who sought familiarity is enough for any soul with the fear of God. So is man constituted that it should ever be a signal of danger. When formed originally, there was no strangership; but out of the man was she built who was meant to be his wife, his counterpart. How much greater the peril when, in a fallen condition, “the strange woman” abandons the propriety of her sex, and appeals with flattering words to the vanity, the pride, or the lusts of man!
In the closeness of the Christian relationship, where all are brought by the grace of Christ into the endearing tie of God's children, the danger is enormously increased. For the “neighborhood” of Israelites mutually was a comparatively distant connection and a man's “brethren” meant less in every way than “brethren” in a Christian's life, a term that included sisters as well as brothers. Undoubtedly there are the deepest moral principles in the gospel, and the church: where the law was partial, obscure, and feeble, truth is brought clearly and graciously to view in Christ Himself for those whose it is to walk in the light as God is in the light. But if we are not in the flesh through the deliverance Christ has wrought and given us, the flesh is still in us, and is ever ready by Satan's wiles and the world's influence to ensnare us into self-gratification. Only each walking in faith as having died and as crucified with Him, in continual self-judgment and lively sense of His loving me and Himself given for me, are we kept by God's power. Where this has been forgotten, what dismal falls have been even to the strong! What sad gaps every now and then, where few know the dark histories which lie at their back!