Proverbs on Sexuality Outside of Marriage Between A Husband and A Wife
We live in a society that boasts sexuality in all flavors with all people in all places is fine as long as two people (or more!) are consenting adults, as if having your permission makes everything fine. We can thank this “freedom” for abortion, cohabitation and it’s sisters, poverty, abandonment and heartache, foster children, pornography, STD’s, debauchery (is there such a thing anymore?), drug and human trafficking, embarrassment, divorce, insecurity, loss of trust, estrangement, loss of integrity, disgrace, loss of jobs, sleepless nights, fear and the same-sex rabble masquerading as beacons of light. It’s no wonder Jesus proclaimed we were sheep without a shepherd.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot of late, mostly because I deal with the consequences of people ignoring their consciences and doing whatever feels good only to have the bottom fall out of their lives. A lot of folk come to see me about these issues because I’m not afraid on this blog and website to comment that, ah, these things are hurtful and you’d do well to avoid them. I didn’t make up the idea of keeping your integrity or, if you lost your integrity, you’d do well to seek to get it back. I come from a long tradition. You just wouldn’t know it today, because integrity is scoffed, as is discipline and self-control.
In our day wallowing in the sewer is seen as normal and few even know it’s the sewer. James’ warning to “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded”* is vastly needed today. We have two or three generations who have lost the notion of guarding your heart, resisting temptation, and fighting off evil in your heart. In a recent prostitution sting in Eastern Iowa 7 of the 27 arrested were over 50 years old, two of them in their seventies! Lust is no respecter of persons.
Since I was a young man I’ve frequented Proverbs in the Bible. They’ve kept me grounded. I’ve gotten more insight into counseling and the ways of humankind in Proverbs than all of the research and counseling books. It’s stood the test of time and worth pondering again. I’ve included below most of the passages from the first few chapters of Proverbs about not letting lust take over your life. Proverbs are the words of warning of a father to his son written 3000 years ago, but it could just as well have been written by a mother warning her daughter of seductions in the world that suck us in unawares like a vacuum cleaner. I’m using the American Standard Version because it’s in the public domain. I’ve changed some of the old English and given some other variant words and phrases for some of the archaic terms. This is worth more than one read. So ponder and grow:
Proverbs on Sexuality Outside of Marriage
Between a Husband and a Wife
My son, attend to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding:
2 That you may preserve discretion, and that your lips may keep knowledge.
3 For the lips of a strange woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on Sheol (NIV: grave);
6 So that she finds not the level path of life: her ways are unstable, and she knows it not.
7 Now therefore, my sons, hearken unto me, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
8 Remove your way far from her, and come not near the door of her house;
9 Lest you give your honor to others, and your years to the cruel;
10 Lest strangers be filled with your strength, and your labors be in the house of an alien,
11 And you mourn at your latter end (NIV: the end of your life), when your flesh and your body are consumed,
12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
13 Neither have I obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to them that instructed me!
14 I was well-nigh in all evil (NIV: to the brink of utter ruin; NASB: almost in utter ruin) in the midst of the assembly and congregation.
15 Drink waters out of your own cistern, and running waters out of your own well.
16 Should your springs be dispersed abroad, and streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed; and rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 As a loving hind and a pleasant doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And be you ravished always with her love.
20 For why should you, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a foreigner?
21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of Jehovah; and He makes level all his paths.
22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked, and he shall be held with the cords of his sin.
23 He shall die for lack of instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
20 My son, keep the commandment of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother:
21 Bind them continually upon your heart; tie them about your neck.
22 When you walk, it shall lead you; when thou sleep, it shall watch over you; and when you awake, it shall talk with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
24 To keep thee from the evil woman (NIV: immoral), from the flattery of the foreigner’s tongue ((NASB: adulteress; NIV: wayward wife).
25 Lust not after her beauty in your heart; neither let her take you with her eyelids.
26 For on account of a harlot a man is brought to a piece of bread; and the adulteress hunts for the precious life (NIV: preys upon your very life).
27 Can a man take fire in his bosom (NIV: lap), and his clothes not be burned?
28 Or can one walk upon hot coals, and his feet not be scorched?
29 So he that goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whosoever touches her shall not be unpunished.
30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry:
31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.
32 He that commits adultery with a woman is void of understanding: he who does it would destroy his own soul.
33 Wounds and dishonor shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy is the rage of a man; and he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
35 He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though you give many gifts.
My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with you.
2 Keep my commandments and live; and my law as the apple of your eye.
3 Bind them upon your fingers; write them upon the tablet of your heart.
4 Say to wisdom, You are my sister; and call understanding your kinswoman:
5 That they may keep you from the strange woman (NASB: adulteress), from the foreigner that flatters with her words.
6 For at the window of my house I looked forth (NASB: out) through my lattice;
7 And I beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,
8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,
9 In the twilight, in the evening of the day, in the middle of the night and in the darkness.
10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of a harlot, and wily of heart (NASB: cunning of heart; NIV: crafty of intent).
11 She is clamorous and willful (NASB: boisterous and rebellious; NIV: loud and defiant); her feet abide not in her house:
12 Now she is in the streets, now in the broad places (NASB: squares), and lies in wait at every corner.
13 So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face she said unto him:
14 Sacrifices of peace-offerings are with me; this day have I paid my vows.
15 Therefore came I forth to meet you, diligently to seek your face, and I have found you.
16 I have spread my couch with carpets of tapestry, with striped cloths of the yarn of Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning; let us solace ourselves with loves (NASB: caresses).
19 For the man (my husband) is not at home; he is gone a long journey:
20 He has taken a bag of money with him; he will come home at the full moon.
21 With her much fair speech she causes him to yield; with the flattering of her lips she forces him along (NASB: seduces).
22 He goes after her straightway, as an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as one in fetters to the correction of the fool;
23 Till an arrow strike through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare, and knows not that it is for his life.
24 Now therefore, my sons, hearken unto me, and attend to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not your heart decline to her ways (NIV: turn to her ways); go not astray in her paths.
26 For she has cast down many wounded: yea, all her slain are a mighty host.
27 Her house is the way to Sheol (NIV: the grave), going down to the chambers of death.
13 The foolish woman is clamorous; she is simple, and knows nothing (NIV: loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge).
14 And she sits at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,
15 To call to them that pass by, who go right on their ways:
16 Whoever is simple, let him turn in here; And as for him that is void of understanding, she says to him,
17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
18 But he knows not that the dead are there; that her guests are in the depths of Sheol (NIV: the grave).
NIV = New International Version; NASB = New American Standard Version
* James 4:8