The Beautiful Boundaries of Sexual Expression
Passage: Proverbs 5:1–7:27
Warning Against Adultery
 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
 that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
 Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
 she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.
 And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
 Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
 lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
 lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
 and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
 and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
 I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.”
 Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
 Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
 Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
 Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?
 For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD,
and he ponders all his paths.
 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,
and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
 He dies for lack of discipline,
and because of his great folly he is led astray.
Warnings Against Adultery
 My son, keep your father’s commandment,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching.
 Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck.
 When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you.
 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
 to preserve you from the evil woman,
from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
 for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread,
but a married woman hunts down a precious life.
 Can a man carry fire next to his chest
and his clothes not be burned?
 Or can one walk on hot coals
and his feet not be scorched?
 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
none who touches her will go unpunished.
 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,
 but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold;
he will give all the goods of his house.
 He who commits adultery lacks sense;
he who does it destroys himself.
 He will get wounds and dishonor,
and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
 For jealousy makes a man furious,
and he will not spare when he takes revenge.
 He will accept no compensation;
he will refuse though you multiply gifts.
Warning Against the Adulteress
 My son, keep my words
and treasure up my commandments with you;
 keep my commandments and live;
keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
 bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and call insight your intimate friend,
 to keep you from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words.
 For at the window of my house
I have looked out through my lattice,
 and I have seen among the simple,
I have perceived among the youths,
a young man lacking sense,
 passing along the street near her corner,
taking the road to her house
 in the twilight, in the evening,
at the time of night and darkness.
 And behold, the woman meets him,
dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.
 She is loud and wayward;
her feet do not stay at home;
 now in the street, now in the market,
and at every corner she lies in wait.
 She seizes him and kisses him,
and with bold face she says to him,
 “I had to offer sacrifices,
and today I have paid my vows;
 so now I have come out to meet you,
to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
 I have spread my couch with coverings,
colored linens from Egyptian linen;
 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,
aloes, and cinnamon.
 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;
let us delight ourselves with love.
 For my husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey;
 he took a bag of money with him;
at full moon he will come home.”
 With much seductive speech she persuades him;
with her smooth talk she compels him.
 All at once he follows her,
as an ox goes to the slaughter,
or as a stag is caught fast
 till an arrow pierces its liver;
as a bird rushes into a snare;
he does not know that it will cost him his life.
 And now, O sons, listen to me,
and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;
do not stray into her paths,
 for many a victim has she laid low,
and all her slain are a mighty throng.
 Her house is the way to Sheol,
going down to the chambers of death.