Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said that “repetition is the mother of learning,” but of course he was borrowing from the wisdom of countless schoolteachers who came before him. The book of Proverbs models the principle of repetition by returning to the same topic repeatedly, saying the same thing in different ways, and tackling the same topic from various angles.
Earlier in this study we discussed Solomon’s advice for cultivating and protecting the marriage relationship. In today’s passage Solomon returns to the theme of relationships, this time more fully developing the dangers of adultery. Here there is no mention of the son’s spouse or what infidelity might do to their relationship.
Rather, the focus is on the husband whose wife commits adultery and the destruction this sin will bring. Again, while the passage mentions an adulterous woman, the principles apply equally to adulterous men.
In God’s view, infidelity with a married person is not simply a matter of sex between consenting adults, or even sex in exchange for money (v. 26). Further, it is also not simply a matter of taking what one needs, such as a thief might do (vv. 30–33). Rather, adultery strikes at the heart of the most sacred bond of trust in human society; it destroys society at its very roots.
Thus, Solomon says, to bed a married woman is to foolishly invite great harm. “No one who touches [another man’s wife] will go unpunished” (v. 29). And what’s more, there is no one to blame but oneself. It is foolishness of the highest order that invites fierce retribution. Solomon has taken the commandment in Exodus 20:14, “You shall not commit adultery,” and expressed the dire consequences of breaking God’s Law.
>> Solomon spends a good deal of time on sexuality in the book of Proverbs. Consider why this topic is connected to wisdom and to following God. The call to purity affects every part of our lives and every relationship.
Being fully human, Jesus experienced human temptations but never sinned. With what eyes did He see humanity that He never lusted in this world? Father, make us more like Christ so we too may be sexually blameless.