A Cautionary Tale

Jeff Munroe

READ : Proverbs 7:6-27

I observed among the youths, a young man without sense. (v. 7)

The vividly written story in Proverbs 7 is from the “R”-rated portion of the Bible. From his window, the sage can see a simple young man who wanders into the arms of a seductress.

What are we to make of this? Some commentators draw us back to Israel’s history of being attracted to foreign gods and pagan fertility cults. Maybe so, but when the woman says, “I have perfumed my bed,” we are not dealing with symbolic language but flesh and blood reality. The bed of this woman promises the delights of illicit sensual pleasure. And it feels good.

The fun comes at a cost—adultery breaks relationships, homes, and people. This is the road to death, and the featherbrained young man walks down that road like an ox to the slaughter, like a stag toward a trap, like a bird to a snare.

Death waits—presumably because the woman’s husband will come home—but death also waits in a larger and more terrifying sense. This is the road to Sheol, the Old Testament’s word for hell, and death there is not just a one-time event but an unending experience of loss. A person walks down this road long before ever leaving this earth.

“I set before you life and death. . . . Choose life . . .” (Deuteronomy 30:19).


Lord, help us choose life.