Tremper Longman observes that the “sheer quantity of teaching devoted to [the subject of illicit sexual relationships in Proverbs] both demonstrates the strength of the temptation to the son, as well as the dangerous consequences that result.” I find Proverbs 7 as embarrassing to me as the story of Eve’s temptation. In the garden story, Eve is at least tempted by the serpent. Man, on the other hand, is just following his appetite. His wife gives him food, and he eats it, not knowing what it is or where it came from. In Proverbs 7, the young man is seduced and led like an ox to the slaughter.
Think about the story as it is presented. First, this is a married woman who seduces the young man. She admits she is married and despite the fact that the law prescribed the death penalty for adultery, the young man ignores the possible consequences. Second, the woman tells him no one will know, but the fact is, everyone will know. She dresses the part of an adulteress – why would he think that being seen with her would go unnoticed? More than that, she is loud – not prone to quietness at all. Why would he think she would keep her mouth shut? She uses persuasive words and smooth talk, telling him she has sought him out and appealing to his own vanity. She offers him food.
The bottom line is that when it comes to sex, a man tends to stop thinking. There is the embarrassment.
Notice that the father is not telling his son what the Bible says, but rather, what he observes. He’s seen it a hundred times before. Perhaps he has experienced it. Sexual desire is an appetite hard to control for a man, and any woman who is willing can always get her way by using it. That we can be duped and controlled so easily is the embarrassment.
So what? Who cares but God?
We should. Stolen water is sweet (see the end of chapter 9), and sweets are addictive. Once sex moves outside the realm of faithful monogamy, it becomes an insatiable appetite that will ruin and control our lives and make faithfulness impossible. The seducing woman may have only meant it for the short term, but the after affects are permanent for men.