17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.
18 For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.
19 None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.
From the seductress who flatters with her words,
17 Who forsakes the companion of her youth,
And forgets the covenant of her God.
18 For her house leads down to death,
And her paths to the dead;
19 None who go to her return,
Nor do they regain the paths of life—
Proverbs 2:16-19 (NIV) 16 Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman,
from the wayward woman with her seductive words,
17 who has left the partner of her youth
and ignored the covenant she made before God.
18 Surely her house leads down to death
and her paths to the spirits of the dead.
19 None who go to her return
or attain the paths of life.
Proverbs 2:16-19 (NLT) 16 Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman,
from the seductive words of the promiscuous woman.
17 She has abandoned her husband
and ignores the covenant she made before God.
18 Entering her house leads to death;
it is the road to the grave.
19 The man who visits her is doomed.
He will never reach the paths of life.
Proverbs 2:16-19 (CEV) 16 Wisdom will protect you
from the smooth talk
of a sinful woman,
17 who breaks her wedding vows
and leaves the man she married
when she was young.
18 The road to her house leads down
to the dark world
of the dead.
19 Visit her, and you will never
find the road to life again.
In the King James Version (KJV), this woman is "strange" as from another family and a "stranger" as from another nation.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
from the forbidden - זָרָ֑ה (zā·rāh) - Adjective - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2114: To turn aside, to be a, foreigner, strange, profane, to commit adultery
from the stranger - מִ֝נָּכְרִיָּ֗ה (min·nā·ḵə·rî·yāh) - Preposition-m | Adjective - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5237: Foreign, alien
King Solomon had married many foreign women, and it seems marrying women from other nations, heathen nations, was a disturbing practice. These women were bringing idolatry and immorality into their new homes, new nation.
1 Kings 11:1-13 (NIV) 11 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.
9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”
King Solomon knew what he was talking about from his own personal experience and he would warn the reader.
This woman flatters you with her words, seductive and enticing words, smooth talk. She tries to persuade you with her flattering talk, flirting. But godly wisdom would tell you her flirting and flattery are to be avoided because it leads to ruin. You will lose the trust of your wife and family. A dalliance with an immoral woman (or man) will break apart your marriage and family. Affairs, over the entire history of mankind, have never ended well. Why do you think you would be any different? Satan uses another woman, or man, to entice you and seduce you so he can destroy you. Godly wisdom shows you the truth of sexual immorality and opens your eyes to the consequences. But satan would deceive and dress it up to look good. Godly wisdom would warn you it's not worth it. Godly wisdom will see through the deception and keep you clear headed. Godly wisdom keeps you humble so you don't fall for the insincere flattery.
A woman (or man) who lives like that is sinful, immoral, promiscuous, adulterous, wayward and a seductress. They are unfaithful to their first love, their spouse, the "husband of her youth".
Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Malachi 2:13-16 13 Here is another thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. 14 You cry out, “Why doesn’t the LORD accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.
15 Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. 16 “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
Betraying your spouse is cruel because you have been companions since youth. You made vows before God and men to be faithful and to protect and provide for each other. You have become one in all matters of intimacy. You have memories together. You have shared history. You have accepted each other's families. Your spouse has every reason to believe it's forever, that your marriage is safe and secure. To betray that is cruel and uniquely destructive. You are not only destroying your spouse but yourself.
A covenant is a formal, solemn, and binding agreement; a compact; a contract. Christians see marriage as a sacred covenant because the vows are made before God and witnessed by others. Our vows include contractual responsibilities and obligations. We promise, before God, to take this man/woman as our husband/wife to be faithful, true and forsaking all others. We promise "to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, til death do us part. This is our solemn vow".
A wedding is not a fancy dress party. It is an occasion that has life changing meaning. Many think of a wedding as a big party with the ceremony as a focal point, but not that important. They see the marriage vows as a loose agreement, "I love you right now and if things go my way and I'm happy, we will remain together. But if I fall out of love, or fall in love with someone else, or things don't go my way, or if you get ugly, fat or old... then all bets are off!" It's very self-concentric. It's all about you and as long as things go your way, you get what you want out of the relationship, then you are "committed". But the commitment disappears whenever something better comes along or your feelings change or things don't go your way.
A marriage is a lifetime commitment and is for life. Marriage was an institution begun by God BEFORE the fall of man to sin! Adam and Eve were married by God!
Genesis 2:18, 21-24 (NLT) 18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”...21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.
23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.
“This one is bone from my bone,
and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
because she was taken from ‘man.’”
24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
- If you've been married, how serious did you see your marriage vows when you made them? Did you realize how life changing they were?
- If you've never been married, does it change your thoughts on marriage when you realize how serious the vows are? How would you emphasize the covenant commitment you would be making in your own wedding?
- If you are married, does your marriage reflect God's faithfulness, love and commitment to His people?
- What does God say about divorce?
- If your relationship with your spouse isn't reflecting God's relationship with His people, why?
- If the answer is no, what can you do to show your spouse that same kind of love God shows His people? It is your responsibility to do your part and leave your spouse to God. Eventually they should respond to your new commitment and love. God can work in your spouse just like He did you. If you are obedient and trusting God for results, it should lighten your load.
- God remains ever faithful, committed, loving and meets all His obligations despite His people's waywardness and adultery (running after other gods). If your spouse betrays you and does not keep their vows and contractual obligations, how does that affect you and the vows you made?
- Did God ever give up on those who rejected Him and rebelled against Him, i.e. divorce them? (There is a yes and no answer to this. Think through it.)
- Are there any godly reasons for divorce?
- If you are in a toxic marriage, are there godly ways to handle it without resorting to divorce?
- Have you been tempted to commit adultery? How did they get to you? Satan will have tailored a temptation to your particular weakness. What is your weakness?
- If you fell to the temptation, were the consequences worth it? How do you feel about yourself and what you've done to your family? (If you are in this situation, you can repent and ask for forgiveness. Confess your sins and He will forgive you and help you to overcome the consequences.)
- Have you experienced godly wisdom that kept you out of trouble? Thank God for it.