For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: (4) But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. (5) Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. (6) Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.Proverbs 5:3-6
Who is talking? It is still the father speaking to his son. Verse 1 says, “My son, attend to my wisdom…” He then goes into his teaching. What is that teaching?
Well, the “strange woman” is the subject of these verses. The word “strange” here dispenses the idea of a foreign woman. The Jews were not supposed to marry gentiles. Women who were foreign to the Jewish faith at this time did not live in a culture with the morality of the law espoused to them. Gentile culture was pagan, and generally immoral. The point of this passage is not to claim that every gentile woman was absolutely sexually immoral. Again, remember that Proverbs deals in probabilities. The general wisdom about the “strange woman” is that she does not have the same moral virtue. The father, wanting his son not to be hurt, gives him this insight. What does he say about this “strange woman”?
In terms of her speech, she sounds good. The sweetest food that they had in Israel at the time was honey. This is a lurid word picture. Her lips drip with smooth words like honey does from the honeycomb. He also says that her mouth is “smoother than oil”. The most common oil in that day was olive oil. It was used in a myriad of ways that were beneficial. Olive oil was often seen as a sign of prosperity, and a lack of oil as a travesty. Essentially the father is saying, “Son, the sexually immoral, forbidden woman will sound as good as the best things in life, but…”.
That conjunction “but” is pretty important, for it leads to the wisdom of the passage. The “strange woman” will look good. She will sound good, but her end is devastating. The father says that her end is bitter as “wormwood”. Wormwood is a word describing a type of plant associated with other plants that are poison. The same Hebrew word is translated “hemlock” in Amos 6:12. Her end is also described as a twoedged sword. In the Hebrew it is better translated as a “sword mouth” or a mouth full of swords.
It is a vivid contrast. Her mouth is not honey and oil, it is poison and razors.
Where she takes you is not good. She takes you on a path to death and hell. (v.5) Her path does not even consider the way of wisdom, way of life, or way of justice. Her ways are unstable. The way of wisdom is not clear to her in any way. (v.6)
Be warned. The father is wisely letting his son know where the traps are. She looks good but her end is death. The scripture is so clear when it talks about a proper response to sexual temptation. Look at what the Holy Spirit wrote through Paul in 1 Corinthians.
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.1 Corinthians 6:18
Be wise. Wisdom suggests not to mess around with sexual sin. Run! Flee! Avoid even getting near a place where you can be tempted? Why? The end is death.
Be loving. What is the right way to genuinely love the “strange woman”? You can’t see her as an object of desire. You must not use her a source of pleasure. She is a daughter and a sister. She is someone for whom Christ died. The loving thing to do is to flee her seductive words and ways and to pray for her to be redeemed out of her sinful lifestyle.
- Repent. If you have been tempted and succumbed to sexual sin, there is forgiveness offered to you in Christ. Repent!
- Run. Don’t flirt with sexual temptation. It can destroy you. Run!