My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.
3 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 two-edged 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.
7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:
9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:
10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;
11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,
12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.
18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings.
22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
One might expect that Solomon would have something to say about the dangers of adultery! After reading this chapter, one could conclude that if Solomon had his life to live over again, he would have been stronger (possibly even wiser?), and not been taken with so many women, but rather, content with just one. He knows he wants something better for his son.
“Drink water from your own cistern,” he counsels, suggesting that the benefits of a monogamous relationship far outweigh the alternative. Solomon’s wish for his son is that he doesn’t repeat his own mistakes, but that he live a life more disciplined than himself, and rejoice in the wife of his youth (v. 18).
With shame and regret, Solomon ends the chapter by acknowledging that everything he has done has been in full view of the Lord, and that his own great folly and lack of discipline have led him astray.
For lack of discipline, what is leading you astray? Surrender it to God before it’s too late.
Jackie Ordelheide Smith
Assistant Director, Sabbath School and Personal Ministries
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists