Proverbs 7: The Wayward or Wise Woman


The stage is being set here in Proverbs 7 to observe the teachings Solomon gives his son under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The warnings this young man received from a father earnestly wanting his boy to know wisdom and hold her dearly to his heart should move us to do the same (Proverbs 7:4). Wisdom is not only the means that the commandments of the King came from, but she is the young man’s guard against the wiles and snares of the adulterous and forbidden woman (Proverbs 7:5). Let’s take a moment to observe this woman, and in doing so, take careful consideration to see if we are women of wisdom or if we are women of waywardness.

What's Done in the Dark

Solomon paints a scene of a foolish young man who falls prey to the forbidden woman and her charms. Why is this woman called forbidden in the first place? It is because she is another man’s wife (Proverbs 7:19-21). Though she belongs to another, her heart and devotion is far from her husband, and she is even further from God. She meets this young man in the dead of night, as if she believes her deeds will be hidden in the dark (Proverbs 7:6-10). But every deed and thought of a man will not be hidden from God. It will be exposed and be judged one day (Luke 8:17). Those who delight in darkness and the works of it hate the light because their works will be exposed to their shame (John 3:19). Their condemnation is just. We must ask ourselves: what deeds are we doing that would bring us shame if they were to be exposed? What sins are we trying to hide from God in a foolish attempt, thinking He cannot see them? Do not be deceived – you cannot pull a fast one on God (Galatians 6:7).

Discontent and Defiant

Solomon wastes no time in pointing out the adulteress’s behavior. She is loud and defiant, boisterous and rebellious in her actions, and she is never where she is supposed to be. Even the way she dresses is a direct expression of her wicked heart (Proverbs 7:11-12). The Scriptures tell us that she does not stay at home. She is constantly lurking in the streets and squares. We can safely assume that she is not there for shopping or other recreational purposes. These are the actions of a woman whose heart, wicked and deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), is not satisfied and is seeking fulfillment in things that are outside of God and His commandments. The Word of God is a lamp unto our feet and guides us to keep our way straight on the narrow path (Psalm 119:105, Psalm 119:9). Perhaps if this young man knew this, he wouldn’t be caught in the seductive snare the wayward woman has set up for him. This woman is not looking for life. She is delighting in death. She seizes the foolish young man and manifests her wickedness with her persuasive speech and actions (Proverbs 7:18-21). Our actions are manifestations of what goes on inside our minds and hearts. A heart that is not changed for God is quick to do what displeases Him and insults His holiness. What do our actions say about our inner selves? Do they reflect a heart that has been changed by the power of regeneration, or does it delight in the ways of someone who is spiritually dead?

Peace in Practices or Peace with God?

One of the saddest realities about this woman is that she believes her empty religion and practices make her right and safe in God’s eyes. She even has the audacity to believe this gives her leeway to act in an ungodly manner (Proverbs 7:13-14). Peace offerings that were brought before God were an expression of an overflow of joy inside the worshippers who delighted in having peace with God. This offering could be given at any time for people who wanted to celebrate that peace (Leviticus 3; 7:11–34). This woman expresses that she had done so, but we must ask ourselves – do her actions mimic the actions of one who has peace with God or someone who is at enmity with Him? A heart that is changed for God no longer wants to delight in the things that He abhors. Salvation does not give us a free license to sin, but it frees us from it, and it frees us up to follow the good and perfect commands of God through a good and perfect Savior (Romans 6:1-6). Like anyone who trusts in the filthiness of their own self-righteousness, the wayward woman is headed for disaster and eternal damnation. She has prepared a place of death in her own bed for herself and this young man and will pay a high cost for it (Proverbs 7:21-23). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and all that this woman will receive for her foolish ways is destruction, not only physically, but ultimately spiritually as well (Proverbs 7:26-27).

Wayward or Wise?

Let’s hold a mirror to this example and ask the hard questions, sisters. Do we see ourselves in her image, or are we constantly conforming to the image of Christ? Are we delighting in adulterous ways, or are we, by the Spirit’s power, delighting in God and His commandments for our lives? Are we women of flattering lips and wanton ways, or are we women who seek wisdom and ask it graciously from our Heavenly Father  who gives it generously (James 1:5)? And are we trusting our right standing before God in any work outside of Christ? The wiles of a wayward woman lead to destruction, but the will of a wise woman leads to life, for her life is found in Christ. There is always grace and new life found at the cross in the mercies of God. We must seek Him to change us into women of wisdom and true daughters of God.

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Born and raised in Texas, Emerald Griffin enjoys coffee, books, and spending time with loved ones. Her favorite breed of dog is a Corgi, and she loves listening to smooth jazz while learning a new word a day from the dictionary. Her heroes in the faith are Elisabeth Elliot, R.C. Sproul Sr., and John MacArthur.