Proverbs 23:31

Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
– Proverbs 23:31

Verse 31 begins direct warning against drunkenness. The warning starts where drunkenness, and other sins, start. This verse describes wine in an appealing and tempting way. The word for look means to see, consider, and inspect. Wisdom understands the way of temptation and sinful actions and consequences result from a chain of decisions within. Consider the young simpleton in Proverbs 7:1-27, and though his actions seem impulsive, it is clear his sin worked from inside out. Wisdom warns not to look on, or fantasize about the drink. The warning here is much like the warning to avoid strange women (Proverbs 5:8; 6:25; 7:25) and evil men (Proverbs 4:14-15).

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Proverbs 7:27

Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
– Proverbs 7:27

Considering the end means considering her house is the gateway of the grave. It is the height of folly for a man to think he can enter there and escape unscathed. The consequences of this sin have been enumerated as many, but all serious. The words of wisdom are to avoid folly and consider well the end of the way before you set foot therein.

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Proverbs 7:26

For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.
– Proverbs 7:26

This verse shows the true way of wisdom, to look past the short-term gain proposed and look well to the end of the way. The end of the way is where many have been pierced and many thrown down. The urgent warning comes home that it’s not only weak simpletons but many strong men have been undone by her. This verse emphasizes the wisdom in staying away and avoiding and not seeking to grapple with her as though you are the one who will succeed.

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Proverbs 7:21

With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.
– Proverbs 7:21

The flattering of her lips and her fair speech were the most effective in her temptation. We see good reason for the repeated admonitions to hear and heed wise words. Doing so insulates and protects from being taken by the lips of the strange woman. To yield is to bend and indicates that his initial resistance was overcome. To force is to drive or impel. She pushed him over the edge and he had no strength to withstand her.

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Proverbs 7:20

He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.
– Proverbs 7:20

The husband has money and business to conduct, so will not return soon. The day appointed refers to the full moon, so he will not return soon. All provision has been made and all obstacles removed.

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Proverbs 7:19

For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:
– Proverbs 7:19

The last step of her seduction is to remove a final obstacle or objection in the youth’s mind. Fear of encountering an irate husband is a strong deterrent to the young man. She soothingly assures him that he is gone and not soon to return. She has appealed to his baser instincts, not persuading of the moral goodness but rather of the enjoyment and security of getting away with it. These verses provide a good primer on the way temptation comes to us and not just in this instance.

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Proverbs 7:18

Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.
– Proverbs 7:18

She here uses the most direct appeal. Taking their fill refers to becoming drunk as with wine or strong drink. She is speaking to the young man of a complete satisfaction of all his appetites. Solace points to joy or rejoicing. She certainly hints at excitement and thrills promised. Until the morning suggests a long time without interruption. All these things are a part of her much fair speech that sways her quarry to follow.

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Proverbs 7:17

I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
– Proverbs 7:17

She continues her appeal describing the luxurious delight of her bed. She has sprinkled it with spices designed to enhance mood and delight the senses. John Trapp commented that the young man would have been better served to think on how those spices are also used to put upon the bodies of the dead. He wrote, “serious thought of death will prove death to fleshly lusts.” It was want of this sober mindedness that brought Jerusalem to open and unrestrained sinfulness (Lamentations 1:9).

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Proverbs 7:16

I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
– Proverbs 7:16

Coverings, carved works, and fine linen from Egypt are expensive and lavish items. She is a woman of means and has made preparations, while not subtle, likely to impress and overwhelm the young man. The naïve young man will probably interpret these measures as indicative of something more long lasting than is intended.

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