This chapter is opened by a general preface, in the first five verses, which is given to prepare the mind for the subject that is to follow. We are here taught that we must lay up God’s commandments safely. The wise man tells us to “keep them, and you shall live” – that is, “Keep them as those who cannot live without them!” Those persons who say that a strict and careful lifestyle is needless and too precise are forgetting to consider that the law of God is to be kept as the apple of the eye; for indeed, His law in the heart is the eye of our souls! May the Word of God dwell within our hearts, where it will always be at hand when we need its guidance. Thus shall we be kept from the fatal effects of our own passions, as well as from the snares of Satan.
The fourth verse refers to Wisdom by several endearing titles, in order to enforce the subject even more. But in those names of sister and kinswoman – let us observe the very interesting matter that they contain, when considered with an eye to Christ! In the Song of Solomon, Jesus calls the Church His sister, as well as His Bride (Song of Sol. 4:9-12). He has taken upon Himself our human flesh; and He has declared that whoever does the will of His Father in heaven is His brother, sister, or mother (Matt. 12:50). He encourages His people to look up to Him under all these relationships, so that they may come to Him and be kept by Him from spiritual impurity and apostacy.
Verses 6-27 provide us with a moving example of the danger of youthful lusts. These verses are a parable of the most instructive kind, representing Wisdom as looking down from heaven upon the sons of men, in the same way as a person might look down from a second-story window, contemplating the passers-by in the street below. Solomon says that he saw a simple-minded young man who was void of understanding; he passed and re-passed by the house of an adulteress, at the time of evening when he foolishly imagined that no eye could see him. Dressed in all the flashy showiness of outward decoration, with a heart that superficially corresponded with her dress, and with feet that could not abide at home – the wicked woman at last caught and kissed the young man, who was foolishly sauntering about the streets at the time when he should have been seeking Wisdom at home. And she soon corrupted his mind by assuring him that no apparent danger awaited him. As if she had been in love with him, she said that she had made peace-offerings to the Lord that very day. She claimed that she had brought back her portion of the offering that was given to her, for a feast at her own house; and she said that on this account, she had come out on purpose to welcome this man to her house. She then spoke of the luxuries of Egypt, with which her house was decorated; and she invited him to share with her the pleasures thereof. She told him that he did not need to fear her husband’s return; for that “good man” had gone upon a long journey, and had taken much money with him. Alas! By her many enticing words, she at last captivated the senses of this young fool, and seduced him to sin. He followed her without resistance, just as an ox goes to the slaughterhouse. He was like a bird that hastens into a snare, and does not realize that it is laid to take away his life.
Will anyone dare to venture upon temptations that lead to impurity and immorality, after Solomon has set before our eyes – in such a plain and lively manner – the danger of even going near them? Such a person would be like a man who begins to dance upon the edge of a lofty cliff, immediately after he has just seen another person fall headlong from the same place! We ought to pray daily for grace to be kept from running into temptation, or else we will invite the enemies of our souls to spread snares for us. We must always avoid the neighborhood of vice, and beware especially of sins which claim to offer pleasure to our carnal flesh. These are actually more dangerous; for they easily attract the heart, and close it against repentance.
Who can read this chapter and call to mind the numberless scenes of a similar nature that are going on everyday all over the world, in the different transactions of sin and uncleanness, without feeling deeply troubled? Anyone who knows his own fallen nature, and the deceitfulness of his own heart, must tremble! We ought to humble ourselves to the very dust in the consciousness of our universal depravity. As we read of the sin and uncleanness that is here pointed out in this chapter, let us beseech the Lord Jesus to keep us from committing spiritual adultery by departing from Him! May He preserve all His redeemed children in the hour of temptation, and keep them from its power. Let us not go out as the daughter of Jacob did, to “see the daughters of the land” (Gen. 34:1-2); for thereby, she sought out danger, and she also fell by it. Rather, may the Lord help us to be virtuous and faithful “keepers at home,” living with Jesus, the Husband of our souls!
The concluding verses of this chapter are very beautiful and striking! If we behold Christ as the One Who is speaking to His people in these words, then there is something truly affectionate and interesting in them, to work upon our minds. Obedience to what He says is life, but disobedience to His commands can result in nothing but death (Rom. 6:23).
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your preserving grace, which protects us from spiritual impurity and apostacy; for it is in You alone that all our security is found! Amen.
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