The Bitter End of the Temptress’ Ways
Brian D. Dykstra, teacher at Hope PR Christian School in Walker, MI
“Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them” (Prov. 5:5-6).
Proverbs 5 records for us Solomon’s instruction to his son about women. A godly wife with whom a man can be one in faith and who accompanies him on the way of salvation is one of God’s greatest earthly blessings. Being entangled with a worldly woman who does not love God but is only an outlet for sinful passion will cause grief. The ungodly woman has lips which drip with honey and her words are smoother than oil, but her end is bitter destruction. Solomon continues with this theme.
Solomon tells his son that this woman’s “feet go down to death.” There is no qualifying adverb here. Solomon does not say that this going down to death is “likely” or “possible.” He does not say there are only so many times a man can gratify sinful lust until one has a bit of a problem which must be addressed. There is no question about the end of being ensnared by such a woman. The son is not given permission to try an evening with this woman to satisfy his curiosity or prove his manliness. He is not to have any involvement with her at all. When David was pursued by Saul, he reported to Jonathan that there was “but a step between me and death.” There is not even that much distance between this woman and death.
We read next, “her steps take hold on hell.” Again Solomon uses very strong terms to warn about the danger of this woman. Her steps don’t lead to awkwardness, slight embarrassment or stress, but to hell. Scripture refers to two aspects of hell. Sometimes it refers to the grave, the place of the dead and corruption, and it also refers to the place of God’s everlasting punishment for the sins of the unredeemed. Solomon could be warning about both here because God can visit the sin of adultery with awful diseases, some of which can lead to death, and, if not death, one’s life can be ruined, as Solomon will soon warn. Also, for one who continues unrepentant in adultery, which displays the lack of faith, the end is the loss of one’s soul in the torments of hell.
This woman does not bring her suitors to such ruin unintentionally. “Her feet go down to death.” This indicates a willing walk down a path one has determined and planned to take. Satan, who is as a lion seeking whom he may devour, uses her in his desire to destroy men. If Satan is able to catch some of God’s people with this trap, so much the better. The righteous who find themselves in such a life of sin can be delivered by the powerful grace of God but it would appear that, when there is an escape, it is by the skin of one’s teeth.
As further evidence that her efforts are not accidental, we read of a taking “hold.” This is another wilful act. This is not a mild, light grasp but a tight, suffocating grip. It is not the pleasant, soft hold of a two-year-old’s little hand but the deadly squeezing of a constricting snake. Perhaps the woman is pleased with how many men she has seduced. It stokes her pride or makes her feel attractive and sought-after. She delights in the hollow, false sense of satisfaction her victims have for a fleeting moment. She is not a partaker of grace and, as the Canons of Dordt state, “is either altogether regardless of these spiritual gifts and satisfied with [her] own condition, or is in no apprehension of danger …” Her victims, unless quickened by God’s Spirit and brought to repentance, are of the same view.
Solomon has made clear to his son what the end is for those who fall prey to brazen, ungodly women: death and hell. Solomon now describes her methods.
Solomon points out that this woman does not ponder the path of life. She has no interest in walking the way of obedience in fellowship with God. Not only is heaven at the end of this path, there are life and safety for God’s children all along that way. This woman not only has no desire for the end of the path, she does not care to take one step on that path. She does not want others on the path of life either, so she keeps her victims busy in the pleasures of sin, which never deliver the happiness promised, so they will not ponder the path of life.
There is one path of life, but this woman’s ways are many and they are moveable. Her ways go back and forth so that to walk on those paths is to walk as a drunkard or the blind, tottering and swaying as one goes from one to the other. She can change her behaviour in a hundred different ways to entangle the hearts of her lovers. There seems to be no end to her allurements and the foolish man who desires her company will find he is so busy trying to experience them all that he cannot escape from her.
Such are many of the women of the world. They do have their attractions, even for the sons of God as they did in the days before the flood. The early church was nearly destroyed so God sent the flood to preserve His people. The assault against the church continues. Our sons need godly wisdom to discern the end result of falling into the temptations which they will face. They need God’s grace in this spiritual struggle, for it is a battle for the soul.