Pieces of Proverbs - Honey

A friend has recently been doing some meditating in Proverbs and recording some of his thoughts and observations. I found them to be so helpful, that I asked for his permission to post them here. They're simple, yet profound insights, that I think will be helpful to all of us.

I'm not sure how many I'll post, but I've got at least three sets of verses for this week. I'll call them "Pieces of Proverbs". We'll begin in Proverbs 5.

Proverbs 5:1-4
My son, be attentive to my wisdom;incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion,and your lips may guard knowledge. For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,sharp as a two-edged sword.

In the first three verses, there is a "lip" motif.

The author advises the reader to cultivate discretion so that one’s "lips may preserve wisdom." This is set over against the lips of the adulteress, which initially seem abundantly delightful—the author expresses this by saying that her lips "drip honey," seeming to indicate such a promising abundance of pleasure. This promise is true, but dangerously lacking in full disclosure, however, for verse four says that "in the end she is bitter as wormwood." It is interesting here that the author does not claim that her lips are bitter but that she is bitter. This seems to be a reference to the character of the adulteress considered as a whole.

The author does not deny that there is genuine pleasure to be had in the lips of the adulteress; to deny this would be radically implausible. Rather, he seems to be claiming that one’s delight in such pleasure is inextricably linked to the experience of a greater bitterness that is hidden from view at the outset.

The promise of such pleasure is so dangerous because it seems to capture all of one’s attention, preventing one from observing discretion in these matters.

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