The Promiscuous Woman in the Book of Proverbs
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The Promiscuous Woman in the Book of Proverbs

The Book of Proverbs in the Bible contains many warnings against sexual immorality and promiscuity. One particular theme that arises multiple times is the dangers of the “promiscuous woman” or “adulterous woman.” As Christians seeking to lead godly lives, it’s important we understand these passages in Proverbs and what they teach us about purity, wisdom and avoiding sin. In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore the major passages about the promiscuous woman in Proverbs and derive key lessons for believers today.


The Book of Proverbs provides practical wisdom for living a righteous life. Among its various topics, one important theme is warning against sexual sin and foolish relationships with promiscuous women. This was relevant in ancient Israelite society, but also contains timeless principles for Christians today.

By examining Proverbs’ teachings on the promiscuous woman, we can understand God’s views on sexual purity, learn to avoid temptation, and train our hearts to desire only what honoring to the Lord. The wisdom in these proverbs protects us from sin and its consequences.

Here are key takeaways we will explore in this blog post:

  • The danger and deception of the promiscuous woman
  • How sexual sin destroys a man’s life and soul
  • The importance of fleeing from sexual temptation
  • Choosing wisdom and purity as the path to blessing
  • How sexual faithfulness glorifies God in marriage
  • Guarding your heart against the wrong desires
  • The hope of redemption even for sexual sinners

Now let us dive into the major passages in Proverbs about the promiscuous woman and extract core lessons for our lives today.

The promiscuous woman in the book of proverbs

The Deception of the Adulterous Woman (Proverbs 5:1-14)

One of the lengthiest warnings against sexual sin involving a promiscuous woman is Proverbs 5:1-14. Right away, the text warns, “the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil” (v.3). This depicts the deception of sexual temptation – it seems sweet and pleasing in the moment. But verse 4-5 warns us to carefully consider the “bitter” “end” afterwards – regret, ruin and judgment.

The passage describes how the adulterous woman preys upon those who lack wisdom and discernment:

“For the lips of an adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.” (Proverbs 5:3-5)

This metaphorical language is a vivid way of teaching how sexual sin can dramatically damage one’s life and soul if they lack discernment. Even more so, it offends a Holy God who created sexuality for His glory in the covenant of marriage (Hebrews 13:4).

Proverbs 5:7-8 continues this warning:

“And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house”

The wise person will recognize this as deadly temptation to flee from at all costs. Just as Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39, we must be diligent to avoid compromising situations and have strategies for escaping temptation. As 1 Corinthians 10:13 promises, God will always provide a way out – but we must be determined to take it!

Proverbs 5 makes it clear that sexual sin has devastating consequences. Verse 9-10 warns:

“lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner.”

Promiscuity leads to loss of honor and reputation. It wastes the precious years of one’s life. It enables “strangers” (literally other men) to benefit from your work and efforts. Sexual sin outside of marriage always destroys, never builds up.

Verse 11-14 detail even more painful outcomes:

“and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.”

The man who lacks self-control faces bitterness, ruin, decay and public disgrace. This is the fate of persisting in sexual sin apart from repentance. But as Christians, we know there is hope and restoration in Christ which we will discuss later. Nonetheless the earthly consequences are severe.

This lengthy warning in Proverbs 5 makes it clear that avoiding sexual temptation is a matter of spiritual life and death. The wise man disciplines his eyes, his thoughts and his feet to steer far clear of sexual immorality.

The Way to Life (Proverbs 5:15-23)

In contrast to the path of sexual immorality which leads to death, Proverbs 5:15-23 outlines the “way of life” through faithful marriage:

“Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well…Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth” (v.15, 18)

This poetic language endorses enjoying sexual intimacy within your own marriage covenant. In biblical times, a cistern collected rain water flowing from your roof gutter system. Similarly, sex is designed to be nourished from your own marriage relationship. Intimacy with your wife is likened to refreshing “flowing water” that God blesses.

Verses 19-20 poetically celebrate the intimacy and satisfaction found in marital love:

“A lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.”

This erotic language elevates the beauty of conjugal relations between husband and wife. Our sexuality glorifies God when expressed as He designed it in marriage. Through this exclusive intimacy, two become “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24) and are “heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7).

Proverbs 5:21 says God’s eyes “watch over a man’s ways” and he examines “all his paths.” Our sexuality choices either honor God or profane what He has created. This truth should motivate us to purity.

Finally, Proverbs 5:22-23 promises blessings for those who take the path of sexual faithfulness in marriage:

“The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.”

God’s design protects us from sin’s consequences. But persistent immorality leads to being “held fast” in sin and destroyed for “lack of discipline.” How crucial it is that we avoid sexual entanglements outside of marriage.

The clear contrast presented in Proverbs 5 is that sexual purity and self-control lead to life and blessing, but sexual sin leads only to pain and death. Wisdom discerns the right path.

Avoiding Immorality and Adultery (Proverbs 6:20-35)

Proverbs 6 contains another long warning against adultery and promiscuity, again urging the importance of sexual purity. Consider these key verses:

First, verses 20-24 instruct us to internalize the wisdom of God’s Word to guide our relationships:

“My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching…[they] are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” (v. 20-21)

Verse 23-24 adds:

“For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulterous woman.”

Scripture protects us from sexual deception. We must hide God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) to steer clear of temptation.

Verses 25-29 vividly warn against lust seizing control of your heart:

“Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes…Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?” (v.25-28)

Do not even entertain attraction to a forbidden woman. Flee temptation to avoid its inevitable consequence: “So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.” (v.29) Sinful thoughts lead to sinful actions with painful outcomes.

Verses 30-35 detail various punishments faced by the adulterer: public shame, lack of compensation, violence from the woman’s husband, and ultimately “he who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself” (v.32). The adulterer “will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.” (v.33)

Finally, the hurt party is told: “He will accept no compensation; he will refuse though you multiply gifts.” (v.35) When sexual sin violates a marriage covenant, often forgiveness is difficult and restoration long. Proverbs wisely warns us not to travel this foolish path that reaps such terrible ruin.

Avoiding the Adulteress’ Deception (Proverbs 7:1-27)

Proverbs 7 contains a detailed story illustrating how a young man is seduced into sexual sin with an adulterous woman. It provides a living example of the warnings of Proverbs 5-6. Consider several verses:

First, verses 1-5 call us to internalize God’s commands to guide us in discretion and keep us from sexual sin:

“My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” (v. 1-3)

Hiding Scripture in our hearts protects against temptation. Verses 6-23 depict a naive young man wandering near the adulteress’ house at dusk. She aggressively seduces him:

“She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him…”I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen…” I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.” (v.13-17)

This paints a picture of lustful deception. Yet verse 21 says this man is like “a bird hastening to the snare” and “does not know that it will cost him his life.” Temptation draws us to ignore logic and consequences.

Finally verse 24-27 warn:

“And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low…”Her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed.”

Succombing to sexual temptation brings ruined lives and souls. How vital we guard our minds and hearts completely from lust.

This story in Proverbs 7 vividly depicts how even a foolish young man minding his own business can be ambushed by sexual temptation. We must be proactive through God’s Word to take “no thought for lusts of the flesh” as Romans 13:14 commands.

The Value of Sexual Purity (Proverbs 5-7)

Stepping back, we see the broad emphasis in Proverbs 5-7 is that our sexuality is immensely valuable and designed for God’s purposes. Thus we should protect it for its proper use in marriage. The strong warnings against sexual sin target the great value God places on intimate covenant love He created to bond husband and wife in exclusive devotion.

Sexuality is given by God for intimacy that strengthens marriage and family, the building blocks of society. Maximum blessing comes through reserving it for marriage. Fleeing sexual immorality demonstrates we cherish God’s design for our bodies and relationships. It protects against harm, wasted life, destruction and painful consequences.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:18 we must “flee from sexual immorality” because it uniquely sins against our bodies which are temples of the Holy Spirit.

The wise person grasps the eternal importance of sexual purity and joyfully expresses their sexuality as God designed – honoring Him through faithfulness in marriage. This glorifies the Creator who fashioned intimate marital love as His good gift to humankind. As Hebrews 13:4 declares, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled.”

The Hope of Redemption and Restoration

Though Proverbs details many negative consequences of sexual sin, the New Testament offers hope of redemption, restoration and forgiveness to all who repent.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 warns sexually immoral people will not inherit God’s kingdom, but declares, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

No matter what sexual sins we’ve committed, turning to Christ in repentance brings total cleansing and newness of life. His mercies are made new every morning! (Lamentations 3:22-23) Wise is the man or woman who turns from sexual sin to follow Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:17 promises, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Christ can restore purity, purpose and dignity to all who seek Him.


The Book of Proverbs contains stern warnings against sexual immorality for good reason – it has devastating consequences and destroys lives and souls. As Christians, we must guard our hearts and discern the deceptions of temptation. God’s design for sexuality is for our protection and blessing.

Marital love brings satisfaction and intimacy in the way God intended. When we reserve sex for marriage, it honors the Lord and leads to greater joy. But persistent sexual sin apart from repentance reaps only ruin.

By God’s grace and Spirit, may we walk in sexual purity that glorifies our Maker. May the wisdom of Proverbs instruct us to avoid sexual pitfalls so we can thrive in God’s wondrous design for our lives. May the church honor marriage and family as God intended, that our society would be blessed for generations to come.

Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.