Here is another in a list of warnings given to the man who would think of committing adultery. It is part of the description of the adulteress. Before I go into this particular verse I do want to make a comment or two for the ladies. This passage does describe for us the woman who either leaves her husband to have sex with another man - or a single woman who enters into relationships with married men and thus is committing adultery with him. I do not in any way want you ladies to think that any man is receiving a pass here. This passage is dealing with this issue from the perspective of a warning to sons. Fascinating that this warning comes most likely from David to Solomon - two guys who learned much from the wrong side of this issue. David's warnings to his son Solomon were for the most part unheeded in the end - and Solomon's sin was the undoing of Israel. So you can see that the cost of mistakes in this area are great. Fortunately for us - the grace of God and His forgiveness are greater. Nevertheless - a whole host of problems come when a young man is foolish enough to be ensnared by the adulteress. Oh, and ladies . . . the greatest snare for him is not the woman herself - but his own lusts that wage war in his soul. His greatest battle is with godly self-control, obedience to the Scriptures, and not living out of his flesh as a source. But, with all this said, it is a wise father who speaks to his son about these issues - even if it is from hard lessons learned.
The adulteress, like anyone who is willingly cooperating with sin, is not watching for eternal things. The passage states in the Hebrew that she is not watching the path of life. The actual Hebrew word here is "palas" and it means to ponder or to calculate the weight of something. One of the ways this word is used is to weigh out a path and see what it will bring to us in the end. The adulteress is not thinking about eternity - about the judgment of God at the end of life when according to the Bible, all men and women will have to give an account of their choices and actions. The word "ponder" here does not mean just a casual thought - but to stop and think seriously about something. She is not thinking about where her actions are taking her. This is kind of a "duh" statement considering we just read a verse earlier that her feet are swiftly moving towards death and her very steps (indicating a direction taken) are taking hold of the place of the dead. Think about this for a moment. Does anyone who is entering into sexual immorality seriously stop and think about the diseases they are opening up to in their lives? Does anyone entering into adultery seriously stop and consider the havoc coming in their marriage - in their family - in their children's lives? There is not a lot of pondering going on here. Honestly, what IS going on is actions based on lust and desire. Sexual immorality usually involves shutting the "ponderer" down and living by the impulses of our flesh instead. It involves shutting down our brain and our spirit - and thinking with our loins instead.
The adulteress also is unstable. The word for unstable here means to stagger and walk crooked. It has the idea of someone who is swaying in and out of a path. Rather than ponder and consider the path of life - she is wandering and staggering off the road. Jeremiah 14:10 uses this same imagery to indicate that there are those who love their wandering. God told Jeremiah, "Thus says the LORD to this people, 'Even so they have loved to wander; they have not kept their feet in check. Therefore the LORD does not accept them; now He will remember their iniquity and call their sins to account."' This is the same sentiment we sing about in the hymn, "Come Thou Fount" when we say, "prone to wander, Lord I feel it; prone to leave the Lord I love."
This speaks of a "willful" wandering. The adulteress though, is wandering not toward sin with the assurance of God's gracious discipline. She is willfully wandering toward a yawning abyss without seeing its gaping jaws. Her ways are unstable - wandering - staggering toward destruction - but she does not know it. So althought she promises so much through her offer of pleasure, albeit illicit. She does not know even herself where it is eventually leading. For the man foolish enough to be attracted to her wiles and follow her into sin - he simply is walking hand in hand with her to that yawning abyss with its gaping jaws - so step in and be devoured.
Pretty scary description here isn't it? That's the point that David is trying to drive home to young Solomon his son. Remember, David wound up killing Uriah as well as several other soldiers by proxy - had his daughter raped by one of her half brothers - had that son killed by another son (who used his proxy methods to accomplish the deed) - had 10 of his concubines raped in public by his son on a rooftop in front of the entire nation - and had that son die in an effort to usurp the kingdom along with all the soldiers who fell in that battle as well. Kinda cost David far more than he thought to have that one night of hidden passion? Maybe David was wanting Solomon to ponder more than he did - to avoid a similar fate? Maybe whether from success or failure in our moral lives we should do the same with our sons and daughters as well?