This passage deals with the stupidity of committing adultery, plain and simple. Several years ago Randy Alcorn wrote a book called, "The Purity Principle." In it I felt that Alcorn made a statement that is one for the ages. "Purity is always smart, impurity is always stupid." That is what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us today in Proverbs. "The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense." This is a very genteel way of saying what Alcorn said. We could restate his principle by saying that faithfulness in marriage is always good, adultery is always stupid.
The actual words used here are the ones that are used often in Proverbs. The one who commits adultery with a woman lacks heart. We are being told that adultery shows that we have a heart problem more than anything else. We've allowed our hearts to be captured by lust and sexual immorality rather than by God. While reading a series of purity prayers I've run into the statement again and again where the puritans asked God to capture their heart so that they would not be satisfied by trifling affections. The heart can be captured in this way - and given to things that are so far less than what God wants to give us. The truth is what He wants to give us in Himself. We settle for so much less and so less fulfilling things than Him. And that is what the fool has done - he has settled for adultery rather than finding in God and in His provision of his wife true fulfillment.
We are also warned in this passage that, ". . . he who would destroy himself does it." The literal Hebrew says that the destruction is in this man's soul. He finds his mind strangely drawn and lied to by the enticements of the adulterous woman. He finds his emotions stimulated by a false love and false promises of intimacy and pleasure. As he foolishly begins to embrace these thoughts and these concepts he also begins to lose the war within his will to continue in God's ways and in God's path. Soon he gives in to the onslaught that is coming toward his soul. He no longer lives out of his spirit - where the Spirit of God would give him strength to resist and overcome temptation - but instead allows himself to be taken over by his body and its lusts. As he does this He submits himself to the adultery - and in so doing he "destroys" himself in the process and the sinful choice. Destroy here is the Hebrew word, "sahat" and it means to spoil, ruin, destroy, pervert, or corrupt. When you look at these ways of translating this word they all fit this passage - and all take place as this man acts foolishly by committing adultery.
For the next several days we will look at the terrible consequences and the wise warnings that God gives us in this area. Remember that this entire conversation is one that takes place between a man and his sons. How wise we would be to have this kind of conversation with our sons as they get older and begin to face the temptations of this present world. How wise we would be to also have these kinds of conversations with our adult sons who are married, as well as with our brothers in Christ with whom we share fellowship in God's church. Since these things are written about so many times in Proverbs - it is a reminder that the wise also warn one another with the very warnings given to us by God.