7:21-23 — 21 With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. 22 All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast 23 till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.
“The proposition, so slickly put, so piously argued, so winsomely supported, gained the response she had in mind (vv. 21-22).” (Hubbard) The trap was set, the seduction accepted, and now the young man’s life ruined — “it will cost him his life.” (v. 23) The outcome was not what she advertised, the end was not what his sensual heart envisioned. Here is an interesting point: “It is her talk, not her beauty, that does the trick. Her flattery appeals to his vanity, and he goes after her.” (Longman)
Immorality always ends in death; there is no other outcome. It is the deceitful nature of sin that masks this. The deception came through the adulteress’s mouth but it can come through other means. If we are not aware of the pitfalls before the temptation, then we will surely fall. “The bedroom was a slaughterhouse and the lad a dumb ‘ox’ who walked blandly into the butcher’s knife (v. 22) or a stag who pranced gleefully to the hunter’s noose only to feel the bite of an ‘arrow’ in his ‘liver’… or a ‘bird’ flitting into the ‘snare’ that spells its doom.” (Hubbard)
To the morally astute, this outcome is easy to see. The connection between immorality and death is evident. “Stupid animals see no connection between traps and death, and morally stupid people see no connection between their sin and death (cf. 1:17-18; Hos. 7:11).” (Waltke)
7:24-27 — 24 And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. 25 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, 26 for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. 27 Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.
From one son to a group, the father appeals to all his sons to listen to him. The only solution is to not turn aside to her. It starts with the heart. It is important to note that all who have flirted with this woman have been destroyed — “many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng.” It is sheer folly and arrogance for a young man to think he is so unique that he will escape Sheol. Her bed chambers are “chambers of death” and we must avoid it by embracing wisdom. This palace of pleasure is actually the place of death — wisdom says to avoid it at all cost.
1. Falling into sexual immorality will easily come to the thoughtless. The trap is set for the gullible. We must remember that this sin can ruin us. If we do not guard ourselves against it, then we will most certainly fall.
2. Wisdom alone can protect us from such a death (vv. 1-5). That is the point of this chapter; wisdom will guard us. But this wisdom must be cherished (not tolerated or casually embraced).
3. Caution is required. It is not “legalism” or “prudishness” to fear this and take extreme measures to avoid it. What the father witnessed should compel us to take action.
4. “Trace this sad end to its beginning. Was not idleness the parent of this mischief? (2 Sam. xi. 2.) The loitering evening walk; the unseasonable hour (Job, xxiv.15. Rom. xiii. 12, 13); the vacant mind — all bring the youth into contact with evil company (chap. xiii. 20. 1 Cor. xv. 33) — was not this courting sin, tempting the tempter? ‘The house was empty,’ and therefore ready for his reception, and soon altogether in his possession. (Matt. xii. 44, 45.) How valuable are self-discipline, self-control, constant employment, active energy of pursuit, as preservatives under the Divine blessing from fearful danger!” (Bridges, 69)