Betrayal and Abandonment
"There is good intercourse and there is bad intercourse. Adultery, rape--bad intercourse. Intercourse within marriage--that's making love--that's good intercourse. God gave us the Ten Commandments so we would know the difference....I believe in fidelity and monogamy and practice it...
This is what is called ethical monotheism--that God is the source of ethics. We live in an age that does not believe that it is necessary for God to be the source of ethics--let alone that we have a God that demands that we be ethical." ~ Dennis Prager
Marriage: They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore
what God has joined together, let not man separate."
Adultery: Do you not know that he who is joined to a
harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall
become one flesh."
You shall not multiply wives for yourself (Deut 17:17).
Because of sexual immorality, let
each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband (
The wickedness of Sodom was notorious (Gen. 13:13).
The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits with his
neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death
The death penalty shall not be remitted (Num. 35:31).
Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him (Ec 8:11–12).
There must be loyalty in marriage (Heb 13:4).
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts (2 Ti 3:1–6).
Having eyes full of adultery, enticing
unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are
accursed children (2 Pe 2:13-14).
Everyone who is sexually immoral or impure or who is covetous has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God...Do not be partakers with them (Eph 5:5).
This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have done no wrong.” Pr 30:20
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips...[They] have said...our lips are our own; Who is lord over us?” Ps 12:2–4
And put perverse lips far from you (Pr 4:24).
The Peril of Adultery:
My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
Lend your ear to my understanding,
That you may preserve discretion,
And your lips may keep knowledge.
For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey,
And her mouth is smoother than oil;
But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death,
Her steps lay hold of hell.
Lest you ponder her path of life—
Her ways are unstable;
You do not know them.
Therefore hear me now, my children,
And do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Remove your way far from her,
And do not go near the door of her house,
Lest you give your honor to others,
And your years to the cruel one;
Lest aliens be filled with your wealth,
And your labors go to the house of a foreigner;
And you mourn at last,
When your flesh and your body are consumed,
“How I have hated instruction,
And my heart despised correction!
I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers,
Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!
I was on the verge of total ruin,
In the midst of the assembly and congregation.”
Drink water from your own cistern,
And running water from your own well.
Should your fountains be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
Let them be only your own,
And not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.
For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman,
And be embraced in the arms of a seductress?
For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD,
And He ponders all his paths.
His own iniquities entrap the wicked man,
And he is caught in the cords of his sin.
He shall die for lack of instruction,
And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray (Pr 5:1–23).
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life to keep you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. (Pr 6:23–24).
Keep your way far from her and do not go near the door of her house (Pr 5:8).
Now flee from youthful lusts (2 Ti 2:22).
Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body (1 Co 6:18). See: Adultery Topical Index.
32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding;
He who does so destroys his own soul.
33 Wounds and dishonor he will get,
And his reproach will not be wiped away.
6:30–35 Adultery is compared to a thief. Unlike the pity extended to a
starving thief, who, though it may cost all he has, can make restitution and put
the crime behind him permanently (vv. 30, 31), for the adulterer there is no
restitution as he destroys his soul (v. 32; cf.
6:32–35. Involvement in adultery shows one’s stupidity (cf. 7:7; 9:4,
16); he goes ahead in his sin while knowing that severe consequences will
follow. He destroys himself (cf. 6:26b;
6:20–35 A call to avoid adultery because it costs so much
We return to the familiar form of the sermon, with its opening call to attentiveness (20–21) and associated promises (22–23). These pass imperceptibly into urging to avoid adultery, by being wary of enticing words and of attractive looks (24–25; see on 2:16–19; 5). There follows a long account of the reasons for that, which occupies the bulk of this section (26–35)...[A]n affair is simply not worth it.
The point is made by means of three comparisons. First, you can compare having an affair with going to see a prostitute—rather an insult to someone with a romantic view of their affair (26). It may be that the woman is being called a whore (though she is not literally that) or it may be that she is being unfavourably compared with a whore (!), since she costs much more; everything, in fact. Secondly, having an affair is like playing with fire; you will not escape getting burned (27–29). The verses play on the fact that in Hebrew fire and wife are very similar. Thirdly, having an affair is like theft (30–35): taking something that belongs to someone else because you are starving. With ordinary theft you pay the penalty; all the more with stealing someone’s wife. The ‘property’ view of marriage is taken for granted here, because that was how people thought of the matter, though the strength of the husband’s reaction perhaps implies the feeling that adultery involves more than interference with his property.
Proverbs 5-7: The Path of Folly and Death
6:20–35 Fornication’s fruit: Disease, dishonor, death. Returning to the theme of 5:1–23, the father again urged his son to listen to his advice, particularly regarding the seductions of evil women (6:24–35). The man who is seduced “is an utter fool” (6:32), “scoop[s] fire into his lap” (6:27), suffers “wounds and constant disgrace” (6:33), and “destroys his own soul” (6:32).
7:1–27 Like a spider seducing a fly! Urging his son once again to “write” his commands “deep within your heart” (to internalize them), the father issued further warnings about immoral women. He described an aimless young man who was easy prey to the wayward woman’s flattery and aggressiveness.
Throwing away one’s commitment to one’s lifelong companion is pure folly. For the ancient Israelites, marital fidelity was a mark of one’s fidelity to God.
The N.T. also makes it clear that sexual immorality is characteristic of a
godless lifestyle and that those who practice it will be judged (cf.
But here in Prov. the writer is primarily concerned with the consequences of adultery. The foolish person who succumbs finds that in the end adultery brings ruin (5:4, 11, 14). He warns that no one can “walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched” (6:28), that the adulterer will arouse jealousy, earn blows and disgrace, and so destroy himself (6:30–35). While the prostitute “reduces you to a loaf of bread” by treating you as an object rather than a person, the adulteress “preys on your very life” (6:26).
These proverbs also make it clear that, while desire may spring up uninvited, committing adultery involves a choice (6:25). The wise man will turn away from opportunities for sexual adventures, to find joy and satisfaction in the love of his own wife (5:15–20). And, a wise man will remember that his “ways are in full view of the Lord” (5:21).
C. Arguments against Adultery (6:26–35)
In the remaining verses of chapter 6 the teacher sets forth a series of practical reasons why a young man should avoid the evil woman and the sins of fornication and adultery.
First, the promiscuous lifestyle often leads to the loss of temporal possessions. “On account of a harlot a man is brought to a loaf of bread,” i.e., he is brought to poverty. When she gets through with him, all of his substance will have been exhausted, save enough for only the basic necessities of life.
Second, he who gets involved with an adulteress (lit., the wife of a man) places
his life in jeopardy, since adultery was a capital crime under the law of Moses
Third, the adulterer always gets burned. A man cannot take fire into his bosom, i.e., the folds of his garments, without burning his clothing. Nor can one walk barefoot upon hot coals without burning his feet. So one does not “go in to his neighbor’s wife” with impunity. “Whoever touches her shall not go unpunished.” The punishment would come (1) from the judicial officers; (2) from the husband of the woman; or (3) from God himself. The flames of lust will certainly be visited with punishment and with stings of conscience (6:27–29).
Fourth, an adulterer will find no pity from his contemporaries. Should a person steal because he is driven by sheer necessity, his fellow men may feel some sympathy for him. Still he does not escape punishment. He must restore “sevenfold,” i.e., many times more that he stole. The thief might end up forfeiting “all the substance of his house,” i.e., all he possesses. Thus theft may reduce someone to poverty. So he who commits adultery forfeits even more, for he forfeits his own life. How stupid! For a moment of gratification he places his very life in jeopardy. If a man will not hear the teaching of wisdom with its moral and social imperatives, perhaps he would listen to this line of reasoning. It is in the self-interest of every man to avoid adulterous relationships (6:30–32).
Fifth, adulterous affairs often lead to “wounds.” The reference is probably to the bodily injury inflicted by the outraged husband of the adulteress. In addition, the guilty party would receive “dishonor,” i.e., he would incur the censure of his fellow men. “His reproach shall not be wiped away.” For the rest of his life the adulterer will bear the stigma of his sin (6:33).
Sixth, adultery unleashes a furious response from the husband of the woman involved. “Jealousy is the rage of a man.” The wife’s infidelity gives rise to implacable fury which relentlessly seeks revenge. “He will not spare in the day of vengeance,” i.e., he will have no pity on the culprit. He would reject every appeal advanced to save him from the legal consequences of his attack upon the adulterer. Offers of monetary compensation to drop the charges of adultery would be refused. Such payments in cases of adultery were not sanctioned in the law, but no doubt were often made in actual practice. The teacher warns, however, that a man of integrity would not accept any amount of cash payment to ignore the affront to his honor (6:34–35).
He that hath found a good wife, hath found a good thing, and shall receive a pleasure from the Lord. He that driveth away a good wife, driveth away a good thing: but he that keepeth an adulteress, is foolish and wicked (Pr 18:22, DRB).
Thru the Bible commentary: History of Israel (1 and 2 Samuel) by J. Vernon McGee:
And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor [2 Sam. 12:1].
Nathan is going to tell David a story. It is a story that will reveal David as though he were looking in a mirror. The Word of God is a mirror that reveals us as we really are. Nathan is going to hold up a mirror so that David can get a good look at himself. There was probably a lull in state business when Nathan came. Since Nathan was God’s prophet, David said to him, "Do you have anything from the Lord for me?" He did. He told Nathan a story about two men in one city. One man was rich and the other man was poor—a typical city with its ghetto and its rich estates.
The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter [2 Sam. 12:2–3].
The story of the rich man and the poor man sounds very familiar. The rich had many flocks and herds. The poor man had one little lamb. It was a pet and dearly loved by the family. They fed it—it was probably a fat little fellow. It was all the poor man had. What a contrast. This has been the continual war between the rich and the poor. I personally think the outstanding problem today is not the racial problem, but the conflict between capital and labor, the rich and the poor.
And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him [2 Sam. 12:4].
Nathan is telling a story that is quite familiar, is it not? The poor man had nothing but the little ewe lamb; the rich man had everything—yet he was a skinflint. I do not often discuss politics, but I would like to put down a principle in this world of sin today. I recognize that political parties say they have the solutions for the problems of the world because they want their candidates to be elected to office. I have no confidence in men. I do not believe that any politician today is going to champion the poor. This never has been done, and it never will be done. Let us not kid ourselves about that. It is quite interesting about the government poverty programs....Taxes go up for the rest of us. I tell you, they are surely taking my little ewe lamb, friends.
And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die [2 Sam. 12:5].
David thought Nathan had brought before him a case for someone in the kingdom and was asking for David to rule upon it. David had a sense of right and wrong. He also had a sense of justice. He is redheaded and hotheaded. When he heard Nathan’s story, he probably sprang to his feet and demanded, "Where is this man? We will arrest him. We will execute him!"
It is interesting how easily you can see the sin in somebody else, but you cannot see it in your own life. That was David’s problem.
And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity [2 Sam. 12:6].
David sounds like a preacher, doesn’t he? It is so easy to preach to the other person, tell him his faults, analyze him, and tell him what to do. Most of us are amateur psychologists who put other people on our own little critical couches and give them a working over. That is David. David says, "Wherever that man is, we are going to see that justice is done."
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things [2 Sam. 12:7–8].
It took courage for Nathan to say this to David. In my judgment he is the bravest man in the Bible. I know of no one who can be compared to him. He said, "David, you are the guilty one." What is David going to do? He is going to do something unusual, I can assure you of that. Dr. Margoliouth has said this: "When has this been done—before or since? Mary, Queen of Scots, would declare that she was above the law; Charles I would have thrown over Bathsheba; James II would have hired witnesses to swear away her character; Mohammed would have produced a revelation authorizing both crimes; Charles II would have publicly abrogated the seventh commandment; Queen Elizabeth would have suspended Nathan." Years ago, the Duke of Windsor would have given up his throne for her. We have had some presidents who would have repealed the Ten Commandments and appointed Nathan to the Supreme Court. David did not do any of these things. His actions will reveal his greatness.
God would have given David anything his heart wanted, but David longed for something that was not his. The new morality today says it was not sin. God still says this is sin, and the man after God’s own heart cannot get by with it.
Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon [2 Sam. 12:9].
Nathan spells out the sins in no uncertain terms.
Don’t you imagine, friends, that the court was shocked when they heard what Nathan said to David? There were undoubtedly many present who did not know what had happened. They hear Nathan accuse David of the most brutal crime written in the books. David has done the things that God said, "Thou shalt not do."
Is he going to get by with it?
Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife [2 Sam. 12:10].
May I say, Christian friend, that when the question arises, "Can a Christian sin?" the answer is yes. But when you sin, you despise God. God says that that is what you do. When David took Uriah’s wife to be his wife, he was despising God.
Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun [2 Sam. 12:11].
Evil is going to arise against David out of his own house. And friends, in the next chapter a scandal breaks out among David’s children that is an awful thing. It becomes a heartbreak to this man. But you will never find him whimpering or crying out to God about it, because David knew that God was putting the lash on his back. All that David wanted was what is written in Psalm 42:1, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God."
For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun [2 Sam. 12:12].
And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die [2 Sam. 12:13].
David should have died for this crime. God spared David’s life and put away his sin, but David’s baby died. God is not going to let David get by with his sin.
Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die [2 Sam. 12:14].
And friends, the enemies of the Lord still blaspheme God because of what David did. When I was a pastor in downtown Los Angeles, there were many times when some unbeliever or skeptic came to me and said, "How could God choose a man like David?" They would actually leer at me while waiting for my reply. The enemy is still blaspheming. God is going to take David to the woodshed.
And Nathan departed unto his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them [2 Sam. 12:15–17].
David went before God and pleaded for Him to spare the little fellow’s life. Finally they brought word to David that the child was dead.
But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat [2 Sam. 12:19–20].
David’s servants are astounded. When the child was alive, David was in sackcloth and ashes. When the child died, he should have been beside himself with grief. Instead, he got up, took a shower, and changed his clothes, then went to the house of God to worship. His servants ask for an explanation.
And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me [2 Sam. 12:22–23].
David knew that the little baby was saved. He said, "I will go to him someday." David knew that when death came to him, he would be reunited with his son.
A child dying in infancy goes to be with the Lord. Matthew 18:10 says, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." The word angels in this verse should be translated "spirits." When a little baby dies today, that baby goes immediately to be with the Lord. That is the teaching of the Word of God. I don’t know about you, but this means a great deal to me because I have a little one up there, and I am looking forward to one day being with her.
David could rejoice when his infant son died because he knew that one day he would see him again. That was not the case when his son Absalom died many years later. Absalom was a heartbreak to David. When he died, David wept and mourned. Why? David was not sure Absalom was saved. McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: History of Israel (1 and 2 Samuel) (electronic ed., Vol. 12, pp. 238–244). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Respond to Evil with a Blessing: Church Restoration Process
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