Proverbs 5 as a unit warns of the folly of adultery. You can spin it as the warning against adulterous religion or against chasing the Woman Folly instead of Lady Wisdom. I think you should take it at face value first: keep your marriage vows. And if you have no marriage vows, then do not take marriage benefits. They go together. The other meanings layer underneath that, using the picture of destructive sexual dalliance to show why they are also destructive.
The verse that hit me today is Proverbs 5:12, and the reason is this: it sounds like an old country song. At least it does to me. It is the song of the man who chose to go badly, though he was warned not to.
This is Solomon’s initial work on “Mama Tried,” with its infamous lyric I turned 21 in prison, doing life without parole. No one could steer me right, but Mama tried, Mama tried.
Solomon is warning his sons, and those who listen in, to avoid that life. There are decisions that you only get the opportunity to make one time. Before you make them, you should seek wisdom. You should listen to the teachings of your elders. You should consider, above all else, the Word of God.
These irrevocable moments in life usually occur without direct warning. For Solomon’s warning in Proverbs 5, it is perhaps that moment when sensuality overcomes sense, and his son is caught in adultery. The first time one is caught, life changes. Fatally in many historical and modern settings—how many murders are over jealous lovers?
Solomon warns his sons: you may have a moment that you choose poorly, and find your days singing “Mama Tried.” Or, you can admit your need for learning and turn your life toward the wisdom that God provides for your life.
That decision is yours.