Proverbs 5:4

But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.


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Casual sex, even with a kind, loving, gorgeous, and erotic woman, is bitter and painful. A strange woman, a woman you have not married and have no right to be with, can be a great pleasure in some respects. But it is very short pleasure, and then you discover the horrible consequences of such a heinous sin. Her sweet words and kisses turn bitter like wormwood, and her smooth flattery and lovemaking cut deep like a twoedged sword.

Many men have been destroyed by this deceitful delusion. She looks, sounds, smells, and feels so inviting, and man’s lusts and pride for such a conquest swear it will be very rewarding, but the corrupting and cutting results are hidden from view. Knowing the great danger, King Solomon used this chapter to warn his son about the dire trouble a whore brings into a man’s life and the delightful and protective pleasure of a loving wife.

The proverb completes a sentence started in the previous verse. There the wise Preacher told about a whore’s sweet lips and smooth mouth. See the comments on Proverbs 5:3. The flattery of such a woman is overpowering – her offer of adoration and lovemaking is too much to resist. The proverb here states a strong warning – consider the consequences!

What is the end of a thing? Its reward, results, or consequences (Ps 37:37; 73:17). What is wormwood? An herb known for intense bitterness (Lam 3:15). How bitter? The Greeks called it “undrinkable,” and it is a usual symbol of bitterness. How sharp is a two-edged sword? Twice as sharp as a one-edged sword! It will cut you either way, or both ways.

Consider how a strange woman will be bitter and cutting. Consider it well, young man, for first impressions are deceitfully dangerous. Do not think on her beauty or flirt with her eyes (Pr 6:25). Do not listen to her enticing words (Pr 5:3). They disguise the poison; they cover the blade. She will take you to death and hell, and she will do it painfully.

She will take your time, for lusts are not satisfied with short liaisons or infrequent contact. The guilt will devour your soul day and night, even when not with her. Fear of being caught and exposed will destroy your confidence and conscience. The lie you must live to cover your sin will turn your life into a perpetual drama of deception. The joy you once had in lawful relationships will be stolen from you. How bitter! How cutting!

She deceived others to seduce you, it is only time until she deceives you for another. The betrayal of true love and devotion will leave you vulnerably insecure. The prospect of revenge by her husband or father will chase you even when you are alone in a secluded place. Your reputation will be destroyed and reduced to that of a despised adulterer. She chose to be immoral with you, so you cannot trust her to be morally right in other ways.

She has been with others, so you must at some point admit you are merely being used by a heartless whore. And since she has been with others, your health may be at risk. Even pagans recognize the short lives of fornicators. She is not cheap, as she expects much in return for her favors, so you are reduced from being a virtuous prince to a begging slave.

And, of course, there is God, death, judgment, and then hell. How bitter! How cutting!

Man, get away from her; do not go near her (Pr 5:8). If you are in such a relationship, break it today, and never think about her or go near her again. Your life depends on it.