Proverbs 9:18

But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.


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What a shock! What a damning disaster! A beautiful woman seduces a man to have sex outside marriage. Her attractiveness, flattery, and willingness overwhelm him. He cannot believe his good fortune – this exciting and erotic woman has invited him home to her bed. But her house is full of dead victims, and her guests are in the depths of hell.

Solomon compared and contrasted Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly in the ninth chapter of Proverbs. He described Lady Wisdom and her offer for simple men to be protected at her house (Pr 9:1-12). He then described Lady Folly, who is a seductive whore, with her contrasting offer for the same men and their eventual total ruin due to her (Pr 9:13-18).

All men face the choice often. Will you heed Lady Wisdom and stay away from worldly women and the things pertaining to them? Or will you walk away from her offer to test the pleasures of sin for a season with a whorish woman? The choice is yours, but God has determined the consequences (Heb 13:4). Reject wisdom, and you die (Pr 9:11-12,18).

There are two deaths you can die. There are two hells in which you can suffer. Fornicators and adulterers get all four. Fools that go after a strange woman – one they have not rightly married – do not see any of the four judgments coming. They are enthralled by a beautiful woman and go ignorantly to their horrible punishment. It is the painful deceit of sexual pleasure outside marriage that this proverb warns against.

The context here is the seduction of men by foolish and whorish women (Pr 9:13-18). The lesson is simple and obvious: men are blinded by the lusts of their eyes and flesh, and they do not see the death and hell that are certain consequences for sexual sin. The beauty, flattery, and promised pleasures of a woman stupefy their heart, soul, and mind from considering the terrible results of intimacy with any other than their lawful wife.

Wise men look for what does not readily meet the eye or cross the mind. Fools only see what is in front of them. Another woman will always look good; her alluring words will always sound good; her new kisses will always taste good; and she, in conspiracy with the devil and your heart, offers pleasures that surely will be good. But the victim does not know that those who visited her before are dead and in hell (Pr 2:16-20; 5:5; 7:27). Look!

The fool does not know the dead are there. The first death is soul death – the loss of integrity, peace, reputation, and virtue (Pr 5:9-10). Instead, you are now plagued with fear, frustration, guilt, and shame. This is not physical death; it is worse. It is a living death, where heart and soul die to God, joy, life, and righteousness. Solomon wrote, “Whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul” (Pr 6:32). This is soul death (Lu 15:24; I Tim 5:6; Jas 5:19-20).

The fool does not know the dead are there. The other death is physical death. Hard living with whores shortens life as the Bible declares and experience confirms (Pr 2:18-19; 5:5; 7:27). Sinful living reduces the longevity of many modern actors, athletes, and performers, even ignoring sexual diseases. If capital punishment for these sins were enforced, it would shorten their lives that much more. Then there is God’s judgment on such men, for He will certainly punish whoremongers and adulterers (Heb 13:4).

The fool does not know her guests are in the depths of hell. The first hell is a dysfunctional and painful life in this world. This is the hell that appropriate corporal punishment can keep a child out of (Pr 23:13-14). This is the hell of lost jobs, divorces, insecurity, ruined families, troubled children, squandered money, lost time, broken hearts, constant lying, sexual diseases, angry spouses, and so forth. The short-term pleasures of illicit love never compensate adequately for the rest of your life in this hell (Pr 5:9).

The fool does not know her guests are in the depths of hell. The other hell is the lake of fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels – and for all fornicators (Matt 25:41; Rev 21:8; 22:15). In that horrible place, the men who chose the looks and lies of a woman over the blessings and truth of God will have eternity to rue their stupid decision. Hear the words of eternal condemnation for fornicators, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt 7:23).

Why does a man not see these horrible dangers? Is the Bible not clear enough? Are parents and pastors not clear enough? He does not see them, because he ignores those already suffering, she does not tell him about them, he cannot remember the warnings of teachers, the pleasure is too great to think, the television says it is wonderful, the school system says it is good, he lulled himself to sleep with fantasies and pornography, he sees others that apparently got away with it, or he underestimated the deceitfulness of sin.

In this generation and society, there are plenty of loose women, the foolish women described in this context (Pr 9:13-18). Junior and senior high schools and colleges are meat markets. Women dress like whores even for church, and public shopping is almost intolerable for a righteous man. Divorces for any cause are used for getting a new wife, just as the Saviour condemned in His day, which does not cover the sin (Matt 5:27-32).

Are you a repentant fornicator or adulterer? Do you despise your sin? Can you pray like Elihu described (Job 33:27-28)? Can you cast yourself at Jesus’ feet and beg and cry for mercy, as did many harlots in the New Testament? There is salvation in Christ Jesus, even for adulterers and fornicators. The church at Corinth had many (I Cor 6:9-11). And they will be in heaven by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Praise His glorious name.