Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.
An adulteress is incredible! She has the least amount of conscience and the most amount of pretension. She commits one of the most heinous betrayals possible, yet she can talk and live, as if she has done nothing. She will keep up wifely habits to keep her trusting husband and others from suspecting. Having just described four wonderful things beyond his easy perception, the prophet Agur compared an adulteress to them (Pr 30:1,18-19).
The way an eagle soars on thermal updrafts and dives after prey is marvelous. The way a snake moves without arms or legs on a smooth rock is marvelous. The way a bulky ship sails smoothly through seas without oars or trail is marvelous. And the ease and power with which a man wins a virgin is marvelous. These four things are hard to discern, and so is it hard to believe a married woman can have sex with another man (Pr 30:18-20).
The eating of this proverb does not involve food – it is the sexual acts of the adulteress. She opens her legs to a stranger and enjoys physical pleasures limited to her husband and his bed only. Eating is used here as a euphemism for sexual intercourse, as it was used earlier (Pr 5:15; 9:17; 20:17). While the Bible may use plainer speech in other places, it chooses a euphemism to enhance the proverb here (Ezek 16:17,25-26; 23:16-21).
The wiping of her mouth does not involve a napkin – it is the covering of her tracks to avoid detection. She does everything necessary to hide her liaisons from her husband and others. She waits for her husband to be away (Pr 7:19-20; Gen 39:7-12). She speedily takes care of household duties; she makes the lost time disappear; she hides any signs of her sin; she washes her body and prepares to meet her husband as if everything is fine.
She pretends by her words and actions to her husband that all is well. She dotes on her husband at home and in public. She enters his bed and is intimate with him as if all is well. She plays with her children, speaks with the neighbors, attends church on Sunday, dresses merrily, and continues to wear his wedding ring. There is no compunction, guilt, or remorse. She acts as if she has done nothing wrong at all, in spite of her heinous sin.
The present generation glamorizes adulteresses by movies and serials, performing artists and actresses, romance novels, psychotherapists, and profane marriage counselors. Think “Braveheart,” “Doctor Zhivago,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Sex and the City,” Princess Diana, etc.! Hollywood never glamorizes marriage! Never! While adultery once brought capital punishment, public flogging, or branding, it is laughed at today and admired as an exciting event. Though a crime on the books of many states, it is not enforced in any state. The whole world eats, wipes its mouth, and says, “I have done no wickedness!”
But there is a God in heaven that hates adultery and adulteresses. It is not an affair: it is not having a lover; it is not a weak moment; it is adultery – the violation of a marriage covenant and wedding (Ex 20:14). Adulteresses received the death penalty in a nation where God wrote the laws (Lev 20:10; Ezek 16:38), and the Jews conspiratorial attempt to trap Jesus and His response do not change God’s civil opinion at all (John 8:1-11).
God designed the woman’s body to prove virginity when entering marriage, and He gave a test under Moses to expose infidelity after marriage (Deut 22:13-21; Num 5:11-31). How far did He go to enforce female chastity? He called for cutting off a wife’s hands for touching another man’s genitals, even if assisting her husband in a fight (Deut 25:11-12). He may have allowed polygamy for hard male hearts, but never polyandry (Ex 21:10-11).
For any adulteress convicted and condemned by this proverb, repentance makes all the difference in the world. The Lord Jesus Christ is as quick to forgive this sin as any other (Luke 7:36-50; John 4:4-42; 8:1-11; I Cor 6:9-11). Jesus received repenting harlots gladly, and they entered His kingdom before religious types (Matt 21:31-32). You can clear yourself altogether from this heinous sin by godly sorrow (II Cor 7:10-11). Glory!
God blessed Bathsheba to be in the lineage of Jesus Christ twice (II Sam 12:24; Matt 1:6; Luke 3:31; I Chron 3:5). Both Tamar and Rahab made the same lineage, though guilty of the sin of adultery also (Matt 1:3,5). While the sins of Mary Magdalene, once possessed by seven devils, are not known, Jesus appeared to her first after His resurrection (Mark 16:9). Rejoice, repentant reader! Your sins are forgiven! Go in peace, and sin no more!
The proverb describes adulterous women, for Proverbs is primarily a book of wisdom and warnings for young men (Pr 1:1-7). But there is an adulterer for every adulteress. Let every man remember God’s justice required the death of the adulteress and adulterer (Lev 20:10). Godly men make covenants with their eyes when they marry – they will not think about sexual intimacy with another woman (Job 31:1). Solomon condemned looking at other women, and he taught men to be content with a wife (Pr 6:24-26; 5:18-20).
There is more than one way to be an adulteress. The very thought of foolishness is sin, so any fantasies of the heart are equal in the sight of God to the actual deed (Pr 24:9; Ex 20:17; Job 31:1; Matt 5:28). A godly woman is chaste in thought and deed (Tit 2:5; I Pet 3:2). There is no more liberty for a woman to read romance novels, watch soap operas, or enjoy Hollywood romance movies than for a man to fantasize with pornography.
There is more than one way to be an adulteress. The holy God of heaven considers friendship with the world by Christians or churches to be spiritual adultery (Ezek 16:1-59; Hos 1:1-3; 9:1; II Cor 11:1-4; Jas 4:4). He is a jealous God, and He will not share His glory, affection, or worship with any others (Deut 4:23-26; Josh 24:19; Heb 12:28-29).
He rejects those who think they can love Him and the things of the world at the same time (Matt 6:24; Phil 3:18-19; I John 2:15-17). He rejects compromised worship like a man would reject his wife remembering or doting on other lovers (Ezek 23:38-39; II Cor 6:14-17). If you love the world, you are flirting or committing adultery with His enemy!
Jesus Christ showed John a vision of a great whore with harlot daughters, who was full of abominations and filthy fornication (Rev 17:1-6). This whore also eats, wipes her mouth, and professes to be innocent and pure, for she is a specific church renowned for spiritual fornication against the God of heaven. Her severe judgment is described in detail (Rev 17:15-17; 18:1-24). What church is she? The city that ruled the world in the days of John (Rev 17:18)! Who are her daughters? The churches that came out of her later!