But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
Adultery is stupid soul suicide. While stealing food due to hunger can be understood, though the theft must be repaid, adultery cannot be explained or justified (Pr 6:30-31). There is never any necessity or pressing circumstances to warrant this heinous crime.
The temptation to commit adultery may indeed be very great, but it involves a much worse violation of others than merely taking some food, and it severely blots a reputation and deserves punishment that cannot be avoided by any payment to satisfy the victim.
Solomon and his wife taught and warned their son about the grave danger of strange women (Pr 6:20-35). Whorish women, whether prostitutes, fornicators, or adulteresses, pose a very great threat to the lives and souls of men, especially young men. These two devoted parents plainly and forcefully condemned this depraved crime for his safety.
The context drives the interpretation. Stealing to satisfy hunger is one thing. Men will not despise a thief or his crime in such a situation, even though they will require repayment to the full extent of his assets (Pr 6:30-31). However, adultery is a capital crime, in which just men, privately and politically, despise the offender and his offence (Pr 6:32-35).
Such a man destroys his soul by destroying his reputation and sacrificing his very life, not just his assets. Rather than stealing to sustain his soul, or life (Pr 6:30), he commits adultery and sacrifices his soul, or life (Pr 6:32). There is no understanding of this offence; there is no way to undo it; there is no repayment. It is a heinous sin to be punished (Job 31:9-12). Adultery must be despised and hated by every noble person.
The contrast between stealing for survival and adultery is valuable. First, adultery has no necessity and thus shows a brutish and profane spirit; it proves a lack of understanding. Second, though stealing required extensive restitution in God’s law, adultery was a capital crime in His holy judgment. Third, the reproach lasts much longer, even indefinitely, as it does to this day for David. Fourth, stolen goods may be repaid, but there is no way to repay stolen pleasures. No ransom or gift can compensate for adultery.
The proverb is a general rule: a severe warning to Solomon’s son, without qualifications or exceptions, which would only dilute the force of the lesson. King Solomon knew how his father and mother had met – in an adulterous bed. The man after God’s own heart before and after, David had showed a total lack of judgment, bondage to his base and wanton lusts, and the desperate measures of a murderer to cover his shameful crime.
Though forgiven by God and men, and empowered to continue in his offices, David had the stigma of this sin on his life from that day until now. Though repenting with some of the deepest grief recorded in all of Scripture, he endured chastening from God in various forms for the rest of his life. Though never repeating the sin, the one event likely corrupted the morals of several children e.g. Amnon, Absalom, Adonijah, and Solomon.
God’s wisdom conveyed by this proverb makes adultery a terrible sin with horrible consequences. But the world glamorizes it through the entertainment media and by the lifestyles of those in the public eye. The civil government, rather than being the judge and executioner for such crimes, ignores it altogether. Churches, rather than identifying and excluding such offenders, preach a frothy brand of forgiveness and look the other way.
Therefore, it is wisdom to hate this sin with all your might. It is wisdom to avoid any thing that tempts you to commit this heinous crime. It is wisdom to never let Hollywood break down your resistance by novels, soundtracks, or enticing dramas to enjoy this wicked act vicariously. It is wisdom to seek a government treating this sin like the Bible. It is wisdom to find a church where adultery is preached against and offenders punished.