Solomon continues to instruct his son in matters of life and conduct.
Chapter 6 breaks down as follows:
- Hasty promises and financial pledges (vv. 1-5)
- Hard work and laziness contrasted (vv. 6-11)
- Wicked behavior identified (vv. 12-15)
- Bad attitudes and behavior called out (vv. 16-19)
- Consequences of adultery (vv. 20-35)
Solomon is warning his son about actions, behaviors, and attitudes that will only end badly, and he instructs his son on how to steer clear of such problems.
In verses 1-5, Solomon warns his son about making hasty promises or financial pledges to others. Solomon knew his son would make good on his word if he made a business deal. Solomon also knew that there are con artists that prey on the unsuspecting (often young) and get them to make promises and cover debts for them. Solomon’s warning is not about ignoring the plight of others, but making sure that his son knows the other person and their situation really well before making any promises on their behalf. Solomon’s advice to his son if he gets caught in a bad deal? Go immediately and do everything he can to remove himself from the deal.
Solomon teaches his son about the value of hard work, and the results of laziness (vv. 6-11). Solomon’s example is not other kings or world leaders, but the humble ant. Solomon’s point is that time and timing is all important – that there is a season for gathering (harvest), and a season when harvest will not be possible. Even the ants know this without a leader to tell them.
Solomon then contrasts the laziness of the sluggard (vv. 6-11) with the constant action of the wicked person (vv. 12-15). Solomon identifies several actions that involve the whole body (mouth, eyes, feet, fingers). Solomon identifies the source of all these actions – the heart (v. 14). Solomon tells his son that it may look good for a little while, but in the end, the wicked person will ultimately come to ruin (v. 15).
In verses 16-19, Solomon repeats the same list of actions and attitudes as in verses 12-15, but tells us that the Lord hates these attitudes and actions. No doubt Solomon taught his children a very high view of and reverence for God. Just in case his children didn’t understand, or if they thought that God was like them, Solomon lets them know how God sees and feels about these sinful attitudes and actions.
Solomon revisits the sin of adultery again in verses 20-35. We’re only is chapter 6 (not even 20 percent of the way through the book of Proverbs), but yet, Solomon has brought this subject up several times. Why is that?
There are several likely reasons – 1) that this is a common temptation for young men, and 2) he knows from his own family the devastating effects of adultery from his grandfather David’s life. Solomon even compares adultery with stealing, and says that there is an excuse (even through a bad one at that) for feeding one’s family, but there is no excuse for adultery. Solomon points out that there is a remedy for stealing (repayment of 7x), but there is no remedy for adultery.
Solomon packs in a ton of instruction today – may you find encouragement and direction by walking more closely with the Lord and avoiding sin as you consider Solomon’s wise advice today.