Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament poetic book of Proverbs which was written by Solomon the son of David and king of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters seven through nine of this Old Testament book. A CONTRAST IN WOMEN! THE WAYWARD WOMAN! WISDOM AS A WOMAN! A CHOICE BETWEEN AFFECTIONS! A CHOICE BETWEEN LOVE! WHO’S CALL WILL YOU RECEIVE AND ACCEPT? WHOSE CALL WILL YOU LISTEN TO AND ANSWER? THE WOMAN IN THE STREETS, THE WOMAN IN HIGH PLACES! When you come to this particular section of Scripture you will first and foremost encounter and come face to face with a stark contrast between two different types of women and essentially two different women who both had a voice, who both extended an invitation, and who both attempted to draw others unto themselves. You cannot read the seventh and eighth chapters of this Old Testament poetic book without coming face to face with the wayward woman who attempts to lure away the simple ones in her snares and traps of deceit, love, passion, adultery and fornication. I can’t hep but read the words which are written and recorded within these chapters and find myself thinking about how drastically different these two women are, and how the one seeks to draw away and lure those who are simple, while the other seeks to attract and invite those who are wise. There is a voice, there is a cry , there is an invitation that attracts the simple and the foolish, while there is another invitation that attracts the wise, those with understanding, the discerning, and those with knowledge. The more I think about and the more I consider this reality the more I can’t help but find myself considering the fact that it is possible to be wise and to possess wisdom within the depths of our being, and yet be absolutely foolish when it comes to certain areas of our lives. What’s more, is that it is entirely and altogether possible to possess strength—even supernatural strength given us by the person and presence of the Holy Spirit—and yet be extremely and incredibly weak when it comes to certain areas within our lives. If and as you study Scripture you will find that Solomon was the wisest man within his generation, and quite possibly the wisest man who ever lived, and yet when it came to women he was completely, absolutely and utterly foolish. What’s more, is that when you consider Samson who was not only ordained and chosen before his birth to be a Nazareth and begin the deliverance of God’s people, but was also endowed with supernatural strength from the Holy Spirit, you will find that he was strong physically, however, he was weak when it came to women whom he gave himself to in love.
I am convinced that in order to consider the words which are found within the seventh and eighth chapters of the Old Testament poetic book of Proverbs it is absolutely necessary to consider the lives of these two men, for both men were given extraordinary gifts from the living and eternal God, and both men were used mightily within their generation, and yet when it came towards the latter portion of their years we find one man blind and grinding in the mill among the Philistines, and we find another man looking back over it all and declaring that everything was vanity. We cannot miss the narratives of these two men, for both were given an incredible gift from the throne of the living God, and yet both of them had that one thing which they struggled with—that one thing which seemed to lay hold of them and had a choke hold on their heart, on their mind, and even their soul. For both of these men there was one thing—one area within their life where they allowed themselves to be ensnared and taken captive before and in the sight of the living God. Before I even delve into the narratives of these two men I feel it absolutely necessary to present you with and draw your attention to three distinct passages which are found within the New Testament. If you journey to the New Testament epistle which was written by the apostle James, the second epistle which was written by the apostle Paul unto his spiritual son Timothy, as well as the words which are found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews you will find some incredibly powerful warnings and words of caution given unto the saints and people of God. As you prepare to consider the narratives of the lives of Solomon and Samson I firmly believe you must first consider the following words which are presented before us within Scripture:
“Wherefore seeing we also are compasses about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him” (Hebrews 12:1-5).
“Let not man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:13-15).
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and ye shall lift you up” (James 4:1-10).
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit unto faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet he is not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partakers of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the LORD give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel” (2 Timothy 2:1-8).
“I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1 John 2:14-19).
It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we pay close attention to the words which are found within these passages of Scripture, for what we find within them is a powerful message—not only concerning lust and temptation, but also concerning that sin which so easily entangles and ensnares, as well those who war do not and should not entangle themselves with the affairs of this life. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are written and contained within these passages, for the words which are found and contained therein bring us face to face with the tremendous need for us as the people of God to diligently care for the condition of our heart, the condition of our soul, the condition of our mind, and even what we do with our physical bodies within and upon the earth. With this being said, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the first and second epistles which was sent unto the Corinthian saints and believers. Consider if you will the following words which are found within these two epistles in the sixth chapters of both:
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).
“Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? OR what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive. You, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Within both of these passages and within both epistles which were written unto the Corinthian saints, the apostle Paul sought to bring them to the point and place where they recognized and understood that they were the temple of the Holy Ghost—not only individually, but also collectively and corporately. The apostle Paul sought to remind the Corinthian saints that they belonged to Christ and that they were no longer their own, but were bought with a price by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. What makes this truly interesting is when you think about and consider the fact that in the first epistle which was written unto the Corinthian saints the apostle Paul very powerfully and pointedly declared that those who join themselves to a harlot is one body. What’s more, is the apostle Paul would also go on to instruct them to flee fornication, and that those who commit fornication commit con against their own body. The apostle Paul was very clear about our bodies being the temple of the Holy Ghost, and that we are responsible for what is committed with and within the body. We are responsible for what we do with our bodies, and whatever we do with our bodies we must recognize and understand that we are indeed and are in fact the temple of the Holy Spirit. Though Solomon and Samson both existed during the days of the Old Covenant we must recognize that Samson was endued and literally clothed with the person and presence of the Holy Spirit, while Solomon literally possessed and was given the wisdom of the living and eternal God. Their narratives take on a whole new meaning when you consider the fact that Solomon was given wisdom, knowledge, understanding, discretion and discernment from the LORD and possessed supernatural wisdom beyond anything he could have thought or imagined. Samson was literally clothed with the person of the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit came and rested upon him that he might deliver the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. Samson would essentially be the tip of the spear of the deliverance the LORD would bring the children of Israel from the Philistines who began oppressing them during the days of Jephthah. With this in mind, I invite you to consider the narratives of these two men and that one thing—that one area—within their lives which was a snare, a trap, and struggle for them:
“But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon’s ent after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after MIlcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is one of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant, and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen” (1 Kings 11:1-13).
“And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well. But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel. Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done. And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well” (Judges 14:1–6).
“Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her. And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compasses him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him. And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron” (Judges 16:1-3).
“And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every. One of us eleven hundred pieces of silver. And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee. And Samson said unto her, If thy bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak and be as another man. Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now there men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it touché the the fire. So his strength was not known. And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thy bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him there with, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them off from his arms like a thread. And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weakest the seven locks of my head with the web. And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web. And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? Thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; that he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a rasor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazareth unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. And she said the Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him. But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven” (Judges 16:4-22).
As you read the narratives of these two men you will find and discover that one—despite his great wisdom given him by God—allowed himself to become foolish when it came to women, while the other—despite the person and presence of the Holy Spirit upon him—allowed himself to be weak when it came to women. What’s more, is that in the case of Solomon we find his wives turning his heart away from walking with and serving the LORD as his father David did. Moreover—not only did Solomon’s wives turn his heart away from serving the LORD, but they also turned his heart away unto false and strange gods. As a direct result of this, Solomon allowed himself to become engaged and entangled in idolatry in the midst of the nation and kingdom of Israel. This one whom the LORD had appeared to twice during the night, and this same one who had overseen the construction of the Temple of the LORD had allowed himself to build high places for the false gods of the nations round about the nation and kingdom of Israel. When you consider Samson, you will find that Delilah not only continually and repeatedly sought to discover and uncover the secret of his strength that he might be afflicted and subdued by the Philistines, but she also repeatedly set traps and ambushes for him that he might taken by his enemies and adversaries, and that her own purse might be lined with silver, and her wardrobe lined with garments. What’s more, is Delilah would continue to press Samson day after day with her nagging and incessant badgering, and brought him almost to the point of death with her continued pressing and hounding. It’s important for us to consider this—at least on the surface right now, for what I would like to draw and call your attention to now are the words which Solomon himself wrote concerning the wayward woman, concerning the strange woman, and concerning the woman who not only flatters with her lips, but also lays traps and snares for others. Consider if you will the following words which are found within this poetic book concerning this strange and wayward woman who seeks to entice, lure and draw away the strong ones, as well as the wise ones:
“…to deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice to do evil, and who delight in the forwardness of the wicked; whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: to deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth. Unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life” (Proverbs 3:12-19).
“My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: that thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:: but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them. Heard me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not form the words of my mouth. Remove thy way far from her, and come not night the door of her house: lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger; and thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, and say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly” (Proverbs 5:1-14).
“My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and a reproofs of instruction are the way of life: to keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbor’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; but if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. But whoso committeth adulter with a women lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyer he his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou gavest many gifts” (Proverbs 6:20-35).
“My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon he table of thine heart. Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: that they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words. For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, and beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: and, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my bows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have performed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: he hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightaway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death” (Proverbs 7:1-27).
THE INVITATION OF TWO HOUSES! THE HOUSE OF THE STRANGE WOMAN! THE HOUSE THAG WISDOM BUILT! WHICH HOUSE WOULD YOU DWELL IN? WHICH HOUSE WILL YOU MAKE YOUR ABODE? HER HOUSE INCLINETH UNTO DEATH! AND HER PATHS UNTO THE DEAD! NONE THAT GO UNTO HER RETURN AGAIN! NEITHER TAKE THEY HOLD THE PATHS OF LIFE! HER FEET GO DOWN TO DEATH! HER STEPS TAKE HOLD ON HELL! LEST THOU GIVE THINE HONOUR TO OTHERS! AND THY YEARS UNTO THE CRUEL! LEST STRANGERS BE FILLED WITH THY WEALTH! AND THY LABOURS BE IN THE HOUSE OF A STRANGER! AND THOU MOURN AT THE LAST WHEN THY FLESH AND THY BODY BE CONSUMED! A MAN IS BROUGHT TO A PIECE OF BREAD! AND THE ADULTERESS WILL HUNT FOR THE PRECIOUS LIFE! HER FEET ABIDE NOT IN HER HOUSE! If you continue reading the words which are found within the Old Testament poetic book of the Proverbs you will not only find Solomon speaking unto his son concerning avoiding the way, the path, the corner and the house of the strange woman, but you will also find Solomon providing very specific warnings concerning the dangers that await those simple ones who allow themselves to become ensnared in the lies, the deceit, the treachery, the adultery, the immorality and the fornication that surrounds the strange woman. Solomon was very clear and very specific with his son concerning the strange woman and held no punches and wasted no time in warning him of the dangers, the snares, the traps and the pitfalls of allowing himself to be enraptured and captivated with and by this woman. What we must recognize and understand is that Solomon himself was no stranger nor foreigner to misguided love and unbridled lust. Solomon himself knew and understood what it was like to open his heart to love for strange and foreign women, as Scripture plainly reveals how he clave unto such women with love. In all reality, I would dare say that Solomon held fast to such women with such fervent and intense love, and his heart was completely and utterly consumed with both love and lust toward many strange women. Scripture makes it very clear that Solomon clave to.many strange women in love, and we would be foolish and deceive ourselves to not think that there was an element of lust that surrounded his pursuit of such women. We would be incredibly naïve and foolish to think—even for a moment—that Solomon did not engage himself in lust, and did not engage himself in unbridled passion with foreign women from the nations of which the LORD through His servant Moses had commanded the children of Israel not to.
If there is one thing that’s incredibly interesting concerning the narrative of the kings of Israel and Judah, it’s that we speak of Ahab marrying Jezebel the daughter of Ethball king of the Zidonians, and we might even speak of Jehoshaphat’s son marrying the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, and yet we must realize and recognize that Solomon was the first king to take a foreign and strange woman as his wife. What’s more, is that Solomon didn’t merely take a single woman from among those nations of which the LORD commanded the children of Israel not to give themselves in marriage, but Solomon took multiple women from the nations round about Israel. Scripture makes it very clear that Solomon had seven hundred wives and princesses, and three hundred concubines. This is something that is worth noting and considering, for we would like to think that idolatry among the kings which reigned in Israel and Judah began with kings which came after Solomon, and yet Solomon the son of David and king of Israel was the first king to sit upon the throne among God’s people who gave himself to idolatry and the worship of false and strange gods. In all reality, we must admit and acknowledge that Solomon himself was that king who had deliberately and intentionally given himself in love toward many strange and foreign women from among the nations of the earth—and not only gave himself in love for and toward them, but also had a harem of one thousand woman. The question I can’t help but wonder is how Solomon met these women from among the nations and peoples round about the nation and kingdom of Israel. We know from Scripture that there came from all the peoples of the earth those who sought to hear the wisdom which the LORD had given unto Solomon, and I can’t help but wonder if in the process of encountering all the women that came unto the Temple which he had built, as well as unto the throne of David upon which he sat he noticed countless women from among the nations, and engaged himself in adultery, in fornication, and in immorality with these women. We know from the Old Testament book of First Samuel that the sons of Eli the high priest—Hophni and Phineas—engaged in sexual immorality, adultery and fornication with the women who came unto the Tabernacle of the congregation among the people of God, so I would be incredible naïve to think and consider that it was not entirely and altogether impossible for Solomon to view and look upon the women that journeyed unto Jerusalem from the surrounding nations and peoples, and engaged himself in sexual immorality, adultery and fornication with them.
Stop and think about this reality for a moment, for here we have men and women from among the nations round about the nation and kingdom of Israel coming unto Jerusalem and unto the Temple of Solomon and unto the throne of David to hear the wisdom which the LORD had given unto Solomon, and yet in the process of coming unto Jerusalem to hear this wisdom Solomon would look upon such women with lust and would eventually and ultimately allow himself to cleave unto them in love. We know for a fact that Solomon built a house in Jerusalem for the daughter of Pharaoh, however, we are given no indication that he built houses for all his wives, and for all his concubines. Is it possible that Solomon had a central place where his wives and concubines could dwell, or is it possible that these women from the nations round about the nation of Israel were a part of Solomon’s harem, and he would engage in sexual immorality, fornication and adultery with them when they came unto Jerusalem? Is it possible that these women would make the journey from their homes within and among the nations of the earth, and upon coming to Jerusalem they would do more than come unto the Temple of the LORD, and would do more than come unto the throne of David for to hear the wisdom which the LORD had given unto Solomon? Is it possible that these women would come unto Jerusalem to visit with Solomon on a more personal, private and intimate matter? It is entirely and altogether possible that Solomon would and could have allowed himself to engage in sexual immorality, adultery and fornication with countless women which came unto Jerusalem—perhaps initially to hear the wisdom which the LORD had given Solomon, and perhaps initially to come unto the Temple of the LORD which Solomon had built. We don’t know if any of these women would remain and abide in the city of Jerusalem, or if they would return home after spending time with Solomon. Scripture is entirely and altogether clear where these women would have stayed upon coming to Jerusalem, and whether or not Solomon would make room and space for them within the city of the great King and the city which the LORD had chosen, and which the LORD had placed His name.
What is truly interesting and worth considering is the narratives of Solomon and Samson clearly indicate that they pursue women from among the nations which the LORD God commanded and instructed the children of Israel not to give themselves in marriage to. What’s more, is that you will find that these women were single-handily responsible for bringing about the devastation and destruction of both of these men. Solomon who was given wisdom from the LORD, and Samson who was clothed and endowed with the person, the power and presence of the Holy Spirit would both allow themselves to be absolutely and completely consumed with their lust and desire for women. It would be this love and this lust for such women that would ultimately lead to and bring about their demise and destruction, as we would find Delilah being the one who was single handily and solely responsible for the demise and destruction of Samson as she would be the one who was responsible for the strength of the LORD within and upon his life to be removed. What’s more, is that Delilah would single-handily be responsible for the Spirit of the sovereign LORD departing from Samson, and Scripture actually reveals how Samson though he would rise up and overthrow the Philistines as he had previously, and he did not know that the Spirit of the LORD had departed from him. What a tremendously tragic statement this truly is when you think about and consider the narrative of Samson, for not only do we find the strength of the LORD departing from him, but we also find the Spirit of the LORD—that same Spirit which had come upon him many times before—departing from him. When Samson awoke from the sleep Delilah lulled him into, he not only awoke with the symbol of his vow, his commitment and separation before the LORD being gone, but he also awoke not knowing that the Spirit of the LORD had departed from him. Samson had revealed the secret of his strength unto Delilah, and when Delilah realized that he had told her the entire truth, she proceeded to shave off the seven locks of his hair while he slept upon her lap. If there is one thing we need to realize about Delilah, it’s that not only did she persistently and incessantly nag Samson to the point of death, but she also lulled him to sleep upon her lap. Delilah continually and repeatedly sought after the secret of the strength of Samson that she might exploit it, and what I don’t understand is why and how Samson did not realize what was taking place, and the countless traps that were set for him. Scripture makes it very clear that there were countless traps which Delilah had set for Samson—traps which he would of course break free from, but there would be that one trap which Samson would not be able to escape from.
THERE IS ALWAYS THAT ONE TRAP! THERE IS ALWAYS THAT ONE TRAP WHICH YOU FIND YOURSELF BEING UNABLE TO ESCAPE! THE TRAPS WHICH HAVE BEEN LAID FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD TO UNCOVER THE SECRET OF THEIR STRENGTH! When I consider the narrative of Samson and Delilah, I can’t help but first encounter the fact that Delilah was actually bought and paid for by promises made to her by the Philistines. The Philistines promised Delilah silver and raiment of clothing, and it would be this promise made unto her that would give her all she needed to attempt to uncover the secret of the strength of Samson. The narrative of Samson is one that is truly remarkable and astounding when you take the time to think about it, for the narrative of this great judge of Israel would not only contain three separate accounts of traps which Delilah had set for Samuel, but we also read in Scripture that Delilah had set up ambushes for Samson within the very house itself. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that not only did Delilah set up traps for Samson, but she also set up ambushes within the house. Moreover, in each case we find Samson being lulled to sleep, and in the midst of his sleep he would be awakened by Delilah who would say that the Philistines were upon him. In each of these three cases Samson would awake from his sleep, would break free from the trap which Delilah had set for him, and would overthrow the ambush that had been lying in wait for him. Oh we dare not miss and lose sight of this, for the traps, the ambushes, and the slumber were all carefully crafted within the house in which Samson had slept. THE TRAP, THE AMBUSH, THE SLUMBER! As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about the fact in an effort to uncover the secret of our strength the enemy and adversary can and will set traps, place ambushes, and lull us into sleep and slumber within our own home, and it is while we are sleeping the enemy and adversary will attempt to spring the trap by setting the ambush against us. We know from Samson’s story that the three traps and ambushes Delilah had set for him would not succeed and would fail as he had not revealed the secret of his strength. After these three failed attempts, however, we find Delilah pressuring and incessantly nagging Samson daily in order to uncover the secret of his strength. This is something we must realize and understand, for eventually Delilah would learn the secret of Samson’s strength and would first lull him to sleep, would then have the seven locks of his hair shaven while he was sleeping, and would have a fourth and final trap and ambush ready and waiting to capture Samson—and not only capture Samson, but also to gouge out his eyes, and force him to grind within the prison house.
The narrative of Samson and the revelation of the secret of his strength is one which we must consider when we think about and consider the strange woman, for there is not a doubt in my mind that despite the fact that Samson loved Delilah, this woman was a strange woman who would be bought by Samson’s enemies and adversaries. Samson’s enemies and adversaries would use this woman within the life of Samson to set countless traps and ambushes for him, and although Samson would break free from the first three traps and snares which were set for him, and although he would overthrow the first three ambushes set against him, there would be that fourth trap and snare which he would not escape from. Scripture makes it very clear that this fourth scenario would include Samson’s once more being lulled to sleep, Samson’s consecration and separation before and unto the LORD being removed, the person, the presence and power of the Spirit departing from him, and the trap being sprung as Delilah would once more awake Samson from his slumber by declaring that the Philistines were upon him. Samson awoke from his slumber and thought that he would overthrow them as he had previously done, however, he did know, nor was he aware of the fact that the Spirit of the LORD had departed from him. Ultimately Samson would be captured and seized by the Philistines, would have his eyes gouged out, and would be forced to grind in the prison house. Oh dear reader please don’t miss and lose sight of this reality, for it was Samson’s love for women that would ultimately lead to his demise—and not merely his love for women, but his love for strange and foreign women. It would be Samson’s love for Philistine women that would eventually lead to his undoing as Delilah would be the one who would uncover the secret of his strength, would exploit the secret of that strength by destroying his consecration and separation before the LORD, and would spring a fourth and final trap that would ultimately lead to the capture and demise of Samson. We know that Samson’s hair would begin to grow back, and we know that in his last and final breaths he would destroy more Philistines in his death than he would with and during his life, however, we must understand that Samson had exposed and opened himself up to Delilah in a way that would not only cause the power and presence of the Spirit to depart from him, but would also cause the secret of his strength to be known. First came the revelation of the secret of his strength, then would come the exploiting of that strength by removing his consecration and separation before and unto the LORD, and then would come the departure of the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
When we think about and consider the narrative of Samson we must understand that his love for foreign women—specifically his love for Philistine women—would ultimately and eventually lead to his demise and destruction as not only would his consecration and separation before and unto the LORD be exposed and removed, but so also would the person and presence of the Holy Spirit depart from him. In the case of Solomon we find something a little different taking place, as Solomon allowed himself to cleave hard and fast to many strange and foreign women, and it would be these women who would turn his heart away from worshipping, serving, following and walking with the LORD his God as David his father had done. In the latter years of the life of Solomon we find his heart being turned away from the living God, and we find his heart being turned after the foreign and strange gods of the nations of which the LORD had commanded and spoken through His servant Moses not to worship, nor serve. In the case of Samson we find the secret of his strength being revealed, his consecration and separation before the LORD being exposed and removed, and we find the person and presence of the Spirit departing from him. In the case of Solomon, however, we find his heart being turned away and enticed away by his love for strange and foreign women, as his wives would turn his heart away from worshipping and serving the LORD God of Israel, and serving the false gods and idols of the nations round about Israel. Solomon—this same one whom the LORD had appeared to twice, and this same one who had overseen the construction and building of the Temple of the LORD in the midst of Jerusalem—would allow himself to build high places, altars and shrines for the false gods of the nations from which his wives were from. What’s more, is that during the days of Josiah we find reference to a place called “the mount of corruption,” which was a place Solomon had set up outside Jerusalem where he had built altars and a high places for the gods of the nations round about Israel. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this truly captivating and astounding reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the the tremendous danger that surrounded Solomon’s clearing to these strange and foreign women in love. Solomon’s love for strange and foreign women would ultimately lead to his own demise and his own devastation as his heart would be turned away from worshipping the LORD, as his heart would be turned away after false gods of the nations round about Israel, and as the LORD would speak directly unto Solomon and would chastise and judge him for the condition of his heart, and for his going after the false gods, idols and images of the nations round about Israel.
These two narratives are such that warrant strong and careful consideration, for when you read the words which are found within the Old Testament book of the Proverbs you will find Solomon warning against the strange woman, and warning against that woman who would entice, who would seduce, who would flatter, and who would tempt and lure away simple men into a web of lust, love, deceit, passion, and fornication—all the while these simple ones don’t know that they are being led like sheep to the slaughter. Solomon sought to warn his son against the same mistakes and the same pitfalls he himself made, and sought to warn his son about the dangers, the snares and the traps of the strange woman, for Solomon knew all too well that many simple ones and many strong ones have been led astray by strange and foreign women. It’s truly something worth noting and pointing out that Samson was the strongest man to ever live, and Solomon was the wisest man to ever live upon the earth, and yet strength could be undone by weakness with women, and wisdom could be undone with foolishness with women. In both cases of these men we find them being undone and unraveled by and because of their love for strange women, and essentially both of them would experience something that would be truly tragic given the nature of their mission, their assignment and their purpose in the midst of the earth. Samson was to being the deliverance of the people of God from the hand of the Philistines, and Solomon was to build the Temple of the LORD in the midst of Jerusalem. Both of these men, however, allowed themselves to be caught up and captured in their love and lust for foreign women, and it would be this love for foreign and strange women that would ultimately lead to their demise, their downfall, and their devastation. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly astonishing reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the great warnings Solomon presented in the Old Testament book of Proverbs. We know and understand from the Old Testament book of Proverbs that Solomon sought to not only warn his son against the strange and foreign woman, but Solomon also sought to warn his son against the path and the ways of the wicked. If and as you read the words which are found in the poetic book of the Proverbs you will find Solomon warning his son concerning the wayward woman and concerning wicked men that he might guard and protect him from making some of the same mistakes he had made.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to draw and call your attention to the two invitations which are found within the chapters which are before us. Upon reading chapters seven through nine you will essentially find a narrative of two women—both women who had a voice, both women who extended an invitation unto the simple ones. On the one hand we find a woman who sought to speak directly to the simple ones in order that she might seduce them unto their destruction, unto their demise, and unto complete and utter ruin. On the other hand, however, we find another woman whose voice, whose cry and whose invitation would be presented unto the simple ones that she might make them wise, that she might give them understanding, and they might walk with and walk before the LORD. The seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of the Proverbs reveals the strange women who seduced, enticed and lured a simple one who walked by her corner as she decked and adorned herself with the attire of a harlot. The eighth and ninth chapters of this Old Testament book, however, present an entirely different reality, for while there was a house in which the strange woman lived, there was also a house in which wisdom herself lived—a house which she invited the simple ones into that they might receive wisdom, that they might receive knowledge, that they might receive discretion, and that they might receive understanding. We have spent a considerable amount of time considering the strange woman and the danger, the devastation, the destruction and the demise that surrounds this woman, and it is now necessary to turn and direct our attention to the call, the cry, the message and the invitation of wisdom. Upon the conclusion of this writing I invite you to hear the words and the message which wisdom herself would speak unto the simple ones that she might invite them into a place of knowledge and understanding that they might ultimately walk in the ways of the LORD—walk in a manner that pleases, honors and glorifies the living and eternal God. Wisdom cries out in the streets, and wisdom cries out with a loud voice inviting all those who desire wisdom to come after and come unto her that they might receive and find that which they need to walk in the ways of the LORD, and to walk in a manner that pleases and honors the LORD. With this in mind I invite you to consider the words and message which wisdom spoke, as you must make a decision which voice and invitation you will hear and respond to, which woman you will go after, and which house you will dwell and abide in. Consider if you will the following words which are found within the eighth and ninth chapters of the Old Testament book of Proverbs:
“Doth not wisdom cry? And understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it” (Proverbs 8:1-11).
“Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: For blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul; all they that hate me love death” (Proverbs 8:32-36).
“Wisdom hath buildest her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: she hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased. If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it” (Proverbs 9:1-12).
The underlying question we must ask ourselves upon reading these chapters is which voice, which cry, which invitation are we going to hear and listen to. Both the strange woman, as well as wisdom cry out, and cry out in the streets, and both offer an invitation unto the simple ones. Both offer an invitation unto the simple ones, and yet each one promise and offer two entirely different things. Solomon sought to warn and caution his son against listening to the voice of the strange woman, and Solomon sought to warn his son against going after and following the strange and wayward woman, and sought to present himself with a different option and a different path. What we must realize and recognize is that the choice and the decision is ours which voice, which cry and which invitation we are going to hear and listen to. Wisdom calls out unto the simple ones and invites them to eat of her b read, and drink of the wine which she has mingled. Wisdom cries out unto the simple ones that they forsake the foolish that they might live, and go in the way of understanding. Wisdom emphatically declares that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and that the knowledge of the holy is understanding. Moreover, wisdom also promises that by her the days of those who seek after her shall be multiplied, and the years of their life would be increased. Wisdom emphatically declares that blessed are those who keep her ways, and those who watches daily at her gates, and watches at the posts of her doors. Those who find wisdom find life, and shall obtain favor of the LORD. Wisdom would even declare how it was better than rubies, and how all things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. Oh throughout Scripture we have been given the choice between life and death, between blessing and cursing, between the LORD and Baal, and now in the book of Proverbs we are given the choice between wisdom and foolishness. Oh that we would recognize and understand that the choice and the decision is ultimately up to us, and that we must indeed make our decision which voice, which cry and which invitation we are going to listen to, for whatever voice we choose to listen to, and whatever invitation we choose to heed, and whatever house we choose to listen to can and will either lead to life or unto destruction. The choice is ultimately yours, the choice is ultimately mind, and there is absolutely no one who is going to make the decision for us. Oh that we would this day make our final decision between wisdom and foolishness, between strength and weakness, and between the ways of the LORD and the ways of the wicked.