The Harlot of Proverbs 7
Written by Jay Yeager
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 16:14

The Harlot of Proverbs 7

     When we think of a harlot there are a lot of terms that would apply: “A woman of ill repute”, “A woman of the night”, “A prostitute”, A whore” et al. Yet there are occasions in the Bible when a harlot is viewed somewhat differently, and for a reason.

One who played a harlot

     Tamar was married to Er, the son of Judah, and Er was wicked in the sight of the Lord and died because of it (Genesis 38:6-7). Judah said unto his son Onan, go unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother, insuring the continued posterity of his family. Later, it would become a part of the law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).

     Onan knew that the seed would not be his, and he did not want to raise up seed to his brother, so he spilled his seed upon the ground. “And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also” (Genesis 38:10).

     Judah tells to his daughter-in-law to remain a widow in her father’s house until Shelah is grown, and Tamar does so. In the process of time Judah’s wife dies, and Judah goes up to Timnath to shear sheep. Tamar is aware of it, as well as the fact that Shelah is grown and has not been given to her. Taking off the clothes of a widow and covering her face, she sits in the way.

     Judah seeing her, assumes she is a harlot because her face is covered, and bargains with her for her favors. A kid of goats from the flock is the price agreed upon, and a pledge is given until the kid is delivered; namely, a signet, bracelets and a staff. The terms agreed to, the encounter is consummated.

     Tamar then lays aside the vail and once more dons the garments of a widow. Judah seeks the woman to pay his debt, but she cannot be found. Three months go by and Judah is told “…Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the part of a harlot; and also, behold she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said bring her forth, and let her be burnt” (Genesis 38:24).

     I guess what is good for the goose is not so good for the gander. Both Judah and Tamar had lost their mates, and Judah sees nothing wrong with his actions, but is murderous toward his daughter in law for doing the same thing. Why are women held to a higher standard than men?

     Even in John 8:1-11, where a woman is brought before Jesus for adultery, caught in the very act claimed her accusers. Well, if that was true, why was the man not brought with her? They said unto Jesus, the law requires those guilty of adultery should be stoned, and it does (Leviticus 20:10). Both parties are to be stoned!

     But the scribes and the Pharisees only brought the woman. I recognize that this is a trap to harm Jesus no matter how he answers. If Jesus said yes to the stoning, it would have put him at odds with the Roman government, which forbids the Jews to carry out capital punishment. If Jesus said no to the stoning, it would have put him at odds with the Law of Moses.

     Nevertheless, the double standard is glaringly obvious. Listen folks, responsibility for being moral lies equally between the man and the woman.


     “When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, by this man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet and bracelets and staff. And Judah acknowledges them, and said, she hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son” (Genesis 38:25-26).

     Tamar played the part of a harlot to get justice for the lineage of Er. From that union came twins, one of them was Pharez, who is in the lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ruth 4:18-22; Matthew 1:3).

A harlot guided by faith

     As Israel approaches the city of Jericho, a walled city, two spies were sent out secretly to spy out the land. The two spies went to the house of Rahab the harlot and lodged there (Joshua 2:1). When the king of Jericho learned who was at Rahab’s house, and surmises why they were there, he sent word to Rahab to bring them forth.

     It would have been very easy for Rahab to turn the spies over to the king; certainly it would have been safer, for the moment. Friends, listen please, Rahab for one reason or another had taken a morally wrong turn, but she knew there was a God in heaven, and that God was watching over the nation of Israel, and she tells the two spies exactly that. We know what God has done for your benefit (Joshua 2:10).

     Further, she makes this heart felt statement. “And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11). Rahab hid the spies because she knew that they served the true and living God!

     In light of the fact that she showed them a kindness, Rahab asked that they likewise show her a kindness; namely, that they will protect her father’s house, and give her a token: that you will save alive my father, and my mother, my brothers and sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death (Joshua 2:12-13). A scarlet thread was to hang in the window, a sign to God’s people that her house was to be spared, and they were (Joshua 2:18; 6:17; 22-25).

     Rahab’s faith in the God of heaven brought about a number of things:

  1. Her family was spared.
  2. She married Salmon which placed her in the lineage of Christ (Matthew 1:5).
  3. She is listed in the faith chapter with this Divine comment: “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31).

A harlot with no redeeming qualities

     The harlot of Proverbs 7 lives for the moment; her actions are geared toward fleshly gratification. She is wanton and does not care who gets hurt in the process, like those of Psalms 10:4. God is not in all her thoughts.

     The warning bell sounds, “Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Say unto wisdom, thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinsmen” (Proverbs 7:2; 4). In short, treat wisdom and understanding as precious to the protection of your soul. “That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words” (Proverbs 7:5).

     Proverbs 9:1 says this, “Wisdom hath built her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars”. In James 3:17, in contrast to wisdom of this world, that is earthly, sensual, devilish (James 3:14-16). The wisdom that is from above is spoken of as having seven characteristics (seven pillars?):

  1. First pure (free from any and all tampering of men).
  2. Then peaceable (it must be in that order, first pure, uncorrupted, then peaceable).
  3. Gentle (fair).
  4. Easy to be entreated.
  5. Full of mercy and good fruits.
  6. Without partiality (no uncertainty).
  7. Without hypocrisy (no pretence).

     Can man understand the wisdom that cometh down from above? Yes! Listen to Job 32:8, “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding”

     The harlot’s activities are observed, through the window of his house, through the lattice he sees the simple ones, among them a young man void of understanding. “Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house” (Proverbs 7:8). Simple ones, void of understanding are blind to where they are going. Where will this end? They never seem to ask!

     This young man does not appear to be seeking mischief in light of the pressure the harlot applies to get him to succumb to her wiles. But that is where he will end up, in the web spun by an immoral woman. Beloved, evil preys upon the innocent, the naïve, simple, void of understanding? Those are the very ones they seek to exploit.

     There may be times when there is bliss in ignorance, but NEVER in matters pertaining to the soul. No doubt hell will be populated in part, by those who drift through life, never considering their end. Simple ones, void of understanding, just assuming all is well with their soul, until suddenly, the end comes, and there is no escape (Matthew 24:37-39; II Thessalonians 1:8-9; Revelation 6:15-17).

     “In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night” (Proverbs 7:9). Harlots come out at night, they play in darkness, they wait for the twilight. Darkness is their friend, light is their enemy, for light exposes their wickedness; therefore, they hate the light (John 3:19-20). Like the drunkard that is drunk in the night, the harlot comes out at night to practice her trade under the cover of darkness (I Thessalonians 5:7).

     “And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. She is loud and stubborn (willful) her feet abideth not in her house” (Proverbs 7:10-11). She goes forth to bring about an encounter. She seeks him out, her feet abideth not in her house. This woman is clothed with the attire of a harlot. Be sure of this, God’s instruction on modesty would not enter into the thinking of a harlot (I Timothy 2:9-10; I Peter 3:3). She would wear attire that would be provocative and alluring.

     She is loud and willful. This young man, who is simple and void of understanding, is met by a woman skilled in the lust of the flesh. She caught him and kissed him. In times gone by, at the house of Potiphar, a young man named Joseph faced a similar temptation, and he ran from it. With every temptation God provides an escape that we may be able to bear it (I Corinthians 10:13).

     The harlot with an impudent (shameless, bold, insolent – Webster’s New World Dictionary) face begins her seduction. And this young man (simple and void of understanding) does not flee; he listens to her flattering words. “For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil” (Proverbs 5:3)

     “Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee” (Proverbs 7:15). She wants this young man to believe that it was him, and only him, that she was seeking to find.

      I have my peace offerings with me, beloved; there is nothing religious about this encounter at all. When a peace offering was given, a part of the meat was allowed to be taken home (Leviticus 3:1-5), suggesting that there will be a meal for just the two of them. But her mind is not on food, not at all, that is why the emphasis is upon the bed, how beautiful and scented it is (Proverbs 7:16-17).

     This young man may be simple and void of understanding, but he must realize how wrong and dangerous this may be, for this wicked woman is working to break down his resistance and reassure his fears.

     “Come, let us take our fill of love until morning: let us solace ourselves with loves” (Proverbs 7:18). She promises a night of pleasure, but she hides where she is, and where she is taking him. “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth” (I Timothy 5:6). Sin kills, and it is a journey this young man is about to take. “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 1:14-15).

     The harlot has planned well. The man of the house is not at home, he is gone on a long journey, and with plenty of money, he will not come home until the full moon (Proverbs 7:19). “With her much fair speech she causes him to yield, with the flattery of her lips she forces him. He goeth after her straight-way as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks” (Proverbs 7:21-22).

     Solomon ends where he stated, with a stern warning. “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 7:26-27).

     The harlot of Proverbs 7 and her like are in every community across our nation. In our day she parades herself across the airwaves through television and internet. She needs no invitation to enter your home; you can see her with the push of a button. But it does take wisdom and understanding to keep her out of our lives!

     Her ways are the ways of death. Brethren, let’s refuse to get on the devil’s slide. May God bless us to that end!

Jay Yeager