The author of Proverbs here provides wisdom to the context marriage. Particularly to the prevention and ramifications of adultery.
v20-24 – bind wisdom to your heart
The author begins with the reminder to hold onto the wisdom of those who have come before us. Listen to our fathers and mothers teaching and commands. This includes people who have fulfilled father and mother roles in our lives, those we look up to. The wisdom that has come before us is a light to us, it corrects our ways, instructs our path. We need to hold onto the truths of those who have come before us and if we do then we are kept from the possibility of adultery.
v25-26 – eyes window to the heart
The author here provides two circumstances to avoid. To avoid these two things to avoid heading down the path of adultery. Adultery does not begin in the act but begins in the heart and eyes of a spouse long before the act occurs. Opening the heart to lust over someone with our hearts sets us on a track that leads down the wrong path. To lust is to over desire or to wrongly desire something. You can list over objects, things, and people. Using these things for your own purposes.
The eyes are also a window to the heart and what our hearts long for. What we look at fills our longings, our desires, our longings. Its not just what we see but what captivates our attention. Giving attention to something gives it a place in our live. If we let another captivate our hearts we are giving that thing a power of us. Putting it in a place of strong desire. To give another the captivation of our eyes sends us on a path that can lead to treacherous places.
We must be careful what we lust over and what captivates our eyes.
The result of lusting over another or captivating our eyes and our heart has an affect on our lives. It isn’t an action that can be done and ignored. It is one that eats at the soul and weighs down on us.
v27-29 – adultery only leads to punishment
There is an inevitability to being punished for adultery. It can’t be avoided. It is like playing with fire and the result is that you are burned. Such is the relational devastation of adultery. It may be hidden but the damage and the resulting punishment cannot be avoided. It cannot be hidden forever.
v30-33 – A man who commits adultery destroys himself
The result of adultery is disgrace and shame. The very idea that people have of them is destroyed. The pursuit of pleasure in in adultery does not lead to success and glory but to the individual being destroyed.
v34-35 – No mercy in response to adultery
Adultery brings such damage to a relationship that it is hard to imagine any other response but anger, fury, and the desire for revenge. An injustice has been done, a promise broken and pain caused on a number of levels. Adulterys cost and damage is high.
God the faithful husband to Israel the adulteress wife
In the Hosea we see that all the damage done by adultery is true of God’s people. God the husband remains faithful despite the adultery and insult of his people. Ultimately, we see the ultimate husband lay down his life for his bride the church despite the unfaithfulness of Gods people.
Adultery is the ultimate betrayal of a promise and reveals to us the hurt that is caused to God by humanity in their betrayal of him as creator and Lord. Yet in the midst of that we see his love overwhelm the betrayal.