The proverb of the adulteress was given by King Solomon to his son. It showed an older and perhaps wiser Solomon than the exuberant Lover in Song of Songs. In this proverb, Solomon addressed his son. He described looking through the lattice of a window and seeing a young man who lacked judgment. In the twilight of the day, the youth walked in the direction of the adulteress’ house. The woman came out to meet the youth. She was dressed like a prostitute; e.g., provocative, revealing. In the street, the woman took hold of the young man and kissed him on the face.
Unashamedly, the adulteress invited the young man to her home for a sumptuous meal and to spend the night making love with her. Enticingly, she described her bed as covered with linens from Egypt and perfumed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Possibly to reassure the youth that they will not be disturbed, she declared that her husband was not at home. He was on a long journey with a purse full of money. With persuasive and seductive words, the adulteress led the young man astray. He followed her like an ox going to the slaughter.
Solomon concluded this proverb to his son by telling his son not to let his heart turn toward an adulteress or stray into her paths. The adulteress has brought many victims down and killed a mighty throng. Solomon’s final warning was “her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death” (Proverbs 7:27).
Aloes are associated with both beauty and with aphrodisiacs. An aphrodisiac is a substance, e.g., drink, smell, or food, which is believed to arouse sexual desire or pleasure. As a young woman, I imagined creating a home for my husband that invited love and sexual desire. Our home would be filled with pleasant aromas from fragrant candles and simmering potpourri. Bed linens would be kept in a closet with pleasantly perfumed sachets that would imbue the linens with their fragrance. Hmmm, I learned quickly that my husband became “stuffed up” by the perfumed air in the house and on the bed linens. Those fragrances did not arouse him to love and sexual desire, but to sneezing and coughing.
To my husband, an a symbol of love is something different. His point of view can best be described by a story. We were newly engaged and my birthday arrived. I was excited to see what Bruce would get me. Would it be flowers or a floral perfume which I loved? He came into the house with a beautifully wrapped box that was about 5 inches by 18 inches. What could it be? As quickly as possible while still trying to be graceful, I removed the ribbon and paper and opened the box. It was… it was…. it was a fishing rod and reel!
Bruce was so excited. Immediately, he showed me how to put the rod together, admiring its tensile strength. He talked about the fishing trips we could take. But, I did not fish!
Over the years, I have learned to love fishing and I still have that fishing rod. To Bruce seeing me wading streams, casting a line, and occasionally pulling in a fish is an aphrodisiac. He gets so excited by taking me fishing that sometimes he doesn’t even fish. He stays available in the event I lose my fly or get my line tangled.
Reflection: Excitement and stimulation come in many ways. Hopefully, starry-eyed young women grow into mature, loving wives.
Copyright: Carolyn A. Roth, 8/24/21