The writer now reintroduces the subject of folly and destructiveness of adultery. Following this introduction is a vivid description of a young man who is seduced by an unprincipled married woman, and the lesson is concluded with a familiar warning.
The page now comes alive with pictures of a night scene along a city street where he sees a meeting take place between a man’s wife and a simple, unexperienced youth. This young man may not be altogether innocent, as he is strolling towards the woman’s house. There he encounters the woman, the wife of an absent husband. It is the end of the day, that in-between time where there is both enough activity in the street to make the activity conspicuous and enough darkness to make it hard to identify the people involved. We see a fourfold description of the time of day: twilight, evening, night, and darkness. There is a progression of twilight to darkness. It is a dangerous time and the young man is allured and not equal to the task of resistance.
The woman who meets him is married but dressed as a harlot. There is no concern on the woman as she sees this meeting as not a coincidence. She has gone out into the street to find a young man to entice to her bedroom. Neither is this a onetime affair as she is “boisterous and bold.” She is not a stay at home wife but goes to the market place to find a young man. She is as a tigress that pounces upon the first young man that approaches her.
Her brazenness is expressed by her language in verse 13. She is not a bit coy but aggressive. She grabs the young man and begins to kiss him and he does not break away and run. Instead he listens to her invitation and in-between her kisses she makes an offer he is unable to refuse. She explains that she has a prepared meal waiting at her house. She says this is because she has been to the Lord’s house and made an offering. This meant that she had prepared meat which had to be consumed that day or the next to fulfill the vow of the sacrifice. She then addresses the natural urge of a young man, the desire for sexual gratification. She tells him of the allures of her bedroom and the perfume of her bed, and titillating him with thoughts of a night of exciting adventure. At last she tells of the safety and security of her place. Her husband is away on a lengthy trip and will not return until the full moon. She says that her husband took a bag of money which means he will be gone for a while.
Verse 21 shows that the young man puts up some resistance to her persuasion and compelling talk to go home with her. But his efforts are weak and lacking in fortitude and he follows her home. The teacher, who has been watching this street scene surely must have wanted to cry out to him but he probably concluded that it would have done no good. But the teacher’s heart is heavy knowing the consequences. In a threefold figure the writer spells out the tragic end of that night’s escapade. The young man is as an ox led to the slaughter, a stag caught in the trap that has his heart pierced by the hunter’s arrow, as a bird rushing to its destruction in the snare.
Now we conclude with an admonition. “And so, my sons,” the storyteller and teacher concludes, “listen.” He says to “stay away from such a temptress. Do not stray into her paths.” If we avoid the trouble we are less likely to fall into it. We are further warned that such a woman has more than just one lover on her string. She makes it her game to collect young men as trophies. She has made many a victim and supplanted a host of victims. At the end for the young men is death.