Modern-day pastors, teachers and prophets put way too much stock in the “education” they receive at the seminary.
Because of this misplaced confidence, they are loathed to explore (let alone teach) anything that deviates from the set paradigm, especially if it would throw shade on their professed faith.
No matter how much they profess to be “radical” or “cutting edge,” the cemetery graduates and their underlings have a vested interest in making sure that they stay with the formula.
This comes at a great cost to their listeners, for as long as the sheep continue to listen to the offspring of the church fathers, they will never digest anything more than what their feeders allow them to swallow.
One of the many teachings that have suffered at the hands of the seminary-indoctrinated is the teaching on the proverbial “strange woman.”
It’s Not a “Sex” Thing
The conventional teaching of the “strange woman” has always been taught as a warning for young men to stay away from prostitutes, adulterous women, porn and other temptations that would cause them to give in to lust.
This is all well and good, but confining the various passages in Proverbs 1 through 9 to a message on the evils of illicit sex misses the entire point of what Solomon was trying to get across.
In this series, you’re going to learn what is so “strange” about the “strange woman.”
I’m going to tell you upfront, she’s not just some horny wife out looking for an innocent young man.
During my entire church “career” (from age 2 to 36), I never once heard what I am about to teach spoken from the pulpit, and I think it’s pretty safe to say that none of you have, either. Even to the present day, as I turn 50, I have no knowledge of anyone teaching this.
I can’t understand why, other than the possibility that they are just so connected to traditional teaching that they can’t see it, or maybe they do see it and are too scared to say anything because it is quite disruptive to the whole of Christianity.
The Purpose of Proverbs
Before we get into this hot topic, we need to lay some groundwork.
The purpose of the entire book of Proverbs can be summed up in the first 6 verses of the first chapter.
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
(What’s the point of this book?)
To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
To the young man knowledge and discretion –
(What does Solomon hope to impart to the reader?)
A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
Notice the use of the words “know,” “perceive,” and “receive.”
Solomon is hoping that these Proverbs will not just provide you with a collection of quaint little sayings. No, there’s something WAY more valuable at stake here.
Solomon wants to re-shape your thinking.
He wants to provide a framework for those seeking to know “wisdom” in order to find “the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:1-5) so that they can discern the difference between the true wisdom of YHWH and the deception that other ungodly voices promote as “wisdom.”
Now, most people have no problem seeing and agreeing with this point of view, but they misunderstand the intended “framework” of Proverbs, treating it as a series of individual thoughts. As a result, they pick and choose what they feel pertains to them at the moment.
When they do this, they leave scriptural, textual and historical context in the dust. And the truth of the matter is that it’s easy for them to take this approach because this is how the pulpit trains them to read, study and absorb ALL scriptures.
You and I were among these trainees at one point, but hopefully, we can break free of this brainwashing.
Hopefully, this series will assist you in the process.
Antithetical Parallelism – the Proverbial Contrast
Proverbs is a book filled with antithetical parallelism, which is just a fancy-sounding name for an expression that conveys an idea using two contrasting statements . . . most of the time.
With only a few exceptions, when you read Proverbs 10-29, the “two-statement contrast” seems to be the standard form of expression.
A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother.
A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.
The surrounding chapters, (Proverbs 1 – 9 and 30 – 31) however, express things in a different manner.
Because of this difference in expression, it is relatively safe to cherry-pick among the parallelisms of Proverbs 10-29, but it is disastrous to do so in Proverbs 1-9.
You see, the antithetical parallelism in Proverbs is not confined to only chapters 10-29. In chapters 1-9 the same form of parallelism is occurring, only it is not expressed in the “two-statement contrast” that you see in chapters 10-29.
The passages in Proverbs 1-9 are comparing two contrasting ideas, but they are not confined to the two-statement construct.
Hopefully, that makes sense.
OK, enough of the grammar lesson. As a hick from the backwoods, I never did well with grammar in the first place.
Two Women . . . Two Messages
In this series, we are going to be studying Proverbs 1-9 as a continuous thought comparing two contrasting figures.
We will not be making the huge mistake of the generations before, treating this vital text as a hodgepodge of various and sundry ideas thrown together by whoever assembled them.
Don’t worry. This will make more and more sense as you follow along.
In these chapters, the writer addresses a contrast between two paths for those seeking wisdom and the knowledge of God. Either path you choose to traverse – and you WILL be walking one path or the other IF you’re seeking wisdom, there is no third option – requires you to listen to one of two messages:
- The message of “wisdom” (likened to a woman) ~ or ~
- The message of the “strange woman” (also likened to a woman).
As I look ahead, I can tell that there is a chance that I will spend more time talking about the strange woman than about wisdom. But this is NOT because the strange woman is more important than wisdom.
Obviously, wisdom is the most valuable thing we can attain!
It’s just that, in the past, the concept of the strange woman has been so misunderstood and misrepresented that I feel that she deserves a more accurate portrayal, hence the spotlight.
So, we’re going to take our time exploring these first 9 chapters. In doing so, we will all get a better understanding of the strange woman.
Why is she so seductive?
Why is she so dangerous?
Remember, this is not going to be a sex talk for young men. I think we can all agree that it’s a “no brainer” that young men (and women) should stay away from anything that causes them to be tempted sexually, so let’s just put that mindset on the back burner for now.
The Purpose of This Series
The reason I am writing this series is to present a foundation for future series that I have planned. You see, the strange woman is not a lone figure confined to a few passages in Proverbs. She is a characterization of a group of people who played an integral part in the fall of Israel, prior to the destruction of the first Temple.
The truth is, the strange woman is still blinding those who would seek wisdom today, so it’s important to be aware of her strategy.
If we can build this foundation – a foundation based upon understanding the strange woman’s purpose and motive – then we can gain a more comprehensive idea of what is going to happen in the future.
We can also gain a better understanding of a couple of other key players during that time frame, Jezebel and Elijah.
We will know the reason WHY Elijah had to come, and WHY he has to come “… before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” (Malachi 4:5b)
And if YHWH is merciful, we will become aware of how we have already been hijacked by this nefarious system.
I’m telling you, this will look nothing like what any “church” has ever taught.
So, are you ready to take the plunge? Me too.