Sex Relationships
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Proverbs, that portion of the Word of God that we are considering together. Keep in mind that we are discussing thirteen lectures on wisdom, which were delivered by Solomon to his son. We have been discussing each individual lecture separately. In chapter 5, we come to a lecture concerning wisdom as it is related to sexual relationships.

There are two things that come to mind as we announce the subject of this particular discussion. One is discussing something like that in a mixed audience. Sex is not something ugly. It is beautiful. God made it and the individuals who are prostituting it are creating the problems that exist today. Sex in itself, taught in the Word of God, is nothing to be ashamed of.

The other thing that comes to my mind is that many folk do not know that there is this kind of instruction in the Word of God related to this subject. Many parents ask me, “Can you recommend a good book on the subject of sex that I can use to teach my children?” Most of the time, I recommend the book of Proverbs unless there is some special need in the individual's life that I think a secular book might help.

Chapter 5 of the book of Proverbs comprises 23 verses. I don't think it would be of any advantage to us to read the entire chapter as we sometimes do and then discuss it. Rather, I am going to offer you an analysis of the chapter and then think about the chapter on the basis of that analysis.

An Appeal to Listen

You might like to indicate in the margin of your Bible the various divisions as I offer you this analysis of the book of Proverbs, chapter 5. In verses 1-2, we find what we might refer to as an appeal to listen . This is the usual way these lectures begin. Remember that I told you that these lectures always begin with the words, “my son.” Every time you see those two words in the book of Proverbs, it does not mean that a new lecture is beginning. It means that every one of these thirteen lectures begin with the words, “my son.”

Here there is an appeal to listen. Following this appeal, there is a picture presented of the prostitute, who is one of the subjects of discussion in this particular chapter. Following the picture of the prostitute, there is an appeal to avoid her in verses 7-8. Following that appeal, there is another picture and that is the picture of the price of the prostitute, as it is found in verses 9-14. Following the picture of the prostitute's price is a picture of pure love, as is found in verses 15-19. Finally, there is another plea—a plea to remember that God is always watching, in verses 20-21.

The lecture is closed with a general observation which relates to what you have found thus far in chapter 5 and presents an introduction to what is going to brought to our attention in the tenth lecture on wisdom that is found in chapter 6 of Proverbs.

I suggest that you indicate in your own Bibles in the margin these various divisions, then perhaps as you read the chapter and meditate upon it, as I trust you will in the days that come, you will be able to call to mind some of the things that we say to you.

An Appeal to Learn from Experience

Notice verses 1-2, which we suggest to you present a plea:

Proverbs 5:

1 My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

There is nothing unusual about this appeal to listen at first glance because, as we have suggested to you, every lecture begins with the words similar to this: “My son, listen. My son, pay attention.” But as we examine this particular appeal to listen very carefully, we find that there are two suggestions in the verses that are not brought out as specifically as they might be in the English text. Some translators feel, for example, that in verse 2, there is a suggestion that makes the appeal even more forceful, when Solomon said to his son, “Be attentive to my wisdom, learned by actual and costly experience.”

We told you the introduction of the book of Proverbs is found in the book of Ecclesiastes where the record of that actual, costly experience is that Solomon went through, so he is saying, “Boys, I am not telling you something that I read about. I am telling you something that I know about.”

It is wonderful if a father has not departed from the path of righteousness to the extent that he needs to say to his sons, “Profit by my experience,” for I would not have you believe for a moment that it is necessary for an individual to have the experience before he can give the wisdom and advice that is needful in direction of those who God has committed to his care.

There is another thought in these first two verses related to the lips. Look at verse 2 again:

Proverbs 5:

2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.

Hidden in the actual text is another suggestion related to the lips keeping knowledge. You read that and realize that you are reading it in connection with the context and you might well say, “What has this to do with sex? What has this to do with illicit sex?”

If you are very familiar with history, you know that some of the most vital state secrets have been revealed in the bedroom of a prostitute, and the text will bear the translation that someone else has suggested that I think is very good: “Watch yourself lest you be indiscreet and betray some vital information.” You see, the matter of illicit sexual relationships is not related to the mere subject of sex. There are many side issues, as we are going to see—many involvements that make the exercise of illicit sex an unwise thing.

A Picture of the Prostitute

There is another suggestion that we would like for you to think about with us, and that is the picture of the prostitute that is presented in this same chapter. The thing that I would have you keep in mind about this picture is that it is not going to be a picture of her physical attractiveness. Rather, it is going to be a picture of things about this prostitute that make her pathetic if you stop and think about it.

The first thing that I would call to your mind is a picture of the deception that is practiced by the prostitute. Deception is her tool in trade. Look at verse 3:

Proverbs 5:

3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.

The deception begins the way most deception begins which Satan institutes. I have described that deception with two words—sweet lips . Notice:

Proverbs 5:

3 …lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:

This represents figurative language, indicating in the Oriental imagery which is employed in the book of Proverbs, that at first there is something attractive about illicit sex. At first there is something attractive about sex that is carried on with a strange woman. But everything that begins has to come to an end and the end is described in the words a bad taste .

Young people sometimes just don't realize it because illicit sex is made so popular and so attractive, but sweet lips can leave a mighty bad taste in the individual's mouth, and I don't know of a better way to describe it than in verse 4:

Proverbs 5:

4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.

Living Proverbs paraphrases the verse in a very interesting way, suggesting that afterwards (there is always an afterwards; as you know there wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't for that afterwards) only a bitter conscience is left to you, and it is as sharp as a double-edged sword. When the individual practices that which is wrong in relation to sex life, he has to live with his conscience, and that conscience can be as sharp as a double-edged sword.

I said that there were two things about this prostitute, one of them presented by the word deception , and the other I am going to describe with the word dissatisfaction . The dissatisfaction refers not only to the sexual union, for there is nothing as dissatisfying as illicit sex unions if one has known pure sex union, but the dissatisfaction is primarily related to the prostitute herself. There is nobody, in spite of the pictures you see and the stories that you read, who is any unhappier than a girl who sells her body for money. The Spirit of God describes her in verses 5-6 with the words:

Proverbs 5:

5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

It is not necessary to explain, “…her feet go down to death,” literally and spiritually, and “her steps take hold on hell,” but I think the most descriptive phrase in this whole passage, which is rather touching to me and is one that I have seen over and over again in the lives of young women with whom I have dealt who have fallen into this category, is in verse 6:

Proverbs 5:

6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

Notice that word moveable , as I remind you that it comes from the word nuwa , and it may be translated better by the word aimless .” The aimlessness of the existence of the prostitute is pathetic for there is no certain goal, no certain destination. Dissatisfaction is the chief characteristic of the individual who spends her life in this sort of thing.

The Prostitute's Price

There are in this chapter pictures and pleas, and we come to another plea, which I want to draw to your attention. This time it is a plea to avoid the prostitute. Notice in the beginning that the father said, “Listen to me. I know what I am talking about. I have had the experience.” In verses 7-8, he presents another plea:

Proverbs 5:

7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:

The appeal is based upon verse 8, which certainly does away with any idea that anybody might have that a little experimentation is not going to hurt anybody. Sometimes men say, concerning their sons, when they notice them being rather active in their sex lives, “Oh, well, it won't hurt him to gain a little experience.” God doesn't say that. God says in His Word, “Don't go anywhere near the redlight district. Don't go anywhere near the house of prostitution. Don't go anywhere near the place where you are going to be led into deeper sin.”

Of course, I am as aware as any of you are today that we don't need to be concerned primarily about special houses of prostitution with the freedom that our young people have today; back seats of automobiles and numerous other places become, figuratively speaking, houses of prostitution. God says, “Avoid them. Run away from them. Don't even go near the scene of temptation because you can't afford to pay the price.” Anyone who has had any experience with prostitution knows that flesh comes in a variety of prices. There are high priced prostitutes; there are low priced prostitutes; there are some who give it away. When I am talking about the price, I am not talking about the price that is laid on the bureau. I am not talking about the price that is left on the table in the hotel room, but I am talking about the price that is paid by the individual who dares to play fast and loose with sex. I have referred to it as the prostitute's price because even though it is not the price that is paid in money, it is the price that any individual will pay who plays fast and loose with sex.

Notice verse 9:

Proverbs 5:

9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:

The first thing that we would bring to your attention concerning the price that you pay is the loss of honor with the possibility of exposure to blackmail. The suggestion concerning blackmail is involved in the word cruel , for the word cruel comes from the Hebrew word that describes this kind of people—one simple little act of prostitution could rob you of honor for the rest of your life and expose you to blackmail for your remaining days. That is the reason that our government, when it employs people in special service, sends FBI men around to investigate. I don't know how many times I have been interviewed by FBI men concerning individuals who wanted to go into some kind of government service and many different questions are asked. One question that they always ask concerning everybody and that is, “What can you tell me about their moral life? What can you tell me about any illicit sex relationships they might have had?”

One day I asked one of these men why this seemed to be the question that was always asked, and the answer was, “This is the greatest source for blackmail that there is, and people are so afraid of exposure in this particular area that they would even sell their country down the river for protection. We can't have anybody that has the slightest taint of immorality upon them.” Isn't that a big price to pay for a few moments of fleshly pleasure when you know real love isn't really that?

There is another price to be paid. Look at verse 10:

Proverbs 5:

10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;

The second price that is paid is the loss of wealth, for many individuals have spent their time in loose, licentious living and have lost fortunes in the process. We will not elaborate because you have the opportunity of doing so.

There is another price to be paid and a lot of people do not realize that this is the price that is paid. It is the loss of health, and it comes to my mind from what you find in verse 11:

Proverbs 5:

11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,

If there is a price that is being paid more often for illicit sex than any other, it is this price because this is the day of the pill. The pill has made unnecessary any kind of prophylactic contraceptive that men used to use. Social diseases are growing at tremendous rates and the amazing thing is that these diseases are not growing primarily among the so-called women of the street, but they are growing among the so-called decent young people who wouldn't dream of doing anything to contact a disease such as this.

Another translator is very pointed about the translation and insists that the original language will bear out this paraphrase, when he says, “Lest afterwards you groan in anguish and pain when syphilis consumes your body.”

I don't know that I would be as strong in insisting that translation could bear it, but it certainly bears the paraphrase, and I present it to you for the effectiveness of emphasis that I trust it presents in your life. Loss of health is a tremendous price to pay for a few brief moments of fleshly indulgence.

Another price that is brought to our attention in this passage of Scripture is found in verse 14:

Proverbs 5:

14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

This particular price is the loss of confidence, and in the light of the accompanying verses, it might be referred to as the loss of confidence accompanied by regret. When I refer to it as the loss of confidence, I am referring to what is recorded in verse 14:

Proverbs 5:

14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

Very literally rendered, the suggestion is what you have in the midst of the congregation: “…in the eyes of the congregation I was guilty of almost every kind of evil.” The suggestion is that when a person has been guilty of free love and licentious living, people lose confidence in him and are willing to believe almost anything about him. Then he himself has to live with his regret. Look at verse 12:

Proverbs 5:

12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

Boiled down in a few brief words, what he is saying is, “How stupid and foolish I have been not to listen to all of the advice I have heard.”

People who deal with children often make the statement, “Some children can not be told; they must be shown.” I want to suggest to you that in the area that we are considering, any object lesson that is related to the individual is a very, very expensive object lesson.

The Picture of Pure Love

I want you to notice with me what I think is one of the most beautiful passages of Scripture in the Word of God. It is the paragraph that begins with verse 15 and ends with verse 19. I have been pleased to designate it in our discussion here as the picture of pure love .” Nothing you have read up to this point has been very pretty because, believe me, prostituted love, illicit love, is not pretty, but notice:

Proverbs 5:

15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.
18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

The simple reading of this paragraph should settle once and for all that there is nothing unspiritual or immoral about pure, physical love. The Bible puts its sanction upon it, and the Bible puts its sanction upon the enjoyment of sex within the bonds of matrimony. It forbids the enjoyment of sex without or beyond the vows of matrimony. That is the reason that the first thing I would bring to your attention is a truth as the other truths contrasted in the matter of water is—that pure love is private and always fresh. Notice verse 15:

Proverbs 5:

15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern…

That is private. In the figurative language of the text: “Have your own cistern before you drink.” Boys, when you are dating, don't see how many girls you can lay before you marry the one you want.

I am being awfully blunt, but there is no point in my not using language with which you are familiar. You may not use this kind of language around your mother, but you know it. Make it your aim in life to find, in the terms of the text, a cistern of your own. You will find something when you save yourself for that person whom God has arranged for you and that is that out of that cistern or well there will always be running waters, and in the terms of my suggestion, they will always be fresh. Pure love is private. Pure love is always fresh. It is never jaded and unlovely and forced. You don't have to live in a dream world when pure love is the subject on your mind. You don't have to look at skin flicks and girlie magazines when pure love is on your mind because pure love is always fresh and pure love is always private. If you discuss your conquest after your date, all you have done is dabbled in a little bit of dirty flesh. That is all. You don't have anything to talk about because pure love is private and fresh. It is something that is held sacred and is not for public discussion.

Pure Love is not Promiscuous

Another thought that I would bring to your attention is that pure love is not promiscuous. You don't love your wife and a mistress. You don't love your wife and the office girl. Pure love is not promiscuous. Pure love cannot be shared. It is impossible to have enough love for the wife of your bosom and for someone else as well. That pure love is not promiscuous is brought to my attention by what I read here in verse 16:

Proverbs 5:

16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.

That is not as good a translation as it might be because it doesn't get the sense of the verse at all. A better translation would be: “Should your offspring be dispersed abroad as water brooks in the street?” That is, you should have children in your home. You shouldn't have them anywhere else. The only people who have any right to call you Father or to call you Mother are the children who sit around your table, and if you have true love, that will be true. But if you don't have true love, you will have children who will be running in the street, who have a right, because you have been responsible for their being brought into the world, to call you Father . Verse 17 says:

Proverbs 5:

17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.

This, too, is not as happy a translation as it might be, so we suggest another that might make it clearer to you: “Let your children be for you alone and your wife, and not the children of strangers with you.”

I heard only within the last month of a married man who was unfaithful to his wife who caused his secretary to become with child. He loved his wife. He loved his children. He didn't want to leave her and his children. He didn't love his office secretary. She didn't love him. It was a pure act of the flesh, sinful in the sight of God, but that wormwood that we talked about earlier began to embitter everything that he tasted, so he talked with his wife about it. She was an unusual wife. There are not too many wives like this. She said, “I understand. When the child is born, we will bring the child here. We will raise him as our child, and nobody will know anything about it but us.”

They did that, and that man told me, “I look at the children of my pure love, and I try not to feel any different, but I do. There is a stranger in our midst. That child who sits at the table with the children of our pure love is a constant reminder to me that one day I walked in the flesh instead of the Spirit, and for one moment of disappointing pleasure, I have a price to pay for the rest of my days.”

Pure Love is Satisfying

One of the things that I would like to suggest to you about pure love, as it is brought to our attention in this text is brought to my attention in verse 18:

Proverbs 5:

18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

If we wanted to sum up all of this material in one simple statement, we would say, “Pure love is satisfying.” There is no dissatisfaction in it. There is no disappointment in it. It is satisfying aesthetically. I suggest that to you because of the first part of verse 18: “Let thy fountain be blessed…” That is, “Let thy fountain of youth enjoy the blessing of God.” There is an aesthetic relationship to pure love that the physical does not ever touch. That is the reason that if for some reason individuals are deprived of the physical, the love still continues because there is an aesthetic love that has far deeper roots than does the physical.

Pure Love Satisfies Permanently

We would suggest to you another thought and that is that this love is satisfying because it is satisfying permanently. That is brought to my mind by what I read in the second part of verse 18:

Proverbs 5:

18 …and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

Some people misread that as: “Rejoice while your wife is young. Then when she gets old, trade her off for a newer model.” That isn't what it says. It says, “Rejoice with the wife of thy youth.” That is pure love. It has a permanent quality about it so that when the hair begins to turn to gray and the wrinkles come and the bulges are not in the places they were when you first looked, the love is still there for pure love never dies.

Enjoy Physical Aspects of Pure Love

The third thing that I would suggest to you is that pure love has a physical side which you should expect, which you should enjoy, and which you should not feel cheap about enjoying.

You may wonder why I pause to make that statement to you, and I can tell you without revealing any confidences because I don't reveal them. I have counselled with many, many people who have had real marital problems because it has been drilled into the minds of one or the other of them that physical contact in the manifestation of love is ugly and dirty and something that should not be countenanced. The Bible says, “Enjoy the physical aspects of love in the marriage union.”

God is Watching

I want to suggest the one last thing to keep in mind, because, remember, we did not start out talking about pure love. We started out talking about illicit love and the price that is paid for the services for a prostitute. We said that in this passage of Scripture there were pleas and there were pictures. We close with a plea. The plea is found in verse 20:

Proverbs 5:

20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.

What is the plea? A plea to remember that God is watching. Husbands, let me say to you that if you have a thimble full of brains, you can always arrange an alliance that your wife won't know about. If you have a thimble full of brains, you can carry on a secret alliance very successfully, but remember that God is watching. He knows whether she does or not.


Young people, it doesn't take any brains to do it. Idiots in institutions are quite capable of doing it. It doesn't take any brains to have premarital sex relations and nobody know anything about it. It is easy, but remember this: God is always watching. What you may hide from others, you can't hide from Him, and that is the reason that I believe the Spirit of God closes this lecture with this plea. Remember wherever you are, wherever you go, God is watching.

When our children leave the house, my wife has so often said a certain thing that when she begins to say it, they finish it. What she says to them is this: “Remember Whose you are, and Whom you serve.” That is the only advice she gives when they leave the house. “Remember Whose you are and Whom you serve.” Many times I have been sitting elsewhere in the house and she has perhaps gone to the door with them. I have heard her say, “Remember…,” and I have heard them laughingly, sweetly say, “…Whose you are and Whom you serve. We won't forget.” That is the emphasis on this plea.

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