Chapter six contains some of the well-known sections of Proverbs: the foolishness of co-signing, the industrious ant, and the seven deadly sins. Still, there are only three main sections of the chapter. In the first section, Solomon warned his son about foolishness regarding finances (Proverbs 6:1-15). Co-signing a loan for a financially risky person is foolish, and he should do everything within his power to get out of it, like a gazelle running for its life. Laziness is also foolish, and the “sluggard” was worse than an ant, which actually works for its food, while the lazy man sleeps, makes excuses, and expects everyone else to help him. He is a disaster waiting to happen.
The second section contains the infamous seven deadly sins, “seven things that are an abomination to him” (Proverbs 6:16-22). This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but it represents the categories of actions and attitudes that God despises. It is worth noting that, although only two of these are direct violations of the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes are a kind of opposite list of proper actions and attitudes that God desires in his people. 1 Solomon persisted in his claim that his instructions were the best for his son and would keep him protected both physically and spiritually as he walked life’s path, but it required diligence and commitment to know and keep them.
The third section returns to the area of sexual morality (Proverbs 6:23-35). Once again the adulterous woman is in view and is considered worse than a prostitute. Solomon’s reasoning is that, though a prostitute may bankrupt a man, an adulteress will have a jealous husband. “Can a man hold fire against his chest without burning his clothes?” Can a man have an affair with his neighbor’s wife without repercussions? What compensation will the husband accept for this kind of theft?
- Technically, the Beatitudes of Matthew 5 are instructions and principles for the Messianic Kingdom, but some of the underlying attitudes are timeless. ↩