Proverbs 5:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 5:20, NIV: Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man's wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?

Proverbs 5:20, ESV: Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?

Proverbs 5:20, KJV: And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?

Proverbs 5:20, NASB: For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress, And embrace the breasts of a foreigner?

Proverbs 5:20, NLT: Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?

Proverbs 5:20, CSB: Why, my son, would you lose yourself with a forbidden woman or embrace a wayward woman?

What does Proverbs 5:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The last few verses pointed out the satisfaction and pleasure a man is offered with his own wife. This passage has also explained a number of painful consequences associated with adultery, in contrast to the joyful benefits of faithfulness in marriage. Given all of that, why would someone choose to give over control of their sexuality to a forbidden woman?

When a person is intoxicated with alcohol, he is under the influence of alcohol. Similarly, when a person is intoxicated with a forbidden woman—or a man, in the case of a woman being tempted—he is under the influence or control of that woman.

Sadly, Solomon's life didn't adhere to this very advice. During his lifetime "he loved many foreign women…from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, 'You shall not enter into marriage with them… they will turn away your heart after their gods.'" (1 Kings 11:1–2). First Kings 11:3 reports that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, and "his wives turned away his heart." In his mind Solomon knew he was doing wrong, but he ignored both his mind and convictions, and instead gave in to his impulses, which led him away from the Lord. His advice here is sound—and the consequences he suffered for turning away from it make that even clearer.