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Do Not Desire the Immoral Woman’s Beauty
Proverbs 6:25-26 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
26 for because of a prostitute, a man is reduced to a loaf of bread,
but a wife of another man hunts down a precious soul.
26 [Although the price of a prostitute may be as much as a loaf of bread,
another man’s wife hunts the precious life].
Do not desire her beauty in your heart: Here (חָמַד chamad) desire has the sense of feeling or have a desire for, wanting strongly, coveting, lusting, i.e., strongly desire another’s … It is being used in the bad sense in that the young man is being warned against intensely wanting, lusting after, coveting the beauty of another man’s wife.
And do not let her capture you with her eyelashes: Here (לָקַח laqach) capture is referring to the young man being seduced or being led astray by the alluring eyes of another man’s wife. The Hebrew noun (עַפְעַפַּיִם (apappayim) is rendered eyelashes here. But it is literally “eyelids,” which refers to how a woman uses her alluring eyes to attract the attention of men.
For because of a prostitute, a man is reduced to a loaf of bread: A prostitute is a person, in particular, a woman, who engages in sexual activity for payment. It seems that Solomon is saying that an adulterous wife, referred to as a prostitute, may cost as much as a loaf of bread.
But a wife of another man hunts down a precious soul: The adulteress wife endangers the “precious soul,” or life, of her adulterous partner. The Hebrew (צוּד tsud) hunts down is referring to the husband of the adulteress doing after the adulterous young man, who had sexual relations with his wife, intending to cause him bodily harm or kill him.
Exodus 20:14, “You shall not commit adultery,” which means that we need to value the sanctity of marriage to remain faithful at times of temptation. At Matthew 5:28, Jesus states, “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus identified the preliminaries, which was a sin in and of itself, that lead up to the sinful act of adultery, as “lustful intent.” Focus on the word “intent.” This is not a man walking along who catches sight of a beautiful woman and has an indecent thought, which he then dismisses (that is not lusting). It is not even a man in the same situation who has an indecent thought, who continues to entertain and cultivate that thought (this is lusting and is a sin). No, this is a man staring, gazing at a woman with the intent of lusting, and looking at the woman, intending to pique her interest and desire to get her to lust.
Verse 25 of chapter 26 in Proverbs warns the son against just that, do not get “lustful intent” in your heart because of her beauty. Yes, even when the evil woman is seeking to flame such desires. Aside from the fact that it violates God’s Law, for mere moments of immediate gratification at a very inexpensive price, you are risking your life on a wife who has a husband that will take your precious life.
James 1:14-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. (1:14)
James states, but each one is tempted (πειράζω peirazō), which signifies that temptation is on an individual basis. Again, from verse 1:13 above, the Greek verb peirazō has the sense of being put to the test to determine the nature of someone, including human imperfections, flaws, or other qualities. The temptation is not another individual’s problem but is an individual choice that one gives into or rejects. James also writes one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his desire, which exposes that the problem of temptation lies not with God but instead, it is in oneself. James says that fleshly attraction is always directed at the desire of one’s heart. Therefore, God is not the one who is causing the temptation, but the lure comes through the enticement of one’s lust within his heart.
The Greek word James uses here for enticed is (δελεάζω deleazō), which means to become lured, enticed, entrapped with as with bait. James tells us in the passage that the underlying motivation for all temptation is selfish desire, that all fleshly attractions spring from man’s desire [hunger] (ἐπιθυμία epithumia) to satisfy his own flesh and personal forbidden desires. This means the temptation that Satan offers to people always deals with that which is pleasurable to man and appeals to his fallen desires. This is not to say that human desires in and of themselves are wrong. Moreover, human pleasure is not evil in and of itself. Satan has corrupted the desires of the flesh, which was perfectly natural before the sin of Adam. Moses was inspired to tell us at Genesis 6:5; 8:21 that we fallen imperfect humans are mentally bent toward evil. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that we have a treacherous heart that cannot be fully known. For example, there was a natural desire for a physical relationship between man and woman. After the fall, Paul tells us that it has become a standard practice “For their women [to] exchange natural relations for those that are contrary to nature,” i.e., homosexuality. (Rom. 1:26) Once the lust is manifested in the heart, the more it lingers there without being dealt with, it will begin to carry away the individual with the enticement of what that fulfilled lust can bring.
The Greek term for desire can be rendered as lust. However, that is not its primary sense. The basic definition is having an intense yearning for something that does not agree with God’s character. We might not be purposely looking to cater to our fleshly desires. Still, if we are in an innocent appearing situation that, in reality, is not so innocent, we can be carried away and enticed (ἐξελκόμενος καὶ δελεαζόμενος) by our desires. Temptation can come at a moment’s notice. James wants to wake us up to this fact and encourages us to look honestly at how imperfect human thoughts and desires work. As the hunger (desire) grows, the more it is fed with improper thoughts, tugging on us to act. Almost all our sins start as a wrong thought that we do not immediately dismiss and then pray for strength, followed by removing ourselves from the temptation. Instead, we tend to entertain the improper thought until it turns into a sinful act.
Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (1:15)
Again, all fleshly attractions spring from man’s desire [hunger] (ἐπιθυμία epithumia) to satisfy his own flesh and personal forbidden desires. So, James is describing for his reader the sequence of sin, which is evident by his using “then” (εἶτα eita), a relatively rare word in the Greek New Testament (Mk 4:17; 1Ti 2:13; Heb 12:9), which consistently denotes a sequence, “afterward,” “then,” “later.” Now that the temptation has carried us away, enticed (δελεάζω deleazō) our desires, the next stage in this sequence is that the desire (lust) is conceived (συλλαμβάνω sullambanō). In other words, it is brought to consummation (completion), as the desire leads to the birth of sin, a sinful action. When that sin is fully grown (ἀποτελέω apoteleō), that is, to the point of becoming a practice, i.e, living in sin, the result is (spiritual) death.
Then the desire, when it has been conceived, is evident in meaning. When the desire we have as a natural course is stirred (entertained), it is moved to action, resulting in sin. As the desires (fleshly appetites) that we may have due to being mentally bent toward evil (Gen. 6:5; 8:21), possessing a treacherous heart (Jer. 17:9), naturally leaning toward bad, form in mind as a thought, they cannot be considered a sin. However, the moment we begin to entertain or indulge in such thinking, we have preliminarily sketched out in our mind the immediate gratification that we will have. We have started the process that will result in sin. This has given birth to sin. The result of the above is actual sin. When we have considered, given thought to, formulated, and imagined in mind, it has culminated in sin. This sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death. The result of sin that has become a practice, a way of life, where no repentance exists, is not only spiritual death now, but eternal death to come with no hope of a resurrection. The apostle Paul told the Thessalonians that God will be “inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These ones will pay the penalty of eternal destruction.” (2 Thess. 1:8-9) Willful living in sin produces death. There is a marked correlation between this statement and what the apostle Paul wrote (Rom. 6:21–23). It is possible that James had Paul’s words in his mind, as Paul wrote Romans in 56 C.E., while James penned his letter six years later in 62 C.E. Having this knowledge should motivate us to dismiss and wrong thought that enters our mind at once. We should not give it a moment’s consideration, as in a moment, it can get mastery over us. And if we should fall into a sinful practice, we should seek help from a pastor at once.
Temptation always begins with an enticement towards one’s lust or an unwarranted desire. If not cast down, one then is carried away by the bait of the enticement. Then soon after, one will take the bait, give in to the temptation, and satisfy the lust of his flesh. For this reason, James writes that the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin. James continues with the progression stating sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Once the desire is conceived, or the individual gives actions upon that temptation by giving into its evil desire, it gives birth to sin that can lead to death.
James is telling these believers that once sin is conceived and begins to take root in the heart, if it is not dealt with, it will become full-grown within the heart to attain what their hearts desire. James makes it very clear that once we give into the temptation of that lust, it will inevitably give birth to sin. What was meant to produce pleasure and satisfaction now only causes chaos and devastation. James warns these believers that the only result of fulfilling their lust brought about death. This death could, for some, have led to physical death depending upon the lust they were giving into. James has a deeper meaning in that it was causing spiritual death to these believers when they passed over into sin.
Again, we can see from Adam and Eve that when they ate of the fruit, they did so out of their desire and pleasure for power and control that stemmed from their lust. When they ate the fruit, the promise of fulfillment only resulted in death. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, they faced spiritual death, in the fact that their sin had separated them from God. In turn, because of the curse, they would also suffer physical death due to their sin. James is warning these believers of the severe danger of temptation and the consequences if they were to give in to their lust. James wants his readers to understand that for the one who persisted in his temptation and living in that manner, and then, in the end, he would face eternal destruction. Paul wrote in Romans 7:20-21, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.”
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 I.e. alluring eyes
 That is, life
 Duane A. Garrett, vol. 14, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, The New American Commentary, 100 (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993).
 The original wording “everyone who looks at a woman with lust” (πας ο βλεπωη γυναικα προς επιθυμησαι) in verse 28 of chapter 5 of Matthew is found in the earliest manuscripts (P64+67 א* Tertullian Clement) and TR WH NU. We have a variant, “everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her” (πᾶς ὁ βλέπων γυναῖκα πρὸς τὸ ἐπιθυμῆσαι αὐτήν) is found in ((א1 αυτης) B D L W Θ 0233 f13 33 Maj)
 ἐπιθυμία [epithumia] is a strong desire to have what belongs to another, as well as becoming involved in anything that is morally wrong, i.e., coveting, lusting, evil desires, and the like.
 Or “own lust”
 Edward D. Andrews, THE LETTER OF JAMES CPH New Testament Commentary Volume 17, (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2017), 43-46.