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Proverbs 9:17-18 meaning...

Proverbs is a book in the Old Testament known for its wisdom literature. It contains a collection of practical advice, teachings, and sayings attributed to King Solomon and other wise individuals. Proverbs 9 presents a contrast between the ways of wisdom and folly, often personified as two women: Lady Wisdom and the seductive Woman Folly.

  • Key Points:

Stolen Pleasures: In these verses, the seductive Woman Folly is depicted as tempting individuals with stolen pleasures. She claims that stolen water is sweet and food eaten in secret is pleasant. These statements suggest that illicit or forbidden pleasures can be enticing and alluring.

Consequences of Folly: However, the passage goes on to warn that those who indulge in such stolen pleasures do not realize the consequences. It uses the metaphor that "the dead are there" and "her guests are in the depths of Sheol." This signifies that engaging in sinful or foolish behavior can lead to spiritual and moral death.

  • Significance:

Warning Against Temptation: These verses serve as a warning against the allure of sinful or forbidden pleasures. They remind individuals that what may initially seem appealing can ultimately lead to destruction.

Consequences of Sin: The passage highlights the hidden and destructive consequences of sinful behavior. It suggests that those who indulge in such behavior may not realize the spiritual and moral harm they are causing themselves.

Discernment: It encourages readers to exercise discernment and wisdom in their choices rather than being drawn into temptations that can lead to negative outcomes.

  • Application:

While Proverbs 9:17-18 specifically addresses the temptation of illicit pleasures, it carries broader lessons for believers today:

Resisting Temptation: Believers are encouraged to resist temptations and sinful behaviors, recognizing that they may appear enticing but ultimately lead to negative consequences.

Discernment: These verses underscore the importance of discernment and wisdom in decision-making. It's a reminder to think critically about the consequences of one's actions.

Understanding Consequences: Understanding the hidden consequences of sin helps individuals make choices that align with their values and faith.


James 1:15: "Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death." This New Testament verse echoes the idea that sin can lead to death, emphasizing the importance of resisting temptation.

Proverbs 2:10-11: "For wisdom will enter into your heart. Knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will watch over you. Understanding will keep you." This verse highlights the positive role of wisdom and understanding in guiding one's choices.

Proverbs 9:17-18 warns against the allure of stolen pleasures and emphasizes the hidden consequences of indulging in sinful or forbidden behavior. It encourages readers to exercise discernment and wisdom in their choices, recognizing that what may seem enticing can lead to spiritual and moral harm. While rooted in a specific context, these verses offer timeless lessons about resisting temptation and making wise choices in alignment with one's faith.

Proverbs 9:17-18. “Stolen water is sweet. Food eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he doesn’t know that the departed spirits are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.


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