Proverbs 23:24-28

A Whore is a Deep Ditch


1. We are going to look at TWO of the 30 wise sayings here (vs.24-25 = # 16th wise saying; vs. 26-28 = 17th wise saying)

2. We are going to combine them:

a. Because they all belong to the same context.

b. Because the theme in vs. 24-25 we have seen many times already in the book of Proverbs.

3. In this section of chapter 23, we have a father giving advice to his son—and pleading with his son to listen to what he says.

a. The advice includes warnings against over-eating, greed, associating with winebibbers, being lazy, child-rearing, and now avoiding contact with prostitutes… avoiding sexual immorality…

b. He ends the chapter with a lengthy section on the dangers of alcohol (vs.29-35).

24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begeteth a wise child shall have joy of him. 25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.

Wise Children Make Joyful Parents

1. This is a theme we have seen repeated often in the book of Proverbs.

2. In verse 24, Solomon speaks of two things that cause a father to rejoice:

a. If his children are righteous

b. If his children are wise

3. This results in a father:

a. “Greatly rejoicing” –

b. “Having joy”

c. These two thoughts are synonyms… added for emphasis.

d. The character and lifestyle of the children affects the joy of the father.

4. The character of the child (righteous and wise) could have two different applications – earthly and spiritual.

a. In the earthly realm
• Parents can instill in their children many of the qualities emphasized in the Bible and in Proverbs in particular.
• This would include a strong work ethic, being diligent, doing one’s best, saving and not wasting money, good use of one’s time, the importance of learning, the importance of obeying the law of the land, careful use of one’s tongue, being a good citizen, being a good neighbor, honesty, integrity, etc.
• Even an unsaved son can be wise—at least in the ways of the world. And in that realm too, wisdom exceeds folly.
» Ecc. 2:13-14a – “Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. 14The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness.”
• An unsaved son can also be “righteous” before the law – blameless before the Law, as Saul was before his conversion.
» An unsaved son can make RIGHT decisions.
» He can do that which is right before the law = a law abiding citizen.
» He can be right in that he is moral and of high integrity.
» There are lots of unsaved people who are moral and do that which is right—at least before the eyes and law of man.
• A father who has instilled these good virtues into his children can have JOY as a result—if the son demonstrates these qualities in his life.
• Solomon mentioned this earlier in this chapter: vs. 15-16.
• On an earthly level, a father can have a certain amount of joy in his children, even if they don’t get saved.
• At least they learned something… at least they learned to be wise in an earthly sense.

b. In the spiritual realm
• The principles we have seen in Proverb (though most were given to be applied in the earthly sense), also have great spiritual application.
• If the child applies these principles of wisdom and righteousness to entering into a relationship with God by faith, then he has elevated these principles to a whole new level.
• And he has elevated the JOY of a godly father to a whole new level.
• A father whose son listens and obeys and demonstrates wisdom in earthly things AND applies it to his relationship to God will have even GREATER joy!
• II John 4 – “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth.”
• III John 4 – “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

5. In verse 25, Solomon adds the mother and her feelings.

a. Only the father is mentioned in the previous verse.

b. Now Solomon states that the father AND the mother shall be glad and rejoice in a wise and righteous son.

c. Everything said in the previous passage is now applied to the mother too.

d. Prov. 10:1 – “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”

e. BOTH parents feel it when their child becomes wise OR if he or she becomes a fool.

f. It is a shared joy or grief between the two parents.

26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

1. Now Solomon speaks to his son again and tells his son “GIVE me your heart in the following matter.”

2. This exhortation may imply that the son had NOT YET GIVEN his father his heart on this matter of sexual immorality—mentioned in the next verse.

3. Hence, the father is pleading with his son to change his heart… to give his heart to his father in this matter… to be in agreement with his father.

4. OR, it may simply be a plea for a POTENTIAL sin – a hypothetical.

5. The father wants his son’s heart—or his daughter’s heart.

6. The father wants his son to observe his ways (the ways of the father).

a. The meaning of the word translated “observe” here is disputed.
• Some have defined it as “to watch carefully.”
• Others have defined it as “to be well pleasing; to be favorable, to delight in.”
• Whichever meaning is given to this term, the meaning of the proverb as a whole is clear: the father wants his son to be on the same page as the father on this issue—to observe his ways… and/or to be favorable towards his ways.

b. Either way, the father wants his son to follow his example in this matter.

c. Again, this could imply that the son was NOT following the example of his father in this area, but had strayed away.

7. If this is an exhortation to a wayward son, then consider the connection with the previous verses:

a. Son, your immoral behavior is killing your mother and me. It is causing us great grief.

b. If you change, and demonstrate wisdom and righteousness we will greatly rejoice!

c. Please give me your heart! Change your ways!

8. The good news in this proverb is the fact that a son who is presently involved in immorality and who is presently causing his parents great grief CAN repent.

a. He CAN change his behavior.

b. And repentance followed by a change of behavior can turn a parent’s grief into JOY!

9. Of course this exhortation illustrates for us the desire of the heart of our heavenly Father—that we would give Him our hearts!

a. God seeks continually for us to surrender our heart, mind, and will to Him…

b. God seeks that we walk with Him in wholehearted allegiance and love… such that His will is our will… (Rom. 12:1-2 – living sacrifice)

27 For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit. 28 She also lieth in wait as for a prey and increaseth the transgressors among men.

Warnings Against Sexual Immorality

1. FOR – This word indicates that this warning is part of the previous context.

a. The son is to give his father his heart FOR (because) a whore is a deep ditch!

b. Take heed to my warning because failure to listen is dangerous. You could get seriously hurt.

c. Sexual immorality is something you can fall into but not easily get yourself out of.

d. It’s easy to start and hard to stop.

e. That’s why the son should give his father his heart.

f. It’s best NOT to fall in to that ditch in the first place.

g. But if you have already fallen in, GET OUT right away.

h. It is really an issue of the heart.

i. Of course, in the spiritual realm, in order to be preserved from such immorality requires that we give our hearts to the Lord first and foremost.

2. Verse 27 is a synonymous parallelism.

a. Both parts of the verse say the same thing using different words.
• The whore and the strange woman are both prostitutes
• The deep ditch and the narrow pit refer to the same kind of trap a person can fall into.

b. The warning is clear: this is dangerous! Stay away! It’s a trap.

c. We continually hear of politicians, sports stars, movie stars, and other celebrities in the lime light falling into this trap.

d. And countless other men and women—who are just average Joes—have fallen into the same trap… and have ruined their families, their reputation, their careers, and even their lives.

3. Verse 28 – The whore is dangerous on another level too.

a. She lies in wait as for a prey…
• The Hebrew word for prey here means BANDIT.
• Note that the word “for” is italicized. It should be rejected.
• Thus, this whore is lying in wait as a bandit hides in the bushes before robbing someone.
• The picture is not of a wild animal waiting for prey (tiger waiting for an antelope) but a bandit waiting to rob someone.
• She robs men in various ways: she robs men of their decency, of their integrity, of their purity, of their family life.
• Prostitutes who get men “hooked” also rob men of their finances. It can be an expensive hobby.
• Proverbs 6:26-28 – “For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. 27Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? 28Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?”
• Visiting prostitutes brings a man to ruin financially and every other way.
• How many millions in endorsements did Tiger Woods lose for his well publicized immorality?

b. She increases the transgressors.
• Transgressors:
» Be unfaithful; be faithless; break faith; i.e., not trustworthy or reliable to a person or standard.
» To betray; to act treacherously; deceitfully.
» Jer. 3:20 – “Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD.” (In this passage, the term is used to describe the concept of being unfaithful—to a husband or God.)
• Solomon’s point is that one whore, one harlot, one prostitute results in increasing the number of men who become unfaithful.
» They become unfaithful to the teachings of their godly parents.
» They become unfaithful to their wife.
» They become unfaithful to God!
• She increases the number of unfaithful men.
• Thus, she ruins many homes, many families, many relationships…
• And she even helps ruin a nation by attacking its most basic building block – the home.