Proverbs 5:22-23

The Cords of Sin


1. Solomon is warning his son about the dangers of sin in this verse.

a. vs. 22 – his own iniquities…his sins…

b. What Solomon says is true about sin in general… all sin.

2. The context of the chapter indicates WHICH sin in particular he is speaking about: the sin of sexual impurity… adultery…

a. vs. 3 – Warning of the strange woman

b. vs. 8 – remove your way far from her

c. vs. 15 – be faithful to your own wife… don’t look elsewhere for satisfaction.

d. vs. 20 – why be ravished with a strange woman?

e. The entire chapter deals with this one issue.

3. He has also warned his son about the consequences of this sin…

a. vs. 4 – it ends as a bitter experience

b. vs. 5 – her feet go down to death… hell…

c. vs. 9 – loss of honor

d. vs. 10 – strangers filled with your wealth

e. vs. 11 – mourning… body consumed…


A.) His Own Iniquities Shall Take the Wicked Himself

1. Iniquities – perversity, depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity.

a. Note that Solomon is not talking about sin in general, but about a man’s own personal sins.

b. There is a sense in which we are ALL affected by sin in general…
• We all live in a cursed earth…
• We all have bodies that are affected by sin in general…
• We all face the possibility of being robbed… killed… potential of war…
• We all face the potential of dealing with the consequences of the sins of others.
• Sometimes others sin and we have to pay the consequences (ex: if a politician wastes our money; if someone wrongly accuses us)

c. But here Solomon is talking about a man’s OWN sins.
• There are consequences to our own sins too…
• And we have no one to blame for these sins but ourselves.
• There is no passing the buck when it comes to our own sins.
• This passage deals with an obvious but often overlooked consequence of our own sins.

2. Take – to capture, take, seize; to take hold of;

a. The wicked is TAKEN by his own iniquities.

b. The wicked here refers to the sinner… and the particular sin in this context is immorality.

c. The term take means “capture.”

d. Gesenius defines the term as “to take or catch animals in a net or in snares.”

e. Cf. its usage in Amos 3:5 – “and have TAKEN nothing?”

f. Cf. Ps. 35:8 – “catch” is the same word as “take” in Prov. 5:22

g. It is also used of taking captives or capturing a city. (Josh. 11:12)

h.) Thus, Solomon is saying that (of sin in general, but this sin in particular) that sin can take hold of a person… seize him or her… capture him/her… carry away as a captive…

i. Thus, the picture of this sin is like that of a trap… there is bait… and then there is the closing of the trap…
• The bait – vs. 3
• The trap – vs. 4

j. A trap takes you in… but doesn’t let you go!
• A trap usually has some bait to allure the animal
• But, once the door closes, that animal is trapped and is no longer free…
• The little bite of carrot or meat that allured the animal to the trap is certainly NOT worth the consequences!
• The point of this passage is not simply that there ARE consequences. The point seems to be that sin can SEIZE us—lay hold of us and not let go!

k. NIV – The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him;

l. NASB – His own iniquities will capture the wicked,

m. Of course the obvious answer to this sin problem is never to start!
• Whether the sin is immorality… adultery… pornography… alcohol… drugs… if you don’t start, you won’t get trapped!
• If you turn away from the bait, the trap door will never close on you… and rob you of your freedom!
• If you don’t take your first drink, you won’t become an alcoholic!
• If you drink from your own cistern, and are ravished always in her love (vs. 20), then you won’t become ensnared in an illicit affair.
• If you refuse to open that first pornographic web site or magazine, you won’t become captured by it!
• If you refuse to take that first hit of cocaine, you will never become addicted.

n. BUT, the wicked man IS taken captive… and by his OWN sins! He has no one to blame for the tragic results but himself!

B.) Holden With the Cords of His Sins

1. The second part of the verse says essentially the same thing… synonymous parallelism—for emphasis and explanation.

2. Holden – to grasp, hold, support, attain, lay hold of, hold fast

a. His sins “HOLD” him… hold him fast…

b. The sense is similar to the previous term “take” = take captive; seize

c. Sin will “take hold” of a man… or woman… or young person…

d. The previous term implied a trap or a snare. Thus, we have a picture of HOW a man’s iniquities can “take” or capture a man…

e. This part of the verse also gives us a mental picture as to HOW sin holds us… like cords.

3. Cords – a cord, rope, territory, band, company

a. Used in Josh. 2:15 – Rahab let the spies down from the wall with a cord.

b. Ps.140:5 – used in conjunction with a snare—a rope trap…

c. Gesenius translates this word as a “gin, a noose, a snare”

d. Its main meaning is that of a cord… a rope… that has the capacity to ensnare and do harm…

4. Solomon warns his son that the sin of adultery and immorality is ensnaring…

a. It is like winding a cord around yourself.

b. Even if that cord is as thin as a tiny piece of thread…it CAN ensnare.

c. Sin is deceptive like that. A man might commit a sin, and discover that the sin can be broken as easily as a mere piece of thread.

d. That self-confidence emboldens him to commit the sin again… and again…

e. And while it might be broken easily at first, once MANY threads have been wound about the man—he soon discovers he can’t get out!

f. Our pride and self confidence assures us that we can break the habit at any time… this passage implies that that is not so.
• Repetition forms a habit
• Habit becomes a ruling principle… second nature…
• Sin becomes easier to commit… harder to break…

g. Cf. Prov. 29:6 – sin has a built in “snare”!

h. Cf. Prov. 1:31 – sinners eat the fruit of their own way… filled with their own devises…

i. In a sense, God doesn’t have to continually judge men for their sin. Sin has a built in judgment attached. God doesn’t have to chain the sinner down… his own sins are like chains that he places on himself…

5. Ecc. 7:26 – And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

a. Once again, Solomon warns that the sinner will be TAKEN by her.

b. The immoral woman is like a snare, a net, a trap, bands that will seize a young man.

c. Now if Solomon were talking to his daughter he would have warned her about the immoral man in the same way…

6. The way to escape is to escape NOW…

a. Don’t wait… don’t linger… run like Joseph.

b. Sin’s habit might be broken as a thin thread at first…but if left unchecked those threads can accumulate rapidly… and become binding…

c. It’s easy to quit smoking after your first cigarette. It is difficult after 10-20 years of smoking!

C.) He Shall Die Without Instruction

1. This kind of sin is destructive.

a. Prov. 11:3b – the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.

b. Prov. 11:5b – but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.

2. Death is not unusual for a man who has no control in this area of his life.

a. Death because of an outraged husband seeking revenge…

b. Death because of disease

c. Death because of life in the fast lane in general…

3. NIV – He will die for lack of discipline…

a. Instruction: discipline, chastening; correction

b. The point is that underneath the sin of immorality a total lack of self discipline… a lack of self control…

c. That is a killer!

d. Prov. 28:25 – A man without self control is like a city whose walls are broken down… defenseless… powerless… easily overtaken by anyone or anything…

e. That man will die… he will be attacked and defeated!

D.) In the Greatness of His Folly He Shall Go Astray

1. Here Solomon speaks about another consequence of the sin: going astray.

2. The sin of immorality will lead a man FAR away from where he once was.

a. Away from God… from family… from kids… from friends…

b. He ends up far, far away… not because there is no way back, but because usually the man has LOST his common sense…

c. Hos. 4:11 – Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart. (no sense left—no heart for leaving the sin…)

3. It is not just folly, but GREAT folly!

4. Gal. 6:7-8a – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption;