Proverbs 2: To profane marriage is to profane Christ himself
Here are the parallels:
· Forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness
· Have perverted speech
· Have crooked paths
· Are devious in their ways
The Strange woman
· Forsakes the companion of her youth
· Has smooth words
· Forgets the covenant of her God
The word “sinner” in Proverbs is not the godless pagan/unbeliever that we tend to think about when we use the word “sinner”. The same can be said of the words "evil" in this section. Solomon has in mind the Jewish covenant-breaker, the apostate. These wicked, in the past, have been on the paths of uprightness within the covenant and have forsaken it (by walking in the ways of darkness and in marital infidelity). Their paths, once straight, are now crooked. Once married to God through the covenant, they have forgotten the covenant and have forsaken God. They were once on the path of life and now they are sinking down to death. Their end is without hope. Having forsaken Wisdom who can give them life, they will be cut off from God and His covenant forever.
Also notice the apostates counter what wisdom has to say. They are of perverted speech and smooth words. Just as Wisdom has speech that breathes life into her recipients, the apostates have words that bring death to those who heed them.
Notice the heart words used to describe the apostate. They “rejoice” in doing evil. They “delight” in the perverseness of evil. In contrast to the saints who have been given wisdom in the heart, the lack of wisdom in the heart of the apostate is allowed to manifest itself in the joy and delight of evil. Contrary to the way we normally think about those who go off the beaten path, the apostate who was once part of the covenant community and now has forsaken the community does not do so because he or she is ignorant or well-intentioned but misguided. The apostate pursues the crooked path because he or she finds joy and delight in doing so.
As for the adulteress, this passage is just the beginning of Solomon’s description of Madame Folly’s activities, especially as it relates to sexual immorality. It’s hard to miss the harsh and graphic language that Solomon uses to describe the seductive woman (Solomon will continue his depiction of this woman in chapters 5, 7 and 9). Her “house sinks down to death.” Her paths sink to “the departed” or the land of the dead. The house is associated with death and those who visit her end up in the land of the dead. Use of the word “house” brings to mind a dwelling. But it is not a dwelling of God’s presence. It is a dwelling of death.
But again notice the covenantal language. In suggesting that the wayward wife has left her husband, Solomon is also suggesting that she has forsaken God. Forsake the companion. Forget God. Both are to her eternal ruin. In breaking covenant with her marriage partner, she has broken covenant with God. The problem of divorce runs far deeper than the personal relationship with the soon-to-be ex-spouse. Solomon is tying the marriage covenant to the Mosaic covenant.
Malachi picks up on this double meaning here. I’m convinced that Malachi is writing with a copy of Proverbs 2 in one hand and his new parchment in the other. He applies Proverbs 2:17 to the priests of the post-exilic temple, who apparently hadn’t learned the lessons of the exile in running after false gods. God says through Malachi that his covenant with Levi was “one of life and peace…7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. 8 But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi…11 Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god…the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.”
Malachi flips the relationship around, but the meaning is still the same. These priests have broken covenant in pursuing the women and gods of Edom, a pagan nation that began with Esau. God spares no imagery when it comes to describing apostasy from the truth. This forbidden woman and her description is what he thinks of those who pursue adultery and divorce within the guise of the assembly of believers. To forsake the companion is to profane His sanctuary or assembly, the dwelling place for His presence. To forsake the companion is to forsake God himself. One cannot claim they are within the covenant community and yet actively, willfully, and without repentance pursue a breaking of the covenant with their spouse. Profane the marriage and one profanes Christ and the church of which the marriage is a picture. Pursue *any* kind of "walking in the ways of darkness" (vs. 13) and one profanes Christ and His sanctuary-people.