Warnings against adultery feature again in Proverbs 6, (vs 20-35), a vivid reminder that we shouldn’t take this advice lightly. This time, the focus is on jealousy and theft, with reminders that all sin begins in the mind long before it’s translated into visible action (Prov 6:25, see also James 1:14-15 and Matt 5:27-30). But the chapter also looks at other aspects of wisdom, including the avoidance of sloth (again, no longer viewed by society as much of a sin at all!) and living in society, including a reminder of things the Lord hates (Prov 6:16-19): “eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family.” ,

Proverbs is such a useful book to us because it shows us our own hearts (including the duplicity and sin within) and also shows us the context in which we must live (in families, in communities, in society). John Donne said that ‘no man is an island’, and Proverbs shows us this clearly, looking at how we should relate to others and to God. Many of us like the idea of a desert island in Paradise, without anyone else to trouble us or cause us to stumble! Sadly, this notion is just a fantasy. The reality is we need others and need to learn how to relate to them.

Proverbs is full of practical advice and is always up-to-date, for ultimately human nature does not change and we still need guidelines for wise living today.