I am starting the Proverbs of Solomon. I think it is far more interesting to read the words of the characters in question rather than the histories of them. The earlier parts of the bible certainly have value... they lay out the context, which is really important. But the histories are, for the most part, detached from the actual characters involved. With a few exceptions, the histories never get into the heads of the folks they are describing. (There are wonderful side effects of that sometimes, though. Like when we hear the kids taunting Elisha... " Hey Baldy!" I am guessing if it was a first person narrative that story would have been described differently! LOL)
So, on to the Proverbs. Solomon says at least three times in the opening chapters not to get involved with married women. Oh, the consequences are dire. Their tactics at seduction irresistable. Why not be satisfied with the breasts of your own wife? All this protesting convinces me that dear Solomon must have learned this particular lesson the hard way. I think it is hilarious that in his world, the adulteress is the one at fault, luring helpless married men to their doom.
Here's the thing though. As a woman married for almost 17 years, I have come to believe in the idea of marriage as a sacrament. It is one of the aspects of life that Jesus speaks to explicitly.
Since becoming a Christian, I have felt that my marriage has been more important to me. In the past, I would joke that the only reason I stay with my husband is because I love my in-laws so much. Actually, I still make that joke... but the truth is that I have been much more focused on choosing what is healthy for our marriage than I ever was before. Something shifted after the Big Dunk. I began to realize that what is most important is living a Loving, Godly, life. And that is most possible for me when I am focusing on my ministry of not driving my family insane. (I wonder if, for Lent, I should give up nagging?) In marriage, as in all things, the question that comes at the crossroads of life is: does this enhance or hurt my relationship with God? To me, that question is pivotal. It has kept me clear of all kinds of difficult and destructive situations. My ministry is well served when the answer to that question is 'enhanced'.
So, as funny as King Solomon's diatribes are, I think they ring true for me. He may be a tad hyperbolic when he says that adultery leads to death... but I can buy that it would be a spiritual death if not a physical one. Anything that separates you from God is a kind of death. Anything that distracts you from your relationship with God is, for me, the very definition of sin.
That Solomon. He was a pretty smart guy.
It's a shame he ended up on God's shit list.