Ah, the seductress, once again she visits us to tempt and deceive, to lure and entrap. Solomon uses her to paint a picture of how we can allow flattery and desire to mislead and betray us. He describes her as brazen and brash, as roaming the streets and lying in wait for just the right time to approach, using our cravings to entice us into sin. She snares us by our own folly, and we willingly follow her down the path of destruction and death.
While reading this chapter, I couldn’t help thinking of “The Lord of the Rings.” The details with which the story is related, reminded me of the tale of the Nazgûl, the nine black riders, who once were mighty kings and whose greed and lust for power became their undoing, distorting and disfiguring them, transforming them into hideous, unrecognizable creatures. Like the naïve young man in Solomon’s account, they were seduced by the promises of forbidden fruit, and through their eager acceptance of the dark lord’s gifts, they became enslaved to his will.
We have all, at one time or another, been in Solomon’s shoes, looking out upon a scene we know will not end well, watching from a distance as a loved one makes a wrong turn, seeing the outcome as if someone had drawn a diagram on a chalkboard. If only they could see what we are seeing, the traps that have been set, the heartache, the devastation waiting in the shadows. We can protect ourselves from the snares of the seductress, and Solomon tells us that wisdom’s voice is the only guard we have against her, that the temptations of our worldly desires can be waylaid through talking to wisdom as if she’s a sister, and through treating her insight as a constant companion.