[25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways
or stray into her paths.]
26 Many are the victims she has brought down;
her slain are a mighty throng.
There was a point in the story of the senseless youth in which he must have felt lucky, as if he had a rare opportunity before him. This is the excitement of rebellion, of breaking the rules and finding your own way – of living life on your own terms. This is what the adulteress appealed to (v.15) when she said “I looked for you and have found you!” But the truth is that he wasn’t lucky, there is nothing more commonplace than sin. Her victims are “many,” those who think of themselves as rebels are “a mighty throng.”
This is yet another way that temptation contradicts itself. In one moment it appeals to your pride – telling you that you’re special, you can handle the consequences and escape justice. But in the next it appeals to your fears – you are told that everyone is doing it and you’d better not miss out on the fun. Each appeal is partially true, which makes both of them lies. Tolstoy wrote that “happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” There is some truth here as well, but the reality is that the world is full of complicated and unhappy families – it is the simply happy family that is truly special.