Honey is one of my favorite condiments. I even like it straight-up by itself (I guess then it would be a beverage)! My grandparents had a honey bear bottle from which to dispense honey that I often went “bottoms-up” with. Honey is even good for you when used in moderation. In the Bible, honey was sometimes used as a gift (Genesis 43:11, 1 Kings 14:3), but most often is referenced to depict the Promised Land: “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8). Honey is also used to describe deception as well. “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil,” (Proverbs 5:3, ESV). What a picture by the wise father of a difficult temptation.
A “forbidden woman” sounds like pretty serious language. The KJV renders “strange woman,” which means something a little different in our modern English than what the Hebrew phrase refers to. Maybe a closer translation to the original would be “a woman who is a stranger,” this gets the meaning across. A “stranger” to what though? When God was giving instruction and warning to the Israelites about destroying the inhabitants of the land when they took it, He also commanded, “You shall not intermarry with them,” (Deuteronomy 7:3a). God did not make this statement because he opposes interracial marriage, but rather because “the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24). He knew that outsiders would turn His precious children away from Him. Thus, warned them against marrying foreign people, or strangers, who worship other gods.
The temptation was great though. The Israelites, like us, are as children who are told they cannot have something. Their desire for it explodes. That is Satan getting the best of our emotions. If someone who is married tries to catch your eye, or if neither of you are married, but they are not a Christian, consider them forbidden. Remember this, “in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword” (Proverbs 5:4). You can know that her path will not lead to anything good and “she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it” (Proverbs 5:5-6). Do not let Satan tempt you down the forbidden path with honey.