When instructing teenagers in matters of chastity, it is natural to turn to Proverbs 5 and 7. Solomon is speaking to his sons there, and in those two chapters he paints a vivid portrait of what sexual sin is really like. He pulls no punches about the tactile allure of the immoral woman. “Her lips drip honey; her mouth is smoother than oil.” The imagery of how it all ends is equally tactile. “She is like a two-edged sword.” French kiss that!
All this is great stuff. I’d love to see someone make a 3-minute animated featurette of Proverbs 7 to show to teenaged boys. That would be something.
But what about the girls?
I mean, we can point at the same passages and say, “Don’t be that girl,” but let’s face it, that’s not where the temptation really lies. Young virgins are mostly not tempted to become whores.
When one of our girls falls into immorality, what does she say?
- “He told me he loved me.”
- “I love him.”
- “I never felt like that about anybody before.”
- “You don’t understand — what we have is special.”
So where does the Bible speak to the kind of temptations represented in our most common experience?
The Song of Songs.
The Song is not a book bulging with commands. Mostly it’s very frank love poetry. Why would we give that to an unmarried teenaged girl? Because the commands that are in the book are addressed to her. “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, not to stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” Three times the Shulamite gives the daughters of Jerusalem this pointed command. Who are the daughters of Jerusalem? Unmarried young women. In that culture, they would have to be young teenagers — everybody got married in their teens.
Upon reflection, this is not surprising.
In a world where expectations for romance are set by movies like Twilight, to what Scripture do we turn to teach our daughters about real romance? To the book that talks about it.
“Daughters of Jerusalem.” How did we miss that?
Ironically, my next teaching text in my (men’s only!) group is 1 Cor 7:25ff about “virgins,” and Paul goes on to cite the marriage choice of both the man and the woman in 7:27-28 as the appropriate “do over” corrective to the divorce choice of both man and woman in 7:10-11.