For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:
The treacherous seductress, in Solomon’s drama of the ruin of a young man by adultery (6-23), entices her victim by promising safety for their secret liaison. Lying no less than Satan to Eve, she tells him no harm will come, for her husband is long gone. Lying no less than Delilah to Samson, she does not tell him that his God is not on a long journey!
The older English word “goodman” means the master or male head of a household or other establishment, a householder in relation to his wife, a husband. The sly Jezebel speaks of her husband distantly and disrespectfully (2:17), to keep both consciences silent from thinking of her innocent husband, her lover from her youth.
Using male pronouns like “he” and “him” to slight her diligent husband (19-20), she suggests her own bed as a safe place for the rendezvous (16-17). She offers much time for great lovemaking, as he will be gone a good while (20). See the comments on 7:18. It is wisdom from heaven for women to maintain the reverence of Sarah (I Pet 3:5-6).
She further speaks of her husband’s long journey, and implies frequent business trips by it, to solicit sympathy from the fool that she is lonely and needs his love and affection.
Our nation now entertains with such intrigues by songs, novels, and movies. Adultery is epidemic and even encouraged by some psychologists for a woman to find her true heart and potential. But what does the LORD say about such immoral and wicked activities?
Such a story as this would be a great plot for a movie or novel today, and the whore would be the heroine. All would enjoy her arts of beguiling the young man; her conquest would be celebrated as the triumph of love; the drama would conclude pleasantly; and most young men that saw or read it would desire to be so lucky. Thus fools make a mock at sin (14:9). Thus Satan sells his poison (Ps 101:3). But what does the LORD say?
He condemns both parties to death (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22-24; II Sam 12:13; John 8:5). What if both were consenting? It is a sin worthy of death (Heb 13:4; Rev 21:8)! A husband in Israel returning from a business trip could take his wife to the priests for the test of jealousy, with no need for circumstantial evidence. If she were guilty of sexual infidelity, her belly would swell and her genitals would rot (Num 5:11-31).
Business trips are often more dangerous for men, for there are many temptations in a fine hotel far from home, with much time, luxurious food and wine, and anonymity. Let every man that nameth the name of Christ limit his travels and keep his vessel (I Thess 4:1-8). To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Let Joseph be your example (Gen 39:7-12).
Keep your marital separations to a minimum. Separation only makes the heart grow fonder, if both parties are godly and the separation necessary. Otherwise, spouses have daily lovemaking obligations, and unnecessary separations become covenant breaking and defrauding and give sexual place to Satan (I Cor 7:1-5).
A virtuous woman can always be trusted, no matter where she is (31:10-12). Yet to be safe, women should limit and guard their time away from home (7:11-12; I Tim 5:12-15), for the woman is an easy target for seduction (30:19-20; Gen 3:1-6; I Tim 2:14; I Pet 3:7). She can help herself much by staying busy at home (31:13-27; Titus 2:3-5). And she must have fulfilling and frequent lovemaking with her husband (I Cor 7:1-5).
Though a husband leaves for a long business trip, the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil wife and the good wife, and be sure her sin will find her out (15:3; Num 32:23). The husband far from home should remember that God watches his sexual intentions and actions carefully (5:21; Job 34:22; Jer 23:24; Heb 4:13). Beware!
Dear reader, our goodman will soon return, the Lord of glory, our bridegroom (Matt 24:42-51; Mark 13:34-37; I Thess 3:13; 5:1-10; II Pet 3:9-17). Will He find you waiting in adoring purity and faithfulness? Or in bed with the world (James 4:4)?