In the book of Proverbs there is a strong relationship between ethics and sanctions. Most of the Proverbs were written by the son of David, Solomon. In Proverbs, the first nine chapters have an introduction. This is not seen in any other book in the entire Bible. In the introductions of Proverbs it is extremely clear that Solomon is talking and giving instruction to his son. An example of one of these introductions is Proverbs 1:1-6,
1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
In Proverbs wisdom is described as a female. An example for this is Proverbs 8:1-6,
8 Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 At the highest point along the way,
where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
3 beside the gate leading into the city,
at the entrance, she cries aloud:
4 “To you, O people, I call out;
I raise my voice to all mankind.
5 You who are simple, gain prudence;
you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.
6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.
Wickedness is also described as a female. In Proverbs 5:1-6,
5 My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
turn your ear to my words of insight,
2 that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.
3 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;
4 but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.
6 She gives no thought to the way of life;
her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.
In Proverbs wickedness is defined as the “strange woman”. Solomon is teaching his son not to go down the path of wickedness. He tells his son a story of a man who was walking on a road then a woman (wickedness) came out to meet him. She tells him that she wants him and she entices him to follow her back to her house. He follows because of what she said and when they get to her house she kills him. You can find this story in Proverbs 7.
My favorite verses in the Bible are in Proverbs. It is Proverbs 6:6-8,
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
These verses talk about not being lazy.
The relationship between ethics and sanctions is very significant in Proverbs. It is also very powerful.