Jesus says in the gospel of Matthew [paraphrasing] "if you look at a woman and lust for her, you have already sinned in your heart."

In proverbs, they say, [again, paraphrasing] "let her [the companion of your youth] breasts satisfy you."

Is that not lust? Aren't these two messages contradicting each other?

  • 8
    If Proverbs doesn't use the word 'lust', why would you think that Proverbs is describing it?
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 19, 2015 at 1:30
  • @curiousdannii Because (noun) lust : very strong sexual desire. That sounds like a very strong sexual desire to me. Sep 20, 2015 at 12:11
  • Which dictionary is that from? In any case, you should edit this to explain in detail why you think the verses are related.
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 20, 2015 at 12:14
  • 2
    Context context context.
    – Dan
    Nov 28, 2016 at 19:28

2 Answers 2


The context of Matthew is adultery--relations with a woman who is not your wife. The context of Proverbs is marriage--relations with the woman who is your wife. The difference is quite substantial.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28 ESV

Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. Proverbs 5:18-19 NAS

God actually created sexual intimacy to be fully enjoyed within the marriage relationship. Adultery, however, is a corruption of that holiest of relationships which destroys intimacy. Thus, it is strictly forbidden in both thought and deed, for our own good.

So, there is no contradiction at all.

  • I thought adultery was relations with a married woman. Do you take adultery to mean relations with any woman to whom you are not married? Jun 13, 2013 at 13:14
  • 18
    @user1477388 I would suggest that the prohibition against adultery includes all sexual intimacy outside of marriage. If the only prohibition were to married individuals, then people could elect not to get married and then be free to have as many partners as they wanted. It would be a pretty difficult case to make that this was God's intent. God created the marriage relationship as the first human to human relationship.
    – Narnian
    Jun 13, 2013 at 13:20

There is a difference between lust and desire. Lust is objectification and a need for gratuitous power. Lust is when a man has a lot of toys, like guns, boats, lawn mowers, and one of those toys is a woman (or women).

Desire is a natural feeling one has towards someone or thing which causes that person to fully know himself(herself).

Within the context of marriage any attempt at lust, whether towards one's spouse or another person will finally result in the lust(ee) facing his or herself and the emptiness that causes them to want power. Desire is more an attempt to know and be known.

  • Matthew 5:27-28 is often (and probably more properly) translated as "desire" Nov 28, 2016 at 15:28

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