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Proverbs 4-6English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

A Father's Wise Instruction

Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,
    and be attentive, that you may gain[a] insight,
for I give you good precepts;
    do not forsake my teaching.
When I was a son with my father,
    tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
    keep my commandments, and live.
Get wisdom; get insight;
    do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
    love her, and she will guard you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
    and whatever you get, get insight.
Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
    she will honour you if you embrace her.
She will place on your head a graceful garland;
    she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”
10 Hear, my son, and accept my words,
    that the years of your life may be many.
11 I have taught you the way of wisdom;
    I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
12 When you walk, your step will not be hampered,
    and if you run, you will not stumble.
13 Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
    guard her, for she is your life.
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
    and do not walk in the way of the evil.
15 Avoid it; do not go on it;
    turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
    they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
    and drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
    which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
    they do not know over what they stumble.
20 My son, be attentive to my words;
    incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not escape from your sight;
    keep them within your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them,
    and healing to all their[b] flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
    for from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you crooked speech,
    and put devious talk far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly forwards,
    and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder[c] the path of your feet;
    then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
    turn your foot away from evil.

Warning Against Adultery

My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
    incline your ear to my understanding,
that you may keep discretion,
    and your lips may guard knowledge.
For the lips of a forbidden[d] woman drip honey,
    and her speech[e] is smoother than oil,
but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
    sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
    her steps follow the path to[f] Sheol;
she does not ponder the path of life;
    her ways wander, and she does not know it.
And now, O sons, listen to me,
    and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
    and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honour to others
    and your years to the merciless,
10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
    and your labours go to the house of a foreigner,
11 and at the end of your life you groan,
    when your flesh and body are consumed,
12 and you say, “How I hated discipline,
    and my heart despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
    or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 I am at the brink of utter ruin
    in the assembled congregation.”
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
    flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be scattered abroad,
    streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be for yourself alone,
    and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
    and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19     a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
    be intoxicated[g] always in her love.
20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
    and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?[h]
21 For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord,
    and he ponders[i] all his paths.
22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,
    and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
23 He dies for lack of discipline,
    and because of his great folly he is led astray.

Practical Warnings

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbour,
    have given your pledge for a stranger,
if you are snared in the words of your mouth,
    caught in the words of your mouth,
then do this, my son, and save yourself,
    for you have come into the hand of your neighbour:
    go, hasten,[j] and plead urgently with your neighbour.
Give your eyes no sleep
    and your eyelids no slumber;
save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,[k]
    like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Go to the ant, O sluggard;
    consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief,
    officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread in summer
    and gathers her food in harvest.
How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.
12 A worthless person, a wicked man,
    goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals[l] with his feet,
    points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil,
    continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
    in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.
16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.

Warnings Against Adultery

20 My son, keep your father's commandment,
    and forsake not your mother's teaching.
21 Bind them on your heart always;
    tie them round your neck.
22 When you walk, they[m] will lead you;
    when you lie down, they will watch over you;
    and when you awake, they will talk with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
    and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
24 to preserve you from the evil woman,[n]
    from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.[o]
25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
    and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
26 for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread,[p]
    but a married woman[q] hunts down a precious life.
27 Can a man carry fire next to his chest
    and his clothes not be burned?
28 Or can one walk on hot coals
    and his feet not be scorched?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbour's wife;
    none who touches her will go unpunished.
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
    to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,
31 but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold;
    he will give all the goods of his house.
32 He who commits adultery lacks sense;
    he who does it destroys himself.
33 He will get wounds and dishonour,
    and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy makes a man furious,
    and he will not spare when he takes revenge.
35 He will accept no compensation;
    he will refuse though you multiply gifts.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 4:1 Hebrew know
  2. Proverbs 4:22 Hebrew his
  3. Proverbs 4:26 Or Make level
  4. Proverbs 5:3 Hebrew strange; also verse 20
  5. Proverbs 5:3 Hebrew palate
  6. Proverbs 5:5 Hebrew lay hold of
  7. Proverbs 5:19 Hebrew be led astray; also verse 20
  8. Proverbs 5:20 Hebrew a foreign woman
  9. Proverbs 5:21 Or makes level
  10. Proverbs 6:3 Or humble yourself
  11. Proverbs 6:5 Hebrew lacks of the hunter
  12. Proverbs 6:13 Hebrew scrapes
  13. Proverbs 6:22 Hebrew it; three times in this verse
  14. Proverbs 6:24 Revocalization (compare Septuagint) yields from the wife of a neighbour
  15. Proverbs 6:24 Hebrew the foreign woman
  16. Proverbs 6:26 Or (compare Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate) for a prostitute leaves a man with nothing but a loaf of bread
  17. Proverbs 6:26 Hebrew a man's wife
English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

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