5 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel. 2 Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned. 3 For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil. 4 But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.[a] 6 For she cares nothing about the path to life. She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.
7 So now, my sons, listen to me. Never stray from what I am about to say: 8 Stay away from her! Don’t go near the door of her house! 9 If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved. 10 Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor. 11 In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body. 12 You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings! 13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors? 14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.”
15 Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife.[b] 16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone?[c] 17 You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers.
18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. 20 Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?
21 For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. 22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. 23 He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.
Lessons for Daily Life
6 My child,[d] if you have put up security for a friend’s debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger— 2 if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said— 3 follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased. 4 Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do. 5 Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net.
6 Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! 7 Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, 8 they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. 9 But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? 10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— 11 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
12 What are worthless and wicked people like? They are constant liars, 13 signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers. 14 Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble. 15 But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing.
16 There are six things the Lord hates— no, seven things he detests: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, 18 a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, 19 a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.
20 My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. 21 Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you. 23 For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life. 24 It will keep you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman. 25 Don’t lust for her beauty. Don’t let her coy glances seduce you. 26 For a prostitute will bring you to poverty,[e] but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life. 27 Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire? 28 Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? 29 So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished.
30 Excuses might be found for a thief who steals because he is starving. 31 But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole, even if he has to sell everything in his house. 32 But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself. 33 He will be wounded and disgraced. His shame will never be erased. 34 For the woman’s jealous husband will be furious, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. 35 He will accept no compensation, nor be satisfied with a payoff of any size.
Another Warning about Immoral Women
7 Follow my advice, my son; always treasure my commands. 2 Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes.[f] 3 Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.
4 Love wisdom like a sister; make insight a beloved member of your family. 5 Let them protect you from an affair with an immoral woman, from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman.
6 While I was at the window of my house, looking through the curtain, 7 I saw some naive young men, and one in particular who lacked common sense. 8 He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house. 9 It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness fell. 10 The woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart. 11 She was the brash, rebellious type, never content to stay at home. 12 She is often in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner. 13 She threw her arms around him and kissed him, and with a brazen look she said, 14 “I’ve just made my peace offerings and fulfilled my vows. 15 You’re the one I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are! 16 My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen. 17 I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning. Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses, 19 for my husband is not home. He’s away on a long trip. 20 He has taken a wallet full of money with him and won’t return until later this month.[g]”
21 So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. 22 He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap,[h] 23 awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life.
24 So listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words. 25 Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her. Don’t wander down her wayward path. 26 For she has been the ruin of many; many men have been her victims. 27 Her house is the road to the grave.[i] Her bedroom is the den of death.
Wisdom Calls for a Hearing
8 Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice! 2 On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads. 3 By the gates at the entrance to the town, on the road leading in, she cries aloud, 4 “I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people. 5 You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding. 6 Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right, 7 for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception. 8 My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. 9 My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge. 10 Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. 11 For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.
12 “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. 13 All who fear the Lord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. 14 Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine. 15 Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees. 16 Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments.[j]
17 “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. 18 I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice. 19 My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver! 20 I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice. 21 Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries.
22 “The Lord formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. 23 I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. 24 I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. 25 Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born— 26 before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil. 27 I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. 28 I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. 29 I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations, 30 I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence. 31 And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!
32 “And so, my children,[k] listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. 34 Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! 35 For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. 36 But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.”
9 Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven columns. 2 She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table. 3 She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city. 4 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says, 5 “Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. 6 Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.”
7 Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. 8 So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. 9 Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
11 Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. 12 If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.
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