Warnings Against Adultery

20 (A)My son, keep your father's commandment,
    (B)and forsake not your mother's teaching.
21 (C)Bind them on your heart always;
    (D)tie them around your neck.
22 (E)When you walk, they[a] will lead you;
    (F)when you lie down, they will (G)watch over you;
    and when you awake, they will talk with you.
23 For the commandment is (H)a lamp and the teaching a light,
    and the (I)reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
24 to preserve you from the evil woman,[b]
    from the smooth tongue of (J)the adulteress.[c]
25 (K)Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
    and do not let her capture you with her (L)eyelashes;
26 for (M)the price of a prostitute is only (N)a loaf of bread,[d]
    but a married woman[e] (O)hunts down a precious life.
27 Can a man carry (P)fire next to his (Q)chest
    and his clothes not be burned?
28 Or can one (R)walk on hot coals
    and his feet not be scorched?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife;
    none who touches her (S)will go unpunished.
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
    to (T)satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,
31 but (U)if he is caught, he will pay (V)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 dishonor,
    and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
34 For (W)jealousy makes a man furious,
    and he will not spare when (X)he takes revenge.
35 He will accept no compensation;
    he will refuse though you multiply gifts.

Warning Against the Adulteress

(Y)My son, keep my words
    and (Z)treasure up my commandments with you;
(AA)keep my commandments and live;
    keep my teaching as (AB)the apple of your eye;
(AC)bind them on your fingers;
    (AD)write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
    and call insight your intimate friend,
to keep you from (AE)the forbidden[f] woman,
    from (AF)the adulteress[g] with her smooth words.

For at (AG)the window of my house
    I have looked out through my lattice,
and I have seen among (AH)the simple,
    I have perceived among the youths,
    a young man (AI)lacking sense,
passing along the street (AJ)near her corner,
    taking the road to her house
in (AK)the twilight, in the evening,
    at (AL)the time of night and darkness.

10 And behold, the woman meets him,
    (AM)dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.[h]
11 She is (AN)loud and (AO)wayward;
    (AP)her feet do not stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the market,
    and (AQ)at every corner she (AR)lies in wait.
13 She seizes him and kisses him,
    and with (AS)bold face she says to him,
14 “I had to (AT)offer sacrifices,[i]
    and today I have (AU)paid my vows;
15 so now I have come out to meet you,
    to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
16 I have spread my couch with (AV)coverings,
    colored linens from (AW)Egyptian linen;
17 I have perfumed my bed with (AX)myrrh,
    aloes, and (AY)cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;
    let us delight ourselves with love.
19 For (AZ)my husband is not at home;
    he has gone on a long journey;
20 he took a bag of money with him;
    at full moon he will come home.”

21 With much seductive speech she persuades him;
    with (BA)her smooth talk she compels him.
22 All at once he follows her,
    as an ox goes to the slaughter,
or as a stag is caught fast[j]
23     till an arrow pierces its liver;
as (BB)a bird rushes into a snare;
    he does not know that it will cost him his life.

24 And (BC)now, O sons, listen to me,
    and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;
    do not stray into her paths,
26 for many a victim has she laid low,
    and all her slain are (BD)a mighty throng.
27 Her house is (BE)the way to Sheol,
    going down to the chambers of death.


  1. Proverbs 6:22 Hebrew it; three times in this verse
  2. Proverbs 6:24 Revocalization (compare Septuagint) yields from the wife of a neighbor
  3. Proverbs 6:24 Hebrew the foreign woman
  4. Proverbs 6:26 Or (compare Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate) for a prostitute leaves a man with nothing but a loaf of bread
  5. Proverbs 6:26 Hebrew a man's wife
  6. Proverbs 7:5 Hebrew strange
  7. Proverbs 7:5 Hebrew the foreign woman
  8. Proverbs 7:10 Hebrew guarded in heart
  9. Proverbs 7:14 Hebrew peace offerings
  10. Proverbs 7:22 Probable reading (compare Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac); Hebrew as a chain to discipline a fool

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