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Warning Against the Strange Woman

My child, guard my sayings;
    store my commandments with you.
Keep my commands and live,
    and my teaching like the apple of your eye.[a]
Bind them on your fingers;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom,[b] “you are my sister,”
    and you shall call insight,[c]intimate friend.”[d]
In order to guard yourself from an adulteress,[e]
    from the foreigner who makes her words smooth.[f]
For at the window of my house,
    through my lattice, I looked down.
And I saw among the simple,
    I observed among the youth,
    a young man lacking sense,[g]
passing on the street at[h] her corner,
    and he takes the road to her house,
at twilight, at the day’s evening,
    in the midst of night and the darkness.
10 Then behold! A woman comes to meet him
    with the garment of a prostitute[i] and a secret heart.[j]
11 She is loud and stubborn;
    her feet do not stay at her house.
12 Now in the street, now in the square,
    at[k] every corner she lies in wait.
13 She took hold of [l] him and kissed him.
    Her face was impudent, and she said to him,
14 “Sacrifices of peace offerings are upon me;
    today[m] I completed my vows.
15 So[n] I have come out to meet you,
    to seek your face, and I have found you.
16 With coverings I have adorned my couch,
    spreads of the linen of Egypt;
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,
    aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love making,
    until the morning let us delight in love.
19 For there is no man[o] in his home;
    he has gone on a long journey.[p]
20 The bag of money he took in his hand,
    for on the day of the full moon he will come home.”
21 She persuades him with the greatness of her teachings;
    with her smooth lips she compels him.
22 He goes after her suddenly;
    like an ox to the slaughter he goes,
    and like a stag to the instruction of a fool,
23 until an arrow pierces his entrails,[q]
    like a bird rushing into a snare,
    but he does not know that it will cost him his life.[r]

Reiteration of the Warning Against a Strange Woman

24 And now, my children, listen to me,
    and be attentive to the sayings of my mouth.
25 May your heart not turn aside to her ways;
    do not stray into her path.
26 For many slain she has laid low,
    and countless[s] are all of her killings.
27 The ways of Sheol[t] are her house,
    descending to chambers of death.


  1. Proverbs 7:2 A single word meaning “pupil of the eye”
  2. Proverbs 7:4 Hebrew “the wisdom”
  3. Proverbs 7:4 Hebrew “the insight”
  4. Proverbs 7:4 Literally “one who is known.” To “know” is often a euphemism for intercourse. Therefore “intimate friend” may also be read “lover.”
  5. Proverbs 7:5 Literally “a strange woman”
  6. Proverbs 7:5 Literally “causes to be smooth her words”
  7. Proverbs 7:7 Literally “heart”
  8. Proverbs 7:8 Literally “at the place of”
  9. Proverbs 7:10 Or “whore”
  10. Proverbs 7:10 Literally “secret of heart”
  11. Proverbs 7:12 Literally “at the place of”
  12. Proverbs 7:13 Or “strengthened”
  13. Proverbs 7:14 Literally “the day”
  14. Proverbs 7:15 Hebrew “thus”
  15. Proverbs 7:19 Or “husband”
  16. Proverbs 7:19 Literally “a journey from far”
  17. Proverbs 7:23 Literally “heaviness,” often referring to the liver
  18. Proverbs 7:23 Literally “it is against his life”
  19. Proverbs 7:26 Or “strong men”
  20. Proverbs 7:27 A term for the place where the dead reside, i.e., the Underworld