Warning Against Adultery

(A)My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
    (B)incline your ear to my understanding,
that you may keep (C)discretion,
    and your lips may (D)guard knowledge.
For the lips of (E)a forbidden[a] woman drip honey,
    and her speech[b] is (F)smoother than oil,
but in the end she is (G)bitter as (H)wormwood,
    (I)sharp as (J)a two-edged sword.
Her feet (K)go down to death;
    her steps follow the path to[c] Sheol;
she (L)does not ponder the path of life;
    her ways wander, and she does not know it.

And (M)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 honor to others
    and your years to the merciless,
10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
    and your (N)labors go to the house of a foreigner,
11 and at the end of your life you (O)groan,
    when your flesh and body are consumed,
12 and you say, (P)“How I hated discipline,
    and my heart (Q)despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
    or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 (R)I am at the brink of utter ruin
    in the assembled congregation.”

15 Drink (S)water from your own cistern,
    flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your (T)springs be scattered abroad,
    streams of water (U)in the streets?
17 (V)Let them be for yourself alone,
    and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your (W)fountain be blessed,
    and (X)rejoice in (Y)the wife of your youth,
19     a lovely (Z)deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts (AA)fill you at all times with delight;
    be intoxicated[d] always in her love.
20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with (AB)a forbidden woman
    and embrace the bosom of (AC)an adulteress?[e]
21 For (AD)a man's ways are (AE)before the eyes of the Lord,
    and he (AF)ponders[f] all his paths.
22 The (AG)iniquities of the wicked (AH)ensnare him,
    and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
23 (AI)He dies for lack of discipline,
    and because of his great folly he is (AJ)led astray.

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 5:3 Hebrew strange; also verse 20
  2. Proverbs 5:3 Hebrew palate
  3. Proverbs 5:5 Hebrew lay hold of
  4. Proverbs 5:19 Hebrew be led astray; also verse 20
  5. Proverbs 5:20 Hebrew a foreign woman
  6. Proverbs 5:21 Or makes level

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