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Warning against Impurity and Infidelity

My child, be attentive to my wisdom;
    incline your ear to my understanding,(A)
so that you may hold on to prudence,
    and your lips may guard knowledge.
For the lips of a loose woman[a] drip honey,
    and her speech is smoother than oil,(B)
but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
    sharp as a two-edged sword.(C)
Her feet go down to death;
    her steps follow the path to Sheol.
She does not keep straight to the path of life;
    her ways wander, and she does not know it.

And now, my child,[b] listen to me,
    and do not depart from the words of my mouth.(D)
Keep your way far from her,
    and do not go near the door of her house,(E)
lest you give your honor to others
    and your years to the merciless,
10 and strangers take their fill of your wealth,
    and your labors go to the house of an alien,
11 and at the end of your life you groan,
    when your flesh and body are consumed,
12 and you say, “Oh, how I hated discipline,
    and my heart despised reproof!(F)
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
    or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 Now I am at the point of utter ruin
    in the public assembly.”

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?(G)
17 Let them be for yourself alone
    and not for sharing with strangers.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
    and rejoice in the wife of your youth,(H)
19     a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
May her breasts satisfy you at all times;
    may you be intoxicated always by her love.(I)
20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, by another woman
    and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?[c](J)
21 For human ways are under the eyes of the Lord,
    and he examines all their paths.(K)
22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare them,
    and they are caught in the coils of their sin.(L)
23 They die for lack of discipline,
    and because of their great folly they are lost.(M)

Practical Admonitions

My child, if you have given your pledge to your neighbor,
    if you have bound yourself to another,[d](N)
you are snared by the utterance of your lips,[e]
    caught by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my child, and save yourself,
    for you have come into your neighbor’s power:
    go, hurry,[f] and plead with your neighbor.
Give your eyes no sleep
    and your eyelids no slumber;(O)
save yourself like a gazelle from the hunter,[g]
    like a bird from the hand of the fowler.(P)

Go to the ant, you lazybones;
    consider its ways and be wise.(Q)
Without having any chief
    or officer or ruler,
it prepares its food in summer
    and gathers its sustenance in harvest.(R)
How long will you lie there, O lazybones?
    When will you rise from your sleep?(S)
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 warrior.(T)

12 A scoundrel and a villain
    goes around with crooked speech,(U)
13 winking the eyes, shuffling the feet,
    pointing the fingers,(V)
14 with perverted mind devising evil,
    continually sowing discord;(W)
15 on such a one calamity will descend suddenly,
    in a moment, damage beyond repair.(X)

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,(Y)
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that hurry to run to evil,(Z)
19 a lying witness who testifies falsely,
    and one who sows discord in a family.(AA)

20 My child, keep your father’s commandment,
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.(AB)
21 Bind them upon your heart always;
    tie them around your neck.(AC)
22 When you walk, they[h] will lead you;
    when you lie down, they[i] will watch over you;
    and when you awake, they[j] will talk with you.(AD)
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
    and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,(AE)
24 to preserve you from the wife of another,[k]
    from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.[l](AF)
25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
    and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes,(AG)
26 for a prostitute’s fee is only a loaf of bread,[m]
    but the wife of another stalks a man’s precious life.(AH)
27 Can fire be carried in the bosom
    without burning one’s clothes?
28 Or can one walk on hot coals
    without scorching the feet?
29 So is he who sleeps with his neighbor’s wife;
    no one who touches her will go unpunished.(AI)
30 Thieves are not despised who steal only
    to satisfy their appetite when they are hungry.
31 Yet if they are caught, they will pay sevenfold;
    they will forfeit all the goods of their house.(AJ)
32 But he who commits adultery has no sense;
    he who does it destroys himself.(AK)
33 He will get wounds and dishonor,
    and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury,
    and he will show no restraint when he takes revenge.(AL)
35 He will accept no compensation
    and will refuse a bribe no matter how great.


  1. 5.3 Heb strange woman
  2. 5.7 Gk Vg: Heb children
  3. 5.20 Heb alien woman
  4. 6.1 Or a stranger
  5. 6.2 Cn Compare Gk Syr: Heb the words of your mouth
  6. 6.3 Or humble yourself
  7. 6.5 Cn: Heb from the hand
  8. 6.22 Heb it
  9. 6.22 Heb it
  10. 6.22 Heb it
  11. 6.24 Gk: MT the evil woman
  12. 6.24 Heb alien woman
  13. 6.26 Cn Compare Gk Syr Vg Tg: Heb for because of a harlot to a piece of bread