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.

Practical Warnings

My son, if you have put up (AK)security for your neighbor,
    have (AL)given your pledge for a stranger,
if you are (AM)snared in the words of your mouth,
    caught in the words of your mouth,
then do this, my son, and save yourself,
    for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:
    go, hasten,[g] and (AN)plead urgently with your neighbor.
(AO)Give your eyes no sleep
    and your eyelids no slumber;
save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,[h]
    (AP)like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

(AQ)Go to (AR)the ant, O (AS)sluggard;
    consider her ways, and (AT)be wise.
(AU)Without having any chief,
    (AV)officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread (AW)in summer
    and (AX)gathers her food in harvest.
(AY)How long will you lie there, (AZ)O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?
10 (BA)A little sleep, a little slumber,
    (BB)a little (BC)folding of the hands to rest,
11 (BD)and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.

12 (BE)A worthless person, a wicked man,
    goes about with (BF)crooked speech,
13 (BG)winks with his eyes, signals[i] with his feet,
    points with his finger,
14 with (BH)perverted heart (BI)devises evil,
    continually (BJ)sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
    (BK)in a moment he will be broken (BL)beyond healing.

16 There are (BM)six things that the Lord hates,
    (BN)seven that are an abomination to him:
17 (BO)haughty eyes, (BP)a lying tongue,
    and (BQ)hands that shed innocent blood,
18 (BR)a heart that devises wicked plans,
    (BS)feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 (BT)a false witness who (BU)breathes out lies,
    and one who (BV)sows discord among brothers.

Warnings Against Adultery

20 (BW)My son, keep your father's commandment,
    (BX)and forsake not your mother's teaching.
21 (BY)Bind them on your heart always;
    (BZ)tie them around your neck.
22 (CA)When you walk, they[j] will lead you;
    (CB)when you lie down, they will (CC)watch over you;
    and when you awake, they will talk with you.
23 For the commandment is (CD)a lamp and the teaching a light,
    and the (CE)reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
24 to preserve you from the evil woman,[k]
    from the smooth tongue of (CF)the adulteress.[l]
25 (CG)Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
    and do not let her capture you with her (CH)eyelashes;
26 for (CI)the price of a prostitute is only (CJ)a loaf of bread,[m]
    but a married woman[n] (CK)hunts down a precious life.
27 Can a man carry (CL)fire next to his (CM)chest
    and his clothes not be burned?
28 Or can one (CN)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 (CO)will go unpunished.
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
    to (CP)satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,
31 but (CQ)if he is caught, he will pay (CR)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 (CS)jealousy makes a man furious,
    and he will not spare when (CT)he takes revenge.
35 He will accept no compensation;
    he will refuse though you multiply gifts.

Warning Against the Adulteress

(CU)My son, keep my words
    and (CV)treasure up my commandments with you;
(CW)keep my commandments and live;
    keep my teaching as (CX)the apple of your eye;
(CY)bind them on your fingers;
    (CZ)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 (DA)the forbidden[o] woman,
    from (DB)the adulteress[p] with her smooth words.

For at (DC)the window of my house
    I have looked out through my lattice,
and I have seen among (DD)the simple,
    I have perceived among the youths,
    a young man (DE)lacking sense,
passing along the street (DF)near her corner,
    taking the road to her house
in (DG)the twilight, in the evening,
    at (DH)the time of night and darkness.

10 And behold, the woman meets him,
    (DI)dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.[q]
11 She is (DJ)loud and (DK)wayward;
    (DL)her feet do not stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the market,
    and (DM)at every corner she (DN)lies in wait.
13 She seizes him and kisses him,
    and with (DO)bold face she says to him,
14 “I had to (DP)offer sacrifices,[r]
    and today I have (DQ)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 (DR)coverings,
    colored linens from (DS)Egyptian linen;
17 I have perfumed my bed with (DT)myrrh,
    aloes, and (DU)cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;
    let us delight ourselves with love.
19 For (DV)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 (DW)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[s]
23     till an arrow pierces its liver;
as (DX)a bird rushes into a snare;
    he does not know that it will cost him his life.

24 And (DY)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 (DZ)a mighty throng.
27 Her house is (EA)the way to Sheol,
    going down to the chambers of death.

The Blessings of Wisdom

Does not (EB)wisdom call?
    Does not (EC)understanding raise her voice?
On (ED)the heights beside the way,
    at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside (EE)the gates in front of (EF)the town,
    at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:
“To you, O (EG)men, I call,
    and my cry is to (EH)the children of man.
O (EI)simple ones, learn (EJ)prudence;
    O (EK)fools, learn sense.
Hear, for I will speak (EL)noble things,
    and from my lips will come (EM)what is right,
for my (EN)mouth will utter truth;
    wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are righteous;
    there is nothing (EO)twisted or crooked in them.
They are all (EP)straight to him who understands,
    and right to those who find knowledge.
10 (EQ)Take my instruction instead of silver,
    and knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 (ER)for wisdom is better than jewels,
    and (ES)all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
    and I find knowledge and (ET)discretion.
13 (EU)The fear of the Lord is (EV)hatred of evil.
(EW)Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
    and (EX)perverted speech I hate.
14 I have (EY)counsel and (EZ)sound wisdom;
    I have insight; (FA)I have strength.
15 By me (FB)kings reign,
    and rulers decree what is just;
16 by me princes rule,
    and nobles, all who govern justly.[t]
17 (FC)I love those who love me,
    and (FD)those who seek me diligently find me.
18 (FE)Riches and honor are with me,
    (FF)enduring wealth and (FG)righteousness.
19 My fruit is (FH)better than (FI)gold, even fine gold,
    and my yield than (FJ)choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    in the paths of justice,
21 granting an inheritance to those who love me,
    and filling their treasuries.

22 (FK)“The Lord (FL)possessed[u] me at the beginning of his work,[v]
    the first of his acts (FM)of old.
23 Ages ago I was (FN)set up,
    at the first, (FO)before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no (FP)depths I was (FQ)brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains (FR)had been shaped,
    (FS)before the hills, I was brought forth,
26 before he had made the earth with its fields,
    or the first of the dust of the world.
27 When he (FT)established the heavens, I was there;
    when he drew (FU)a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he (FV)made firm the skies above,
    when he established[w] the fountains of the deep,
29 when he (FW)assigned to the sea its (FX)limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out (FY)the foundations of the earth,
30     then (FZ)I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his[x] (GA)delight,
    rejoicing before him always,
31 (GB)rejoicing in his (GC)inhabited world
    and delighting in the children of man.

32 “And now, (GD)O sons, listen to me:
    (GE)blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 (GF)Hear instruction and be wise,
    and do not neglect it.
34 (GG)Blessed is the one who listens to me,
    watching daily at my gates,
    waiting beside my doors.
35 For (GH)whoever finds me (GI)finds life
    and (GJ)obtains favor from the Lord,
36 but he who fails to find me (GK)injures himself;
    all who (GL)hate me (GM)love death.”

The Way of Wisdom

(GN)Wisdom has built her house;
    she has hewn her (GO)seven (GP)pillars.
She has (GQ)slaughtered her beasts; she has (GR)mixed her wine;
    she has also (GS)set her table.
She has (GT)sent out her young women to (GU)call
    from (GV)the highest places in the town,
(GW)“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
    (GX)To him who lacks sense she says,
“Come, (GY)eat of my bread
    and (GZ)drink of (HA)the wine I have mixed.
Leave (HB)your simple ways,[y] and (HC)live,
    (HD)and walk in the way of insight.”

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
    and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
(HE)Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
    (HF)reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction[z] to a wise man, and he will be (HG)still wiser;
    teach a righteous man, and he will (HH)increase in learning.
10 (HI)The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and (HJ)the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11 For by me (HK)your days will be multiplied,
    and years will be added to your life.
12 (HL)If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
    if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

The Way of Folly

13 (HM)The woman Folly is (HN)loud;
    she is seductive[aa] and (HO)knows nothing.
14 She sits at the door of her house;
    she takes a seat on (HP)the highest places of the town,
15 calling to those who pass by,
    who are (HQ)going straight on their way,
16 (HR)“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
    And to him who lacks sense she says,
17 (HS)“Stolen water is sweet,
    and (HT)bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18 But he does not know (HU)that the dead[ab] are there,
    that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.


  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
  7. Proverbs 6:3 Or humble yourself
  8. Proverbs 6:5 Hebrew lacks of the hunter
  9. Proverbs 6:13 Hebrew scrapes
  10. Proverbs 6:22 Hebrew it; three times in this verse
  11. Proverbs 6:24 Revocalization (compare Septuagint) yields from the wife of a neighbor
  12. Proverbs 6:24 Hebrew the foreign woman
  13. Proverbs 6:26 Or (compare Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate) for a prostitute leaves a man with nothing but a loaf of bread
  14. Proverbs 6:26 Hebrew a man's wife
  15. Proverbs 7:5 Hebrew strange
  16. Proverbs 7:5 Hebrew the foreign woman
  17. Proverbs 7:10 Hebrew guarded in heart
  18. Proverbs 7:14 Hebrew peace offerings
  19. Proverbs 7:22 Probable reading (compare Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac); Hebrew as a chain to discipline a fool
  20. Proverbs 8:16 Most Hebrew manuscripts; many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint govern the earth
  21. Proverbs 8:22 Or fathered; Septuagint created
  22. Proverbs 8:22 Hebrew way
  23. Proverbs 8:28 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
  24. Proverbs 8:30 Or daily filled with
  25. Proverbs 9:6 Or Leave the company of the simple
  26. Proverbs 9:9 Hebrew lacks instruction
  27. Proverbs 9:13 Or full of simpleness
  28. Proverbs 9:18 Hebrew Rephaim

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