5 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; Lend your ear to my understanding, 2 That you may preserve discretion, And your lips may keep knowledge. 3 For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil; 4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death, Her steps lay hold of hell.[a] 6 Lest you ponder her path of life— Her ways are unstable; You do not know them.
7 Therefore hear me now, my children, And do not depart from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove your way far from her, And do not go near the door of her house, 9 Lest you give your honor to others, And your years to the cruel one; 10 Lest aliens be filled with your wealth, And your labors go to the house of a foreigner; 11 And you mourn at last, When your flesh and your body are consumed, 12 And say: “How I have hated instruction, And my heart despised correction! 13 I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! 14 I was on the verge of total ruin, In the midst of the assembly and congregation.”
15 Drink water from your own cistern, And running water from your own well. 16 Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be only your own, And not for strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love. 20 For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, And be embraced in the arms of a seductress?
21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, And He ponders all his paths. 22 His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin. 23 He shall die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
6 My son, if you become surety for your friend, If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, 2 You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth. 3 So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; Plead with your friend. 4 Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids. 5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.[b]
The Folly of Indolence
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, 8 Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. 9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep— 11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.
The Wicked Man
12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Walks with a perverse mouth; 13 He winks with his eyes, He shuffles his feet, He points with his fingers; 14 Perversity is in his heart, He devises evil continually, He sows discord. 15 Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; Suddenly he shall be broken without remedy.
16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
Beware of Adultery
20 My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother. 21 Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22 When you roam, they[c] will lead you; When you sleep, they will keep you; And when you awake, they will speak with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life, 24 To keep you from the evil woman, From the flattering tongue of a seductress. 25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, Nor let her allure you with her eyelids. 26 For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress[d] will prey upon his precious life. 27 Can a man take fire to his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one walk on hot coals, And his feet not be seared? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.
30 People do not despise a thief If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. 31 Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; He may have to give up all the substance of his house. 32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul. 33 Wounds and dishonor he will get, And his reproach will not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy is a husband’s fury; Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will accept no recompense, Nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts.
7 My son, keep my words, And treasure my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and live, And my law as the apple of your eye. 3 Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” And call understanding your nearest kin, 5 That they may keep you from the immoral woman, From the seductress who flatters with her words.
The Crafty Harlot
6 For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, 7 And saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, A young man devoid of understanding, 8 Passing along the street near her corner; And he took the path to her house 9 In the twilight, in the evening, In the black and dark night.
10 And there a woman met him, With the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart. 11 She was loud and rebellious, Her feet would not stay at home. 12 At times she was outside, at times in the open square, Lurking at every corner. 13 So she caught him and kissed him; With an impudent face she said to him: 14 “I have peace offerings with me; Today I have paid my vows. 15 So I came out to meet you, Diligently to seek your face, And I have found you. 16 I have spread my bed with tapestry, Colored coverings of Egyptian linen. 17 I have perfumed my bed With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with love. 19 For my husband is not at home; He has gone on a long journey; 20 He has taken a bag of money with him, And will come home on the appointed day.”
21 With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, With her flattering lips she seduced him. 22 Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks,[e] 23 Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, He did not know it would cost his life.
24 Now therefore, listen to me, my children; Pay attention to the words of my mouth: 25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths; 26 For she has cast down many wounded, And all who were slain by her were strong men. 27 Her house is the way to hell,[f] Descending to the chambers of death.
The Excellence of Wisdom
8 Does not wisdom cry out, And understanding lift up her voice? 2 She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, Beside the way, where the paths meet. 3 She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, At the entrance of the doors: 4 “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men. 5 O you simple ones, understand prudence, And you fools, be of an understanding heart. 6 Listen, for I will speak of excellent things, And from the opening of my lips will come right things; 7 For my mouth will speak truth; Wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them. 9 They are all plain to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge. 10 Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold; 11 For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.
12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And find out knowledge and discretion. 13 The fear of the Lordis to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate. 14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength. 15 By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, All the judges of the earth.[g] 17 I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me. 18 Riches and honor are with me, Enduring riches and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, And my revenue than choice silver. 20 I traverse the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice, 21 That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, That I may fill their treasuries.
22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. 23 I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth. 24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills, I was brought forth; 26 While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, Or the primal dust of the world. 27 When He prepared the heavens, I was there, When He drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28 When He established the clouds above, When He strengthened the fountains of the deep, 29 When He assigned to the sea its limit, So that the waters would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth, 30 Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;[h] And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, 31 Rejoicing in His inhabited world, And my delight was with the sons of men.
32 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction and be wise, And do not disdain it. 34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoever finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the Lord; 36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; All those who hate me love death.”
The Way of Wisdom
9 Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars; 2 She has slaughtered her meat, She has mixed her wine, She has also furnished her table. 3 She has sent out her maidens, She cries out from the highest places of the city, 4 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, 5 “Come, eat of my bread And drink of the wine I have mixed. 6 Forsake foolishness and live, And go in the way of understanding.
7 “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. 8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
10 “The fear of the Lordis the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you. 12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, And if you scoff, you will bear it alone.”
The Way of Folly
13 A foolish woman is clamorous; She is simple, and knows nothing. 14 For she sits at the door of her house, On a seat by the highest places of the city, 15 To call to those who pass by, Who go straight on their way: 16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”; And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, 17 “Stolen water is sweet, And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” 18 But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of hell.[i]
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