6 My son, if you have become surety (guaranteed a debt or obligation) for your neighbor, If you have given your pledge for [the debt of] a stranger or another [outside your family], 2 If you have been snared with the words of your lips, If you have been trapped by the speech of your mouth, 3 Do this now, my son, and release yourself [from the obligation]; [a]Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, Go humble yourself, and plead with your neighbor [to pay his debt and release you]. 4 Give no [unnecessary] sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids; 5 Tear yourself away like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, O lazy one; Observe her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no chief, Overseer or ruler, 8 She prepares her food in the summer And brings in her provisions [of food for the winter] in the harvest. 9 How long will you lie down, O lazy one? When will you arise from your sleep [and learn self-discipline]? 10 “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to lie down and rest”— 11 So your poverty will come like an approaching prowler who walks [slowly, but surely] And your need [will come] like an armed man [making you helpless].
12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Is one who walks with a perverse (corrupt, vulgar) mouth. 13 Who winks with his eyes [in mockery], who shuffles his feet [to signal], Who points with his fingers [to give subversive instruction]; 14 Who perversely in his heart plots trouble and evil continually; Who spreads discord and strife. 15 Therefore [the crushing weight of] his disaster will come suddenly upon him; Instantly he will be broken, and there will be no healing or remedy [because he has no heart for God].
16 These six things the Lord hates; Indeed, seven are repulsive to Him: 17 A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others], a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that creates wicked plans, Feet that run swiftly to evil, 19 A false witness who breathes out lies [even half-truths], And one who spreads discord (rumors) among brothers.
20 My son, be guided by your father’s [God-given] commandment (instruction) And do not [b]reject the teaching of your mother; 21 Bind them continually upon your heart (in your thoughts), And tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk about, they (the godly teachings of your parents) will guide you; When you sleep, they will keep watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching [of the law] is light, And reproofs (rebukes) for discipline are the way of life, 24 To keep you from the evil woman, From [the flattery of] the smooth tongue of an immoral woman. 25 Do not desire (lust after) her beauty in your heart, Nor let her capture you with her eyelashes. 26 For on account of a prostitute one is reduced to a piece of bread [to be eaten up], And the immoral woman hunts [with a hook] the precious life [of a man]. 27 Can a man take fire to his chest And his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can a man walk on hot coals And his feet not be scorched? 29 So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her will not be found innocent or go unpunished. 30 People do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry; 31 But when he is found, he must repay seven times [what he stole]; He must give all the property of his house [if necessary to meet his fine]. 32 But whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks common sense and sound judgment and an understanding [of moral principles]; He who would destroy his soul does it. 33 Wounds and disgrace he will find, And his reproach (blame) will not be blotted out. 34 For jealousy enrages the [wronged] husband; He will not spare [the guilty one] on the day of vengeance. 35 He will not accept any ransom [offered to buy him off from demanding full punishment]; Nor will he be satisfied though you offer him many gifts (bribes).
Proverbs 6:3Under the ancient laws governing debt, a man obligated for another’s debt could lose his money, land, bed, and clothing; and if these were not sufficient, he and his wife and children could be sold as slaves, not to be released until the next Year of Jubilee—fifty years after the previous one.
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