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The False Attractions of Adultery

My child, keep my words
    and store up my commandments with you;(A)
keep my commandments and live;
    keep my teachings as the apple[a] of your eye;(B)
bind them on your fingers;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.(C)
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
    and call insight your intimate friend,
that they may keep you from the loose woman,[b]
    from the adulteress[c] with her smooth words.(D)

For at the window of my house
    I looked out through my lattice,
and I saw among the simple ones,
    I observed among the youths,
    a young man without sense,(E)
passing along the street near her corner,
    taking the road to her house(F)
in the twilight, in the evening,
    at the time of night and darkness.(G)

10 Then a woman comes toward him
    decked out like a prostitute, with hidden intent.
11 She is loud and wayward;
    her feet do not stay at home;(H)
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
    and at every corner she lies in wait.(I)
13 She seizes him and kisses him,
    and with impudent face she says to him:
14 “I had to offer sacrifices,
    and today I have paid my vows;(J)
15 so now I have come out to meet you,
    to seek you eagerly, and I have found you!
16 I have decked my couch with coverings,
    colored spreads of Egyptian linen;(K)
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 took a bag of money with him;
    he will not come home until full moon.”

21 With much seductive speech she persuades him;
    with her smooth talk she compels him.(L)
22 Right away he follows her
    and goes like an ox to the slaughter
or bounds like a stag toward the trap[d]
23     until an arrow pierces its entrails.
He is like a bird rushing into a snare,
    not knowing that it will cost him his life.(M)

24 And now, my children, listen to me,
    and be attentive to the words of my mouth.(N)
25 Do not let your hearts turn aside to her ways;
    do not stray into her paths.(O)
26 For many are those she has laid low,
    and numerous are her victims.(P)
27 Her house is the way to Sheol,
    going down to the chambers of death.(Q)

The Gifts of Wisdom

Does not wisdom call
    and understanding raise her voice?(R)
On the heights, beside the way,
    at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
    at the entrance of the portals she cries out:(S)
“To you, O people, I call,
    and my cry is to all who live.
O simple ones, learn prudence;
    acquire intelligence, you who lack it.(T)
Hear, for I will speak noble things,
    and from my lips will come what is right,(U)
for my mouth will utter truth;
    wickedness is an abomination to my lips.(V)
All the words of my mouth are righteous;
    there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.
They are all straight to one who understands
    and right to those who find knowledge.(W)
10 Take my instruction instead of silver
    and knowledge rather than choice gold,(X)
11 for wisdom is better than jewels,
    and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.(Y)
12 I, wisdom, live with prudence,
    and I attain knowledge and discretion.(Z)
13 The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.
Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
    and perverted speech I hate.(AA)
14 I have good advice and sound wisdom;
    I have insight; I have strength.(AB)
15 By me kings reign,
    and rulers decree what is just;(AC)
16 by me rulers rule,
    and nobles, all who govern rightly.
17 I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me diligently find me.(AD)
18 Riches and honor are with me,
    enduring wealth and prosperity.(AE)
19 My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold,
    and my yield than choice silver.(AF)
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    along the paths of justice,
21 endowing with wealth those who love me
    and filling their treasuries.

Wisdom’s Part in Creation

22 “The Lord created me at the beginning[e] of his work,[f]
    the first of his acts of long ago.(AG)
23 Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.(AH)
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
    before the hills, I was brought forth,(AI)
26 when he had not yet made earth and fields[g]
    or the world’s first bits of soil.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there;
    when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,(AJ)
28 when he made firm the skies above,
    when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,(AK)
30     then I was beside him, like a master worker,[h]
and I was daily his[i] delight,
    playing before him always,(AL)
31 playing in his inhabited world
    and delighting in the human race.(AM)

32 “And now, my children, listen to me:
    happy are those who keep my ways.(AN)
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
    and do not neglect it.
34 Happy is the one who listens to me,
    watching daily at my gates,
    waiting beside my doors.(AO)
35 For whoever finds me finds life
    and obtains favor from the Lord,(AP)
36 but those who miss me injure themselves;
    all who hate me love death.”(AQ)


  1. 7.2 Heb little man
  2. 7.5 Heb strange woman
  3. 7.5 Heb alien woman
  4. 7.22 Cn Compare Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  5. 8.22 Or me as the beginning
  6. 8.22 Heb way
  7. 8.26 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  8. 8.30 Or little child
  9. 8.30 Gk: Heb lacks his