6 My child, suppose you agree to pay the debt of someone, who cannot repay a loan. 2 Then you are trapped by your own words, 3 and you are now in the power of someone else. Here is what you should do: Go and beg for permission to call off the agreement. 4 Do this before you fall asleep or even get sleepy. 5 Save yourself, just as a deer or a bird tries to escape from a hunter.
6 You lazy people can learn by watching an anthill. 7 Ants don’t have leaders, 8 but they store up food during harvest season. 9 How long will you lie there doing nothing at all? When are you going to get up and stop sleeping? 10 Sleep a little. Doze a little. Fold your hands and twiddle your thumbs. 11 Suddenly, everything is gone, as though it had been taken by an armed robber.
12 Worthless liars go around 13 winking and giving signals to deceive others. 14 They are always thinking up something cruel and evil, and they stir up trouble. 15 But they will be struck by sudden disaster and left without a hope.
16 There are six or seven kinds of people the Lord doesn’t like: 17 Those who are too proud or tell lies or murder, 18 those who make evil plans or are quick to do wrong, 19 those who tell lies in court or stir up trouble in a family.
20 Obey the teaching of your parents— 21 always keep it in mind and never forget it. 22 Their teaching will guide you when you walk, protect you when you sleep, and talk to you when you are awake.
23 The Law of the Lord is a lamp, and its teachings shine brightly. Correction and self-control will lead you through life. 24 They will protect you from the flattering words of someone else’s wife.[a] 25 Don’t let yourself be attracted by the charm and lovely eyes of someone like that. 26 A woman who sells her love can be bought for as little as the price of a meal. But making love to another man’s wife will cost you everything. 27 If you carry burning coals, you burn your clothes; 28 if you step on hot coals, you burn your feet. 29 And if you go to bed with another man’s wife, you pay the price.
30 We don’t put up with thieves, not even[b] with one who steals for something to eat. 31 And thieves who get caught must pay back seven times what was stolen and lose everything. 32 But if you go to bed with another man’s wife, you will destroy yourself by your own stupidity. 33 You will be beaten and forever disgraced, 34 because a jealous husband can be furious and merciless when he takes revenge. 35 He won’t let you pay him off, no matter what you offer.
The Foolishness of Unfaithfulness
7 My son, pay close attention and don’t forget what I tell you to do. 2 Obey me, and you will live! Let my instructions be your greatest treasure. 3 Keep them at your fingertips and write them in your mind. 4 Let wisdom be your sister and make common sense your closest friend. 5 They will protect you from the flattering words of someone else’s wife.
6 From the window of my house, I once happened to see 7 some foolish young men. 8 It was late in the evening, sometime after dark. 9 One of these young men turned the corner and was walking by the house of an unfaithful wife. 10 She was dressed fancy like a woman of the street with only one thing in mind. 11 She was one of those women who are loud and restless and never stay at home, 12 who walk street after street, waiting to trap a man.
13 She grabbed him and kissed him, and with no sense of shame, she said: 14 “I had to offer a sacrifice, and there is enough meat left over for a feast. 15 So I came looking for you, and here you are! 16 The sheets on my bed are bright-colored cloth from Egypt. 17 And I have covered it with perfume made of myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 “Let’s go there and make love all night. 19 My husband is traveling, and he’s far away. 20 He took a lot of money along, and he won’t be back home before the middle of the month.”
21 And so, she tricked him with all of her sweet talk and her flattery. 22 Right away he followed her like an ox on the way to be slaughtered, or like a fool on the way to be punished[c] 23 and killed with arrows. He was no more than a bird rushing into a trap, without knowing it would cost him his life.
24 My son, pay close attention to what I have said. 25 Don’t even think about that kind of woman or let yourself be misled by someone like her. 26 Such a woman has caused the downfall and destruction of a lot of men. 27 Her house is a one-way street leading straight down to the world of the dead.
2 I have decided not to make my next visit with you so painful. 2 If I make you feel bad, who would be left to cheer me up, except the people I had made to feel bad? 3 The reason I want to be happy is to make you happy. I wrote as I did because I didn’t want to visit you and be made to feel bad, when you should make me feel happy. 4 At the time I wrote, I was suffering terribly. My eyes were full of tears, and my heart was broken. But I didn’t want to make you feel bad. I only wanted to let you know how much I cared for you.
5 I don’t want to be hard on you. But if one of you has made someone feel bad, I am not really the one who has been made to feel bad. Some of you are the ones. 6 Most of you have already pointed out the wrong that person did, and that is punishment enough for what was done.
7 When people sin, you should forgive and comfort them, so they won’t give up in despair. 8 You should make them sure of your love for them.
9 I also wrote because I wanted to test you and find out if you would follow my instructions. 10 I will forgive anyone you forgive. Yes, for your sake and with Christ as my witness, I have forgiven whatever needed to be forgiven. 11 I have done this to keep Satan from getting the better of us. We all know what goes on in his mind.
12 When I went to Troas to preach the good news about Christ, I found that the Lord had already prepared the way. 13 But I was worried when I didn’t find my friend Titus there. So I left the other followers and went on to Macedonia.
14 I am grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory. God also helps us spread the knowledge about Christ everywhere, and this knowledge is like the smell of perfume. 15-16 In fact, God thinks of us as a perfume that brings Christ to everyone. For people who are being saved, this perfume has a sweet smell and leads them to a better life. But for people who are lost, it has a bad smell and leads them to a horrible death.
No one really has what it takes to do this work. 17 A lot of people try to get rich from preaching God’s message. But we are God’s sincere messengers, and by the power of Christ we speak our message with God as our witness.
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