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[a] 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.
In Praise of Wisdom
8 With great understanding, Wisdom[b] is calling out 2 as she stands at the crossroads and on every hill. 3 She stands by the city gate where everyone enters the city, and she shouts: 4 “I am calling out to each one of you! 5 Good sense and sound judgment can be yours. 6 Listen, because what I say is worthwhile and right. 7 I always speak the truth and refuse to tell a lie. 8 Every word I speak is honest, not one is misleading or deceptive.
9 “If you have understanding, you will see that my words are just what you need. 10 Let instruction and knowledge mean more to you than silver or the finest gold. 11 Wisdom is worth much more than precious jewels or anything else you desire.”
12 I am Wisdom[c]—Common Sense is my closest friend; I possess knowledge and sound judgment. 13 If you respect the Lord, you will hate evil. I hate pride and conceit and deceitful lies. 14 I am strong, and I offer sensible advice and sound judgment. 15 By my power kings govern, and rulers make laws that are fair. 16 Every honest leader rules with help from me.
17 I love everyone who loves me, and I will be found by all who honestly search. 18 I can make you rich and famous, important and successful. 19 What you receive from me is more valuable than even the finest gold or the purest silver. 20 I always do what is right, 21 and I give great riches to everyone who loves me.
22 From the beginning, I was with the Lord.[d] I was there before he began 23 to create the earth. At the very first, the Lord gave life to[e] me. 24 When I was born, there were no oceans or springs of water. 25 My birth was before mountains were formed or hills were put in place. 26 It happened long before God had made the earth or any of its fields or even the dust.
27 I was there when the Lord put the heavens in place and stretched the sky over the surface of the sea. 28 I was with him when he placed the clouds in the sky and created the springs that fill the ocean. 29 I was there when he set boundaries for the sea to make it obey him, and when he laid foundations to support the earth.
30 I was right beside the Lord, helping him plan and build.[f] I made him happy each day, and I was happy at his side. 31 I was pleased with his world and pleased with its people.
32 Pay attention, my children! Follow my advice, and you will be happy. 33 Listen carefully to my instructions, and you will be wise.
34 Come to my home each day and listen to me. You will find happiness. 35 By finding me, you find life, and the Lord will be pleased with you. 36 But if you don’t find me, you hurt only yourself, and if you hate me, you are in love with death.
Wisdom Gives a Feast
9 Wisdom has built her house with its seven columns. 2 She has prepared the meat and set out the wine. Her feast is ready.
3 She has sent her servant women to announce her invitation from the highest hills: 4 “Everyone who is ignorant or foolish is invited! 5 All of you are welcome to my meat and wine. 6 If you want to live, give up your foolishness and let understanding guide your steps.”
7 Correct a worthless bragger, and all you will get are insults and injuries. 8 Any bragger you correct will only hate you. But if you correct someone who has common sense, you will be loved. 9 If you have good sense, instruction will help you to have even better sense. And if you live right, education will help you to know even more.
10 Respect and obey the Lord! This is the beginning of wisdom.[g] To have understanding, you must know the Holy God. 11 I am Wisdom. If you follow me, you will live a long time. 12 Good sense is good for you, but if you brag, you hurt yourself.
A Foolish Invitation
13 Stupidity[h] is reckless, senseless, and foolish. 14 She sits in front of her house and on the highest hills in the town. 15 She shouts to everyone who passes by, 16 “If you are stupid, come on inside!” And to every fool she says, 17 “Stolen water tastes best, and the food you eat in secret tastes best of all.” 18 None who listen to Stupidity understand that her guests are as good as dead.
7.22a fool. . . punished: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
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