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Practical Admonitions

My child, if you have given your pledge to your neighbor,
    if you have bound yourself to another,[a](A)
you are snared by the utterance of your lips,[b]
    caught by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my child, and save yourself,
    for you have come into your neighbor’s power:
    go, hurry,[c] and plead with your neighbor.
Give your eyes no sleep
    and your eyelids no slumber;(B)
save yourself like a gazelle from the hunter,[d]
    like a bird from the hand of the fowler.(C)

Go to the ant, you lazybones;
    consider its ways and be wise.(D)
Without having any chief
    or officer or ruler,
it prepares its food in summer
    and gathers its sustenance in harvest.(E)
How long will you lie there, O lazybones?
    When will you rise from your sleep?(F)
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want, like an armed warrior.(G)

12 A scoundrel and a villain
    goes around with crooked speech,(H)
13 winking the eyes, shuffling the feet,
    pointing the fingers,(I)
14 with perverted mind devising evil,
    continually sowing discord;(J)
15 on such a one calamity will descend suddenly,
    in a moment, damage beyond repair.(K)

16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,(L)
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that hurry to run to evil,(M)
19 a lying witness who testifies falsely,
    and one who sows discord in a family.(N)

20 My child, keep your father’s commandment,
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.(O)
21 Bind them upon your heart always;
    tie them around your neck.(P)
22 When you walk, they[e] will lead you;
    when you lie down, they[f] will watch over you;
    and when you awake, they[g] will talk with you.(Q)
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
    and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,(R)
24 to preserve you from the wife of another,[h]
    from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.[i](S)
25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
    and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes,(T)
26 for a prostitute’s fee is only a loaf of bread,[j]
    but the wife of another stalks a man’s precious life.(U)
27 Can fire be carried in the bosom
    without burning one’s clothes?
28 Or can one walk on hot coals
    without scorching the feet?
29 So is he who sleeps with his neighbor’s wife;
    no one who touches her will go unpunished.(V)
30 Thieves are not despised who steal only
    to satisfy their appetite when they are hungry.
31 Yet if they are caught, they will pay sevenfold;
    they will forfeit all the goods of their house.(W)
32 But he who commits adultery has no sense;
    he who does it destroys himself.(X)
33 He will get wounds and dishonor,
    and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury,
    and he will show no restraint when he takes revenge.(Y)
35 He will accept no compensation
    and will refuse a bribe no matter how great.

The False Attractions of Adultery

My child, keep my words
    and store up my commandments with you;(Z)
keep my commandments and live;
    keep my teachings as the apple[k] of your eye;(AA)
bind them on your fingers;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.(AB)
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
    and call insight your intimate friend,
that they may keep you from the loose woman,[l]
    from the adulteress[m] with her smooth words.(AC)

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,(AD)
passing along the street near her corner,
    taking the road to her house(AE)
in the twilight, in the evening,
    at the time of night and darkness.(AF)

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;(AG)
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
    and at every corner she lies in wait.(AH)
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;(AI)
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;(AJ)
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.(AK)
22 Right away he follows her
    and goes like an ox to the slaughter
or bounds like a stag toward the trap[n]
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.(AL)

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


  1. 6.1 Or a stranger
  2. 6.2 Cn Compare Gk Syr: Heb the words of your mouth
  3. 6.3 Or humble yourself
  4. 6.5 Cn: Heb from the hand
  5. 6.22 Heb it
  6. 6.22 Heb it
  7. 6.22 Heb it
  8. 6.24 Gk: MT the evil woman
  9. 6.24 Heb alien woman
  10. 6.26 Cn Compare Gk Syr Vg Tg: Heb for because of a harlot to a piece of bread
  11. 7.2 Heb little man
  12. 7.5 Heb strange woman
  13. 7.5 Heb alien woman
  14. 7.22 Cn Compare Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain

So I made up my mind not to make another visit that causes you grief.(A) For if I cause you grief, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have grieved? And I wrote as I did, so that when I came, I might not suffer grief from those who should have made me rejoice, for I am confident about all of you, that my joy would be the joy of all of you.(B) For I wrote you out of much distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you grief but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

Forgiveness for the Offender

But if anyone has caused grief, he has caused it not to me but to some extent—not to exaggerate it—to all of you. This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person;(C) so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by even worse grief. So I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. I wrote for this reason: to test you and to know whether you are obedient in everything.(D) 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. In fact, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ. 11 And we do this so that we may not be outwitted by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Paul’s Anxiety in Troas

12 When I came to Troas to proclaim the good news[a] of Christ, a door was opened for me in the Lord,(E) 13 but my mind could not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said farewell to them and went on to Macedonia.

14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him.[b] 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing:(F) 16 to the one group a fragrance from death[c] to death, to the other a fragrance from life[d] to life. Who is qualified for these things?(G) 17 For we are not peddlers of God’s word like so many,[e] but as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God, we are speaking in Christ before God.(H)


  1. 2.12 Or the gospel
  2. 2.14 Gk the fragrance of the knowledge of him
  3. 2.16 Other ancient authorities read fragrance of death that leads
  4. 2.16 Other ancient authorities read fragrance of life that leads
  5. 2.17 Other ancient authorities read like the rest