Proverbs 7-9 English Standard Version

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The Wiles of a Harlot

7 My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; 2  keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; 3  bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4  Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call insight your intimate friend, 5  to keep you from the forbidden[1] woman, from the adulteress[2] with her smooth words.

6  For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, 7  and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, 8  passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house 9  in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness. 10  And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.[3] 11  She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; 12  now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait. 13  She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him, 14  "I had to offer sacrifices,[4] and today I have paid my vows; 15  so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you. 16  I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; 17  I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18  Come, let us take our fill of love till 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; at full moon he will come home." 21  With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. 22  All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast[5] 23  till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.

24  And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. 25  Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, 26  for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. 27  Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.

The Excellence and Eternity of Wisdom

8 Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? 2  On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; 3  beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud: 4  "To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man. 5  O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense. 6  Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right, 7  for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8  All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. 9  They are all straight to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. 10  Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, 11  for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

12  "I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. 13  The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. 14  I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength. 15  By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; 16  by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly.[6] 17  I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. 18  Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. 19  My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver. 20  I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice, 21  granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries.

22  "The Lord possessed[7] me at the beginning of his work,[8] the first of his acts of old. 23  Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. 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, 26  before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. 27  When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28  when he made firm the skies above, when he established[9] 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, 30  then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his[10] delight, rejoicing before him always, 31  rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.

32  "And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. 33  Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. 34  Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. 35  For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, 36  but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death."

Wisdom and the Foolish Woman

9 Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. 2  She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table. 3  She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town, 4  "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!" To him who lacks sense she says, 5  "Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. 6  Leave your simple ways,[11] and live, and walk in the way of insight." 7  Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. 8  Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. 9  Give instruction[12] to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. 10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. 11  For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life. 12  If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

13  The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive[13] and knows nothing. 14  She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, 15  calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, 16  "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!" And to him who lacks sense she says, 17  "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant." 18  But he does not know that the dead[14] are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

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Footnotes

[1] 7:5 Hebrew strange

[2] 7:5 Hebrew the foreign woman

[3] 7:10 Hebrew guarded in heart

[4] 7:14 Hebrew peace offerings

[5] 7:22 Probable reading (compare Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac); Hebrew as an anklet for the discipline of a fool

[6] 8:16 Most Hebrew manuscripts; many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint govern the earth

[7] 8:22 Or fathered; Septuagint created

[8] 8:22 Hebrew way

[9] 8:28 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain

[10] 8:30 Or daily filled with

[11] 9:6 Or Leave the company of the simple

[12] 9:9 Hebrew lacks instruction

[13] 9:13 Or full of simpleness

[14] 9:18 Hebrew Rephaim

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