Proverbs 4-6 New Revised Standard Version

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The Beneficence of Wisdom

4 1  Listen, children, to a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight; 2  for I give you good precepts: do not forsake my teaching. 3  When I was a son with my father, tender, and my mother's favorite, 4  he taught me, and said to me, "Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. 5  Get wisdom; get insight: do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. 6  Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. 7  The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight. 8  Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. 9  She will place on your head a fair garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown." 10  Hear, my child, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. 11  I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. 12  When you walk, your step will not be hampered; and if you run, you will not stumble. 13  Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.

14  Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evildoers. 15  Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. 16  For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. 17  For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. 18  But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. 19  The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what they stumble over.

20  My child, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 21  Do not let them escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. 22  For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. 23  Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. 24  Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. 25  Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 26  Keep straight the path of your feet, and all your ways will be sure. 27  Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

Warning against Unchastity

5 1  My child, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, 2  so that you may hold on to prudence, and your lips may guard knowledge. 3  For the lips of a loose woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; 4  but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. 5  Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol. 6  She does not keep straight to the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it. 7  And now, my child, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. 8  Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house; 9  or you will give your honor to others, and your years to the merciless, 10  and strangers will take their fill of your wealth, and your labors will go to the house of an alien; 11  and at the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, 12  and you say, "Oh, how I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! 13  I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. 14  Now I am at the point of utter ruin in the public assembly."

15  Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. 16  Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? 17  Let them be for yourself alone, and not for sharing with strangers. 18  Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, 19  a lovely deer, a graceful doe. May her breasts satisfy you at all times; may you be intoxicated always by her love. 20  Why should you be intoxicated, my son, by another woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? 21  For human ways are under the eyes of the Lord, and he examines all their paths. 22  The iniquities of the wicked ensnare them, and they are caught in the toils of their sin. 23  They die for lack of discipline, and because of their great folly they are lost.

Warning against Idleness and Falsehood

6 1  My child, if you have given your pledge to your neighbor, if you have bound yourself to another, 2  you are snared by the utterance of your lips, caught by the words of your mouth. 3  So do this, my child, and save yourself, for you have come into your neighbor's power: go, hurry, and plead with your neighbor. 4  Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; 5  save yourself like a gazelle from the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

6  Go to the ant, you lazybones; consider its ways, and be wise. 7  Without having any chief or officer or ruler, 8  it prepares its food in summer, and gathers its sustenance in harvest. 9  How long will you lie there, O lazybones? When will you rise from your sleep? 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.

12  A scoundrel and a villain goes around with crooked speech, 13  winking the eyes, shuffling the feet, pointing the fingers, 14  with perverted mind devising evil, continually sowing discord; 15  on such a one calamity will descend suddenly; in a moment, damage beyond repair. 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, 18  a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that hurry to run to evil, 19  a lying witness who testifies falsely, and one who sows discord in a family.

Warning against Adultery

20  My child, keep your father's commandment, and do not forsake your mother's teaching. 21  Bind them upon your heart always; tie them around your neck. 22  When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. 23  For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, 24  to preserve you from the wife of another, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. 25  Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; 26  for a prostitute's fee is only a loaf of bread, but the wife of another stalks a man's very life. 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. 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. 32  But he who commits adultery has no sense; he who does it destroys himself. 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 shows no restraint when he takes revenge. 35  He will accept no compensation, and refuses a bribe no matter how great.

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