The Beneficence of Wisdom
4 1 Listen, sons, to a father’s instruction.
Pay attention and know understanding; 2 for I give you sound learning.
Don’t forsake my law. 3 For I was a son to my father,
tender and an only child in the sight of my mother. 4 He taught me, and said to me:
“Let your heart retain my words.
Keep my commandments, and live. 5 Get wisdom.
Don’t forget, neither swerve from the words of my mouth. 6 Don’t forsake her, and she will preserve you.
Love her, and she will keep you. 7 Wisdom is supreme.
Yes, though it costs all your possessions, get understanding. 8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you.
She will bring you to honor, when you embrace her. 9 She will give to your head a garland of grace.
She will deliver a crown of splendor to you.” 10 Listen, my son, and receive my sayings.
The years of your life will be many. 11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom.
I have led you in straight paths. 12 When you go, your steps will not be hampered.
When you run, you will not stumble. 13 Take firm hold of instruction.
Don’t let her go.
Keep her, for she is your life.
14 Don’t enter into the path of the wicked.
Don’t walk in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, and don’t pass by it.
Turn from it, and pass on. 16 For they don’t sleep, unless they do evil.
Their sleep is taken away, unless they make someone fall. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness,
and drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path of the righteous is like the dawning light,
that shines more and more until the perfect day. 19 The way of the wicked is like darkness.
They don’t know what they stumble over.
20 My son, attend to my words.
Turn your ear to my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from your eyes.
Keep them in the midst of your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them,
and health to their whole body. 23 Keep your heart with all diligence,
for out of it is the wellspring of life. 24 Put away from yourself a perverse mouth.
Put corrupt lips far from you. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead.
Fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Make the path of your feet level.
Let all of your ways be established. 27 Don’t turn to the right hand nor to the left.
Remove your foot from evil.
Warning against Unchastity
5 1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom.
Turn your ear to my understanding: 2 that you may maintain discretion,
that your lips may preserve knowledge. 3 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey.
Her mouth is smoother than oil, 4 But in the end she is as bitter as wormwood,
and as sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death.
Her steps lead straight to Sheol. 6 She gives no thought to the way of life.
Her ways are crooked, and she doesn’t know it. 7 Now therefore, my sons, listen to me.
Don’t depart from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove your way far from her.
Don’t come near the door of her house, 9 lest you give your honor to others,
and your years to the cruel one; 10 lest strangers feast on your wealth,
and your labors enrich another man’s house. 11 You will groan at your latter end,
when your flesh and your body are consumed, 12 and say, “How I have hated instruction,
and my heart despised reproof; 13 neither have I obeyed the voice of my teachers,
nor turned my ear to those who instructed me! 14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
in the midst of the gathered assembly.”
15 Drink water out of your own cistern,
running water out of your own well. 16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
streams of water in the public squares? 17 Let them be for yourself alone,
not for strangers with you. 18 Let your spring be blessed.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe and a graceful deer—
let her breasts satisfy you at all times.
Be captivated always with her love. 20 For why should you, my son, be captivated with an adulteress?
Why embrace the bosom of another? 21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of Yahweh.
He examines all his paths. 22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare him.
The cords of his sin hold him firmly. 23 He will die for lack of instruction.
In the greatness of his folly, he will go astray.
Warning against Idleness and Falsehood
6 1 My son, if you have become collateral for your neighbor,
if you have struck your hands in pledge for a stranger; 2 You are trapped by the words of your mouth.
You are ensnared with the words of your mouth. 3 Do this now, my son, and deliver yourself,
seeing you have come into the hand of your neighbor.
Go, humble yourself.
Press your plea with your neighbor. 4 Give no sleep to your eyes,
nor slumber to your eyelids. 5 Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard.
Consider her ways, and be wise; 7 which having no chief, overseer, or ruler, 8 provides her bread in the summer,
and gathers her food in the harvest. 9 How long will you sleep, sluggard?
When will you arise out of your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 so your poverty will come as a robber,
and your scarcity as an armed man.
12 A worthless person, a man of iniquity,
is he who walks with a perverse mouth; 13 who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet,
who motions with his fingers; 14 in whose heart is perverseness,
who devises evil continually,
who always sows discord. 15 Therefore his calamity will come suddenly.
He will be broken suddenly, and that without remedy. 16 There are six things which Yahweh hates;
yes, seven which are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood; 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are swift in running to mischief, 19 a false witness who utters lies,
and he who sows discord among brothers.
Warning against Adultery
20 My son, keep your father’s commandment,
and don’t forsake your mother’s teaching. 21 Bind them continually on your heart.
Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, it will lead you.
When you sleep, it will watch over you.
When you awake, it will talk with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp,
and the law is light.
Reproofs of instruction are the way of life, 24 to keep you from the immoral woman,
from the flattery of the wayward wife’s tongue. 25 Don’t lust after her beauty in your heart,
neither let her captivate you with her eyelids. 26 For a prostitute reduces you to a piece of bread.
The adulteress hunts for your precious life. 27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap,
and his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can one walk on hot coals,
and his feet not be scorched? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife.
Whoever touches her will not be unpunished. 30 Men don’t despise a thief,
if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry: 31 but if he is found, he shall restore seven times.
He shall give all the wealth of his house. 32 He who commits adultery with a woman is void of understanding.
He who does it destroys his own soul. 33 He will get wounds and dishonor.
His reproach will not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy arouses the fury of the husband.
He won’t spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He won’t regard any ransom,
neither will he rest content, though you give many gifts.