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My son, if you will risk your family’s future to put up collateral for the debts of an acquaintance,
    if you seal a commitment with a handshake to someone without first knowing the value of his word,
Then your words may well be the trap that snares you,
    and your promise may seal your fate.
    You can’t be sure to whom you hitched your future.
So, my son—save yourself! Here’s what you need to do:
    go to that person who became your master with a handshake,
    humble yourself, and plead your case.
Do not sleep;
    don’t even rest your eyes until you deal with this.
Get out as quickly as possible,
    as a gazelle runs from the hand of the hunter,
    as a bird takes off from the grip of the fowler.

Take a lesson from the ant, you who love leisure and ease.
    Observe how it works, and dare to be just as wise.
It has no boss,
    no one laying down the law or telling it what to do,
Yet it gathers its food through summer
    and takes what it needs from the harvest.
How long do you plan to lounge your life away, you lazy fool?
    Will you ever get out of bed?
10 You say, “A little sleep, a little rest,
    a few more minutes, a nice little nap.”
11 But soon poverty will be on top of you like a robber;
    need will assault you like a well-armed warrior.

Laziness is not just a bad habit; it’s a threat—a clear and present danger. Since the beginning, God has made us in His image to create and tend His good creation. In other words, God has made us to work. It is in our spiritual DNA. We must do it in order to be who God made us and to fight off the threats of poverty and want. God has also created the Sabbath as a space for us to rest, of course, just as He rested on the seventh day.

12 Someone who struts around taking advantage of unsuspecting souls
    and deceiving others is to be avoided.
13 With a wink of his eye, a quick shuffle of his feet,
    and a slight gesture with his hand, he signals his roguish treachery.
14 With a warped mind and twisted heart, he constantly looks for his own gain at others’ expense,
    causing friction everywhere he goes.
15 But you watch: his actions will bring sudden disaster!
    In an instant, his life will be shattered,
    and there will be nothing to save him.

16 Take note, there are six things the Eternal hates;
    no, make it seven He abhors:
17 Eyes that look down on others, a tongue that can’t be trusted,
    hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that conceives evil plans,
    feet that sprint toward evil,
19 A false witness who breathes out lies,
    and anyone who stirs up trouble among the faithful.

20 So, my son, follow your father’s direction,
    and don’t forget what your mother taught you—
21 Keep their teachings close to your heart;
    engrave them on a pendant, and hang it around your neck.
22 Their instruction will guide you along your journey,
    guard you when you sleep,
    and address you when you wake in the morning.
23 For their direction is a lamp; their instruction will light your path,
    and their discipline will correct your missteps,
    sending you down the right path of life.
24 They will keep you far from the corrupted woman,
    away from the smooth talk of a seductive woman.
25 Do not lose yourself in desire for her beauty
    or let her win you over with her painted eyes,
26 For you can buy a harlot with a loaf of bread,
    but sex with another man’s wife will cost you your life.
27 Can you carry fire right next to your body
    and keep your clothes from burning?
28 Can you walk over fiery coals
    and keep your feet from blistering?
29 Take another man’s wife, and you will find out—
    whoever touches her will be found guilty.
30 People don’t despise a thief
    who only steals to fill his hunger;
31 Still if they catch him, he must repay seven times over—
    he could end up losing everything he owns!
32 By contrast only a fool would commit adultery
    since by his action he loses not only his possessions but also his own life.
33 He will suffer injury and be disgraced;
    dishonor will leave a permanent mark on his life.
34 For jealousy sparks a husband’s rage—
    when he gets his revenge, he’ll show no mercy.
35 He will not be paid off or appeased;
    no bribe or gift will set things right.

Warnings Against Folly

My son,(A) if you have put up security(B) for your neighbor,(C)
    if you have shaken hands in pledge(D) for a stranger,
you have been trapped by what you said,
    ensnared by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, to free yourself,
    since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go—to the point of exhaustion—[a]
    and give your neighbor no rest!
Allow no sleep to your eyes,
    no slumber to your eyelids.(E)
Free yourself, like a gazelle(F) from the hand of the hunter,(G)
    like a bird from the snare of the fowler.(H)

Go to the ant, you sluggard;(I)
    consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
    no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer(J)
    and gathers its food at harvest.(K)

How long will you lie there, you sluggard?(L)
    When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest(M)
11 and poverty(N) will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

12 A troublemaker and a villain,
    who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
13     who winks maliciously with his eye,(O)
    signals with his feet
    and motions with his fingers,(P)
14     who plots evil(Q) with deceit in his heart—
    he always stirs up conflict.(R)
15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;(S)
    he will suddenly(T) be destroyed—without remedy.(U)

16 There are six things the Lord hates,(V)
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,(W)
        a lying tongue,(X)
        hands that shed innocent blood,(Y)
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,(Z)
19         a false witness(AA) who pours out lies(AB)
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.(AC)

Warning Against Adultery

20 My son,(AD) keep your father’s command
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.(AE)
21 Bind them always on your heart;
    fasten them around your neck.(AF)
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
    when you sleep, they will watch over you;
    when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For this command is a lamp,
    this teaching is a light,(AG)
and correction and instruction
    are the way to life,(AH)
24 keeping you from your neighbor’s wife,
    from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.(AI)

25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
    or let her captivate you with her eyes.

26 For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread,
    but another man’s wife preys on your very life.(AJ)
27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap
    without his clothes being burned?
28 Can a man walk on hot coals
    without his feet being scorched?
29 So is he who sleeps(AK) with another man’s wife;(AL)
    no one who touches her will go unpunished.

30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
    to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,(AM)
    though it costs him all the wealth of his house.
32 But a man who commits adultery(AN) has no sense;(AO)
    whoever does so destroys himself.
33 Blows and disgrace are his lot,
    and his shame will never(AP) be wiped away.

34 For jealousy(AQ) arouses a husband’s fury,(AR)
    and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35 He will not accept any compensation;
    he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.(AS)

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 6:3 Or Go and humble yourself,

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