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The Foolishness of Unfaithfulness

My son, pay close attention
    and don’t forget
    what I tell you to do.
Obey me, and you will live!
    Let my instructions be
    your greatest treasure.
Keep them at your fingertips
    and write them
    in your mind.
Let wisdom be your sister
    and make common sense
    your closest friend.
They will protect you
    from the flattering words
    of someone else’s wife.

From the window of my house,
    I once happened to see
    some foolish young men.
It was late in the evening,
    sometime after dark.
One of these young men
    turned the corner
    and was walking by the house
    of an unfaithful wife.
10 She was dressed fancy
like a woman of the street
    with only one thing in mind.
11 She was one of those women
who are loud and restless
    and never stay at home,
12     who walk street after street,
    waiting to trap a man.

13 She grabbed him and kissed him,
    and with no sense of shame,
    she said:
14 “I had to offer a sacrifice,
    and there is enough meat
    left over for a feast.
15 So I came looking for you,
    and here you are!
16 The sheets on my bed
    are bright-colored cloth
    from Egypt.
17 And I have covered it
with perfume
    made of myrrh,
    aloes, and cinnamon.

18 “Let’s go there
    and make love all night.
19     My husband is traveling,
    and he’s far away.
20 He took a lot of money along,
    and he won’t be back home
    before the middle
    of the month.”

21 And so, she tricked him
    with all of her sweet talk
    and her flattery.
22 Right away he followed her
    like an ox on the way
    to be slaughtered,
or like a fool on the way
to be punished[a]
23     and killed with arrows.
He was no more than a bird
    rushing into a trap,
    without knowing
    it would cost him his life.

24 My son, pay close attention
    to what I have said.
25 Don’t even think about
    that kind of woman
    or let yourself be misled
    by someone like her.
26 Such a woman has caused
the downfall
    and destruction
    of a lot of men.
27 Her house is a one-way street
leading straight down
    to the world of the dead.


  1. 7.22 a fool. . . punished: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

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