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On Avoiding the Immoral Woman

My son, guard what I say
and treasure my commands.
Keep my commands and you’ll live.
    Guard[a] my teaching as you do your eyesight.
Strap them to your fingers
    and engrave them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, “You’re my sister!”
    and call understanding your close relative,
so they can keep you from an adulterous woman,
    from the immoral woman with her seductive words.

A Father’s Warning

For from a window in my house
    I peered through the lattice work,
and I noticed among the naïve—
    that is, I discerned among the youths—
        a senseless young man.
Proceeding down the street near her corner,
    he makes his way toward her house
at twilight, during the evening,
    even during the darkest part of the night.
10 Look! A woman makes her way to meet him,
    dressed as a prostitute
        and intending to entrap him.
11 She is brazen and defiant—
    her feet don’t remain at home.
12 Now she is in the street, now in the plazas,
    she lurks near every corner.

13 So she grabs hold of him and kisses him,
    with a brazen face she speaks to him,
14 “I have given[b] my peace offerings,
    and today I fulfilled my vows.
15 Therefore, I’ve come out to meet you,
    I’ve looked just for you,
        and I found you!
16 I’ve decorated my bed with new coverings—
    embroidered linen from Egypt.
17 I’ve perfumed my bed
    with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s make love until dawn;
    let’s comfort ourselves with love,
19 because my husband isn’t home.
    He left on a long trip.
20 He took a fist full of cash
    and he’ll return home in a month.”

21 She leads him astray with great persuasion;
    with flattering lips she seduces him.
22 All of a sudden he follows her
    like an ox fit for slaughter
        or like a fool fit for a trap[c]
23 until an arrow pierces his liver.
    As a bird darts into a snare,
        he doesn’t realize his fatal decision.[d]

24 So listen to me, my sons,
    and pay attention to what I have to say.
25 Don’t be led astray by her lifestyle,[e]
    and don’t imitate her behavior.[f]
26 For many are the victims whom she has conquered,
    and many are her slain.
27 Her house leads to Sheol,[g]
    descending to death’s catacombs.

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 7:2 The Heb. lacks Guard
  2. Proverbs 7:14 The Heb. lacks given
  3. Proverbs 7:22 So MT; LXX reads a dog fit for chains
  4. Proverbs 7:23 Lit. realize it is his life
  5. Proverbs 7:25 Lit. ways
  6. Proverbs 7:25 Lit. paths
  7. Proverbs 7:27 I.e. the realm of the dead

Warning Against the Adulterous Woman

My son,(A) keep my words
    and store up my commands within you.
Keep my commands and you will live;(B)
    guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.(C)
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
    and to insight, “You are my relative.”
They will keep you from the adulterous woman,
    from the wayward woman with her seductive words.(D)

At the window of my house
    I looked down through the lattice.
I saw among the simple,
    I noticed among the young men,
    a youth who had no sense.(E)
He was going down the street near her corner,
    walking along in the direction of her house
at twilight,(F) as the day was fading,
    as the dark of night set in.

10 Then out came a woman to meet him,
    dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.
11 (She is unruly(G) and defiant,
    her feet never stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
    at every corner she lurks.)(H)
13 She took hold of him(I) and kissed him
    and with a brazen face she said:(J)

14 “Today I fulfilled my vows,
    and I have food from my fellowship offering(K) at home.
15 So I came out to meet you;
    I looked for you and have found you!
16 I have covered my bed
    with colored linens from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed(L)
    with myrrh,(M) aloes and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;
    let’s enjoy ourselves with love!(N)
19 My husband is not at home;
    he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took his purse filled with money
    and will not be home till full moon.”

21 With persuasive words she led him astray;
    she seduced him with her smooth talk.(O)
22 All at once he followed her
    like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer[a] stepping into a noose[b](P)
23     till an arrow pierces(Q) his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare,
    little knowing it will cost him his life.(R)

24 Now then, my sons, listen(S) to me;
    pay attention to what I say.
25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways
    or stray into her paths.(T)
26 Many are the victims she has brought down;
    her slain are a mighty throng.
27 Her house is a highway to the grave,
    leading down to the chambers of death.(U)

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 7:22 Syriac (see also Septuagint); Hebrew fool
  2. Proverbs 7:22 The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain.

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