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Don’t Be Foolish

My child, suppose you agree
to pay the debt of someone,
    who cannot repay a loan.
Then you are trapped
    by your own words,
    and you are now in the power
    of someone else.
Here is what you should do:
    Go and beg for permission
    to call off the agreement.
Do this before you fall asleep
    or even get sleepy.
Save yourself, just as a deer
or a bird
    tries to escape
    from a hunter.

You lazy people can learn
    by watching an anthill.
Ants don’t have leaders,
    but they store up food
    during harvest season.
How long will you lie there
    doing nothing at all?
    When are you going to get up
    and stop sleeping?
10 Sleep a little. Doze a little.
    Fold your hands
    and twiddle your thumbs.
11 Suddenly, everything is gone,
    as though it had been taken
    by an armed robber.

12 Worthless liars go around
13 winking
    and giving signals
    to deceive others.
14 They are always thinking up
something cruel and evil,
    and they stir up trouble.
15 But they will be struck
by sudden disaster
    and left without a hope.

16 There are six or seven
kinds of people
    the Lord doesn’t like:
17 Those who are too proud
    or tell lies or murder,
18     those who make evil plans
    or are quick to do wrong,
19 those who tell lies in court
    or stir up trouble
    in a family.

20 Obey the teaching
    of your parents—
21     always keep it in mind
    and never forget it.
22 Their teaching will guide you
    when you walk,
protect you when you sleep,
    and talk to you
    when you are awake.

23 The Law of the Lord is a lamp,
    and its teachings
    shine brightly.
Correction and self-control
    will lead you through life.
24 They will protect you
    from the flattering words
    of someone else’s wife.[a]
25 Don’t let yourself be attracted
by the charm
    and lovely eyes
    of someone like that.
26 A woman who sells her love
can be bought
    for as little
    as the price of a meal.
But making love
to another man’s wife
    will cost you everything.
27 If you carry burning coals,
    you burn your clothes;
28     if you step on hot coals,
    you burn your feet.
29 And if you go to bed
with another man’s wife,
    you pay the price.

30 We don’t put up with thieves,
    not even[b] with one who steals
    for something to eat.
31 And thieves who get caught
    must pay back
    seven times what was stolen
    and lose everything.
32 But if you go to bed
    with another man’s wife,
    you will destroy yourself
    by your own stupidity.
33 You will be beaten
    and forever disgraced,
34 because a jealous husband
can be furious and merciless
    when he takes revenge.
35 He won’t let you pay him off,
    no matter what you offer.

Footnotes

  1. 6.24 someone else’s wife: Or “an evil woman.”
  2. 6.30 not even: Or “except.”

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