6 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,
2 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.
3 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.
4 Do not sleep;
don’t even rest your eyes until you deal with this.
5 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.
6 Take a lesson from the ant, you who love leisure and ease.
Observe how it works, and dare to be just as wise.
7 It has no boss,
no one laying down the law or telling it what to do,
8 Yet it gathers its food through summer
and takes what it needs from the harvest.
9 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.