1 My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger— 2 if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said— 3 follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased. 4 Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do. 5 Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net. 6 Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! 7 Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, 8 they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. 9 But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? 10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— 11 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber. 12 What are worthless and wicked people like? They are constant liars, 13 signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers. 14 Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble. 15 But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing. 16 There are six things the LORD hates— no, seven things he detests: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, 18 a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, 19 a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family. 20 My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. 21 Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you. 23 For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life. 24 It will keep you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman. 25 Don’t lust for her beauty. Don’t let her coy glances seduce you. 26 For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life. 27 Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire? 28 Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? 29 So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished. 30 Excuses might be found for a thief who steals because he is starving. 31 But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole, even if he has to sell everything in his house. 32 But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself. 33 He will be wounded and disgraced. His shame will never be erased. 34 For the woman’s jealous husband will be furious, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. 35 He will accept no compensation, nor be satisfied with a payoff of any size.
1 Follow my advice, my son; always treasure my commands. 2 Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes. 3 Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. 4 Love wisdom like a sister; make insight a beloved member of your family. 5 Let them protect you from an affair with an immoral woman, from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman. 6 While I was at the window of my house, looking through the curtain, 7 I saw some naive young men, and one in particular who lacked common sense. 8 He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house. 9 It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness fell. 10 The woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart. 11 She was the brash, rebellious type, never content to stay at home. 12 She is often in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner. 13 She threw her arms around him and kissed him, and with a brazen look she said, 14 “I’ve just made my peace offerings and fulfilled my vows. 15 You’re the one I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are! 16 My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen. 17 I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning. Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses, 19 for my husband is not home. He’s away on a long trip. 20 He has taken a wallet full of money with him and won’t return until later this month. ” 21 So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. 22 He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, 23 awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life. 24 So listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words. 25 Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her. Don’t wander down her wayward path. 26 For she has been the ruin of many; many men have been her victims. 27 Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death.
1 So I decided that I would not bring you grief with another painful visit. 2 For if I cause you grief, who will make me glad? Certainly not someone I have grieved. 3 That is why I wrote to you as I did, so that when I do come, I won’t be grieved by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy. Surely you all know that my joy comes from your being joyful. 4 I wrote that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn’t want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you. 5 I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. 6 Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. 7 Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. 8 So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him. 9 I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. 10 When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, 11 so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes. 12 When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me. 13 But I had no peace of mind because my dear brother Titus hadn’t yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him. 14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? 17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.