Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend, that you may know prudence.
I will give you a good gift, forsake not my law.
For I also was my father’s son, tender, and as an only son in the sight of my mother:
And he taught me, and said: Let thy heart receive my words, keep my commandments, and thou shalt live.
Get wisdom, get prudence: forget not, neither decline from the words of my mouth.
Forsake her not, and she shall keep thee: love her, and she shall preserve thee.
The beginning of wisdom, get wisdom, and with all thy possession purchase prudence.
Take hold on her, and she shall exalt thee: thou shalt be glorified by her, when thou shalt embrace her.
She shall give to thy head increase of graces, and protect thee with a noble crown.
Hear, O my son, and receive my words, that years of life may be multiplied to thee.
I will shew thee the way of wisdom, I will lead thee by the paths of equity:
Which when thou shalt have entered, thy steps shall not be straitened, and when thou runnest, thou shalt not meet a stumblingblock.
Take hold on instruction, leave it not: keep it, because it is thy life.
Be not delighted in the paths of the wicked, neither let the way of evil men please thee.
Flee from it, pass not by it: go aside, and forsake it.
For they sleep not, except they have done evil: and their sleep is taken away unless they have made some to fall.
They eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of iniquity.
But the path of the just, as a shining light, goeth forwards, and increaseth even to perfect day.
The way of the wicked is darksome: they know not where they fall.
My son, hearken to my words, and incline thy ear to my sayings.
Let them not depart from thy eyes, keep them in the midst of thy heart:
For they are life to those that find them, and health to all flesh.
With all watchfulness keep thy heart, because life issueth out from it.
Remove from thee a froward mouth, and let detracting lips be far from thee.
Let thy eyes look straight on, and let thy eyelids go before thy steps.
Make straight the path for thy feet, and all thy ways shall be established.
Decline not to the right hand, nor to the left: turn away thy foot from evil. For the Lord knoweth the ways that are on the right hand: but those are perverse which are on the left hand. But he will make thy courses straight, he will bring forward thy ways in peace.
My son, attend to my wisdom, and incline thy ear to my prudence,
That thou mayst keep thoughts, and thy lips may preserve instruction. Mind not the deceit of a woman.
For the lips of a harlot are like a honeycomb dropping, and her throat is smoother than oil.
But her end is bitter as wormwood, and sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down into death, and her steps go in as far as hell.
They walk not by the path of life, her steps are wandering, and unaccountable.
Now, therefore, my son, hear me, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the doors of her house.
Give not thy honour to strangers, and thy years to the cruel.
Lest strangers be filled with thy strength, and thy labours be in another man’s house,
And thou mourn at the last, when thou shalt have spent thy flesh and thy body, and say;
Why have I hated instruction, and my heart consented not to reproof,
And have not heard the voice of them that taught me, and have not inclined my ear to masters?
I have almost been in all evil, in the midst of the church and of the congregation.
Drink water out of thy own cistern, and the streams of thy own well:
Let thy fountains be conveyed abroad, and in the streets divide thy waters.
Keep them to thyself alone, neither let strangers be partakers with thee.
Let thy vein be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of thy youth:
Let her be thy dearest hind, and most agreeable fawn: let her breasts inebriate thee at all times: be thou delighted continually with her love.
Why art thou seduced, my son, by a strange woman, and art cherished in the bosom of another?
The Lord beholdeth the ways of man, and considereth all his steps.
His own iniquities catch the wicked, and he is fast bound with the ropes of his own sins.
He shall die, because he hath not received instruction, and in the multitude of his folly he shall be deceived.
My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, thou hast engaged fast thy hand to a stranger,
Thou art ensnared with the words of thy mouth, and caught with thy own words.
Do, therefore, my son, what I say, and deliver thyself: because thou art fallen into the hand of thy neighbour. Run about, make haste, stir up thy friend:
Give not sleep to thy eyes, neither let thy eyelids slumber.
Deliver thyself as a doe from the hand, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Go to the ant, O sluggard, and consider her ways, and learn wisdom:
Which, although she hath no guide, nor master, nor captain,
Provideth her meat for herself in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
Thou wilt sleep a little, thou wilt slumber a little, thou wilt fold thy hands a little to sleep:
And want shall come upon thee, as a traveller, and poverty as a man armed. But if thou be diligent, thy harvest shall come as a fountain, and want shall flee far from thee.
A man that is an apostate, an unprofitable man, walketh with a perverse mouth,
He winketh with the eyes, presseth with the foot, speaketh with the finger.
With a wicked heart he deviseth evil, and at all times he soweth discord.
To such a one his destruction shall presently come, and he shall suddenly be destroyed, and shall no longer have any remedy.
Six things there are, which the Lord hateth, and the seventh his soul detesteth:
Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that deviseth wicked plots, feet that are swift to run into mischief,
A deceitful witness that uttereth lies, and him that soweth discord among brethren.
My son, keep the commandments of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.
Bind them in thy heart continually, and put them about thy neck.
When thou walkest, let them go with thee: when thou sleepest, let them keep thee, and when thou awakest, talk with them.
Because the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light, and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
That they may keep thee from the evil woman, and from the flattering tongue of the stranger.
Let not thy heart covet her beauty, be not caught with her winks:
For the price of a harlot is scarce one loaf: but the woman catcheth the precious soul of a man.
Can a man hide fire in his bosom, and his garments not burn?
Or can he walk upon hot coals, and his feet not be burnt?
So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife, shall not be clean when he shall touch her.
The fault is not so great when a man hath stolen: for he stealeth to fill his hungry soul:
And if he be taken, he shall restore sevenfold, and shall give up all the substance of his house.
But he that is an adulterer, for the folly of his heart shall destroy his own soul:
He gathereth to himself shame and dishonour, and his reproach shall not be blotted out:
Because the jealousy and rage of the husband will not spare in the day of revenge,
Nor will he yield to any man’s prayers, nor will he accept for satisfaction ever so many gifts.