Proverbs 6

1 My child, have you promised to be responsible for someone else's debts? 1
2 Have you been caught by your own words, trapped by your own promises?
3 Well then, my child, you are in that person's power, but this is how to get out of it: hurry to him, and beg him to release you.
4 Don't let yourself go to sleep or even stop to rest.
5 Get out of the trap like a bird or a deer escaping from a hunter.
6 Lazy people should learn a lesson from the way ants live.
7 They have no leader, chief, or ruler,
8 but they store up their food during the summer, getting ready for winter.
9 How long is the lazy man going to lie around? When is he ever going to get up?
10 "I'll just take a short nap," he says; "I'll fold my hands and rest a while." 2
11 But while he sleeps, poverty will attack him like an armed robber.
12 Worthless, wicked people go around telling lies.
13 They wink and make gestures to deceive you, 3
14 all the while planning evil in their perverted minds, stirring up trouble everywhere.
15 Because of this, disaster will strike them without warning, and they will be fatally wounded.
16 There are seven things that the Lord hates and cannot tolerate: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind that thinks up wicked plans, feet that hurry off to do evil, a witness who tells one lie after another, and someone who stirs up trouble among friends
20 Son, do what your father tells you and never forget what your mother taught you.
21 Keep their words with you always, locked in your heart.
22 Their teaching will lead you when you travel, protect you at night, and advise you during the day.
23 Their instructions are a shining light; their correction can teach you how to live.
24 It can keep you away from bad women, from the seductive words of other men's wives.
25 Don't be tempted by their beauty; don't be trapped by their flirting eyes.
26 A man can hire a prostitute for the price of a loaf of bread, but adultery will cost him all he has.
27 Can you carry fire against your chest without burning your clothes?
28 Can you walk on hot coals without burning your feet?
29 It is just as dangerous to sleep with another man's wife. Whoever does it will suffer.
30 People don't despise a thief if he steals food when he is hungry;
31 yet if he is caught, he must pay back seven times more - he must give up everything he has.
32 But a man who commits adultery doesn't have any sense. He is just destroying himself.
33 He will be dishonored and beaten up; he will be permanently disgraced.
34 A husband is never angrier than when he is jealous; his revenge knows no limits.
35 He will not accept any payment; no amount of gifts will satisfy his anger.

Proverbs 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

Cautions against rash suretiship. (1-5) A rebuke to slothfulness. (6-11) Seven things hateful to God. (12-19) Exhortations to walk according to God's commandments. (20-35)

Verses 1-5 If we live as directed by the word of God, we shall find it profitable even in this present world. We are stewards of our worldly substance, and have to answer to the Lord for our disposal of it; to waste it in rash schemes, or such plans as may entangle us in difficulties and temptations, is wrong. A man ought never to be surety for more than he is able and willing to pay, and can afford to pay, without wronging his family; he ought to look upon every sum he is engaged for, as his own debt. If we must take all this care to get our debts to men forgiven, much more to obtain forgiveness with God. Humble thyself to him, make sure of Christ as thy Friend, to plead for thee; pray earnestly that thy sins may be pardoned, and that thou mayest be kept from going down to the pit.

Verses 6-11 Diligence in business is every man's wisdom and duty; not so much that he may attain worldly wealth, as that he may not be a burden to others, or a scandal to the church. The ants are more diligent than slothful men. We may learn wisdom from the meanest insects, and be shamed by them. Habits of indolence and indulgence grow upon people. Thus life runs to waste; and poverty, though at first at a distance, gradually draws near, like a traveller; and when it arrives, is like an armed man, too strong to be resisted. All this may be applied to the concerns of our souls. How many love their sleep of sin, and their dreams of worldly happiness! Shall we not seek to awaken such? Shall we not give diligence to secure our own salvation?

Verses 12-19 If the slothful are to be condemned, who do nothing, much more those that do all the ill they can. Observe how such a man is described. He says and does every thing artfully, and with design. His ruin shall come without warning, and without relief. Here is a list of things hateful to God. Those sins are in a special manner provoking to God, which are hurtful to the comfort of human life. These things which God hates, we must hate in ourselves; it is nothing to hate them in others. Let us shun all such practices, and watch and pray against them; and avoid, with marked disapproval, all who are guilty of them, whatever may be their rank.

Verses 20-35 The word of God has something to say to us upon all occasions. Let not faithful reproofs ever make us uneasy. When we consider how much this sin abounds, how heinous adultery is in its own nature, of what evil consequence it is, and how certainly it destroys the spiritual life in the soul, we shall not wonder that the cautions against it are so often repeated. Let us notice the subjects of this chapter. Let us remember Him who willingly became our Surety, when we were strangers and enemies. And shall Christians, who have such prospects, motives, and examples, be slothful and careless? Shall we neglect what is pleasing to God, and what he will graciously reward? May we closely watch every sense by which poison can enter our minds or affections.

Cross References 3

  • 1. +26.1-5Ben Sira 29.14-20.
  • 2. 6.10, 11Proverbs 24.33, 34.
  • 3. +26.13, 14Ben Sira 27.22.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. People don't despise . . . hungry; [or] Don't people despise . . . hungry?

Chapter Summary


In this chapter the wise man dissuades from rash suretyship; exposes the sin of idleness; describes a wicked man; makes mention of seven things hateful to God; exhorts to attend to parental instructions and precepts, and cautions against adultery. Suretyship is described, Pr 6:1; and represented as a snare and a net, in which men are taken, Pr 6:2; and advice is given what to do in such a case, for safety in it, and deliverance from it, Pr 6:3-5; The sin of slothfulness is exposed, by observing the industry of the ant, Pr 6:6-8; by expostulating with the sluggard for his continuance in sloth, and by mimicking him, Pr 6:9,10; and by the poverty it brings upon him, Pr 6:11. Then a naughty wicked man is described, by his mouth, eyes, feet, fingers, and heart, whose ruin is sudden and inevitable, Pr 6:11-15. The seven things hateful to God are particularly named, Pr 6:16-19. And next the exhortation in some preceding chapters is reassumed, to attend to the instructions of parents; which will be found ornamental, pleasant, and useful, Pr 6:20-23. Especially to preserve from the lewd woman cautioned against, Pr 6:24,25; whose company is dissuaded from; on account of the extreme poverty and distress she brings persons to, and even danger of life, Pr 6:26; from the unavoidable ruin such come into, Pr 6:27-29; from the sin of uncleanness being greater than that of theft, Pr 6:30,31; from the folly the adulterer betrays; from the destruction of his soul, and the disgrace he brings on himself, Pr 6:32,33; and from the rage and irreconcilable offence of the husband of the adulteress, Pr 6:34,35.

Proverbs 6 Commentaries

Scripture taken from the Good News Translation - Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.