4 Listen, children, 1 to a father’s instruction, 2
and pay attention so that 3 you may gain 4 discernment.
2 Because I give 5 you good instruction, 6
do not forsake my teaching.
3 When I was a son to my father, 7
a tender only child 8 before my mother,
4 he taught me, and he said to me:
“Let your heart lay hold of my words;
keep my commands so that 9 you will live.
5 Acquire wisdom, acquire understanding;
do not forget and do not turn aside from the words I speak. 10
6 Do not forsake wisdom, 11 and she will protect you;
love her, and she will guard you.
7 Wisdom is supreme 12 – so 13 acquire wisdom,
and whatever you acquire, 14 acquire understanding! 15
8 Esteem her highly 16 and she will exalt you;
she will honor you if you embrace her.
9 She will place a fair 17 garland on your head;
she will bestow 18 a beautiful crown 19 on you.”
10 Listen, my child, 20 and accept my words,
so that 21 the years of your life will be many. 22
11 I will guide you 23 in the way of wisdom
and I will lead you in upright paths. 24
12 When you walk, your steps 25 will not be hampered, 26
and when you run, 27 you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction, 28 do not let it go;
protect it, 29 because it is your life.
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked
or walk 30 in the way of those who are evil.
15 Avoid it, do not go on it;
turn away from it, and go on. 31
16 For they cannot sleep unless they cause harm; 32
they are robbed of sleep 33 until they make someone stumble. 34
17 For they eat bread 35 gained from wickedness 36
and drink wine obtained from violence. 37
18 But the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light, 38
growing brighter and brighter 39 until full day. 40
19 The way of the wicked is like gloomy darkness; 41
they do not know what causes them to stumble. 42
20 My child, pay attention to my words;
listen attentively 43 to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart 44 from your sight,
guard 45 them within your heart; 46
22 for they are life to those who find them
and healing to one’s entire body. 47
23 Guard your heart with all vigilance, 48
for from it are the sources 49 of life.
24 Remove perverse speech 50 from your mouth; 51
keep devious talk far from your lips. 52
25 Let your eyes look directly 53 in front of you
and let your gaze 54 look straight before you.
26 Make the path for your feet 55 level, 56
so that 57 all your ways may be established. 58
27 Do not turn 59 to the right or to the left;
turn yourself 60 away from evil. 61
5 My child, 1 be attentive to my wisdom,
pay close attention 2 to my understanding,
2 in order to safeguard 3 discretion, 4
and that your lips may guard knowledge.
3 For the lips 5 of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her seductive words 6 are smoother than olive oil,
4 but in the end 7 she is bitter 8 as wormwood, 9
sharp as a two-edged 10 sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave. 11
6 Lest 12 she should make level the path leading to life, 13
her paths are unstable 14 but she does not know it. 15
7 So now, children, 16 listen to me;
do not turn aside from the words I speak. 17
8 Keep yourself 18 far 19 from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
9 lest you give your vigor 20 to others
and your years to a cruel person,
10 lest strangers devour 21 your strength, 22
and your labor 23 benefit 24 another man’s house.
11 And at the end of your life 25 you will groan 26
when your flesh and your body are wasted away. 27
12 And you will say, “How I hated discipline!
My heart spurned reproof!
13 For 28 I did not obey my teachers 29
and I did not heed 30 my instructors. 31
14 I almost 32 came to complete ruin 33
in the midst of the whole congregation!” 34
15 Drink water from your own cistern
and running water from your own well. 35
16 Should your springs be dispersed 36 outside,
your streams of water in the wide plazas?
17 Let them be for yourself 37 alone,
and not for strangers with you. 38
18 May your fountain be blessed, 39
and may you rejoice 40 in your young wife 41 –
19 a loving doe, 42 a graceful deer;
may her breasts satisfy you at all times,
may you be captivated 43 by her love always.
20 But why should you be captivated, 44 my son, by an adulteress,
and embrace the bosom of a different woman? 45
21 For the ways of a person 46 are in front of the Lord’s eyes,
and the Lord 47 weighs 48 all that person’s 49 paths.
22 The wicked 50 will be captured by his 51 own iniquities, 52
and he will be held 53 by the cords of his own sin. 54
23 He will die because 55 there was no discipline;
because of the greatness of his folly 56 he will reel. 57
6 My child, 1 if you have made a pledge 2 for your neighbor,
and 3 have become a guarantor 4 for a stranger, 5
2 if 6 you have been ensnared 7 by the words you have uttered, 8
and have been caught by the words you have spoken,
3 then, my child, do this in order to deliver yourself, 9
because you have fallen into your neighbor’s power: 10
go, humble yourself, 11
and appeal firmly 12 to your neighbor.
4 Permit no sleep to your eyes 13
or slumber to your eyelids.
5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from a snare, 14
and like a bird from the trap 15 of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; 16
observe its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
overseer, or 17 ruler,
8 yet it prepares its food in the summer;
it gathers at the harvest what it will eat. 18
9 How long, you sluggard, will you lie there?
When will you rise from your sleep? 19
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to relax, 20
11 and your poverty will come like a robber, 21
and your need like an armed man. 22
12 A worthless and wicked person 23
walks around saying perverse 24 things; 25
13 he winks with his eyes,
signals with his feet,
and points with his fingers; 26
14 he plots evil with perverse thoughts 27 in his heart,
he spreads contention 28 at all times.
15 Therefore, his disaster will come suddenly;
in an instant 29 he will be broken, and there will be no remedy.
16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
even 30 seven 31 things that are an abomination to him: 32
17 haughty eyes, 33 a lying tongue, 34
and hands that shed innocent blood, 35
18 a heart that devises wicked plans, 36
feet that are swift to run 37 to evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies, 38
and a person who spreads discord 39 among family members. 40
20 My child, guard the commands of your father
and do not forsake the instruction of your mother.
21 Bind them 41 on your heart continually;
fasten them around your neck.
22 When you walk about, 42 they 43 will guide you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
when you wake up, 44 they will talk 45 to you.
23 For the commandments 46 are like 47 a lamp, 48
instruction is like a light,
and rebukes of discipline are like 49 the road leading to life, 50
24 by keeping 51 you from the evil woman, 52
from the smooth tongue of 53 the loose woman. 54
25 Do not lust 55 in your heart for her beauty,
and do not let her captivate you with her alluring eyes; 56
26 for on account 57 of a prostitute one is brought down to a loaf of bread,
but the wife of another man 58 preys on your precious life. 59
27 Can a man hold 60 fire 61 against his chest 62
without 63 burning his clothes?
28 Can 64 a man walk on hot coals
without scorching his feet?
29 So it is with 65 the one who has sex with 66 his neighbor’s wife;
no one 67 who touches 68 her will escape 69 punishment. 70
30 People 71 do not despise a thief when he steals
to fulfill his need 72 when he is hungry.
31 Yet 73 if he is caught 74 he must repay 75 seven times over,
he might even have to give 76 all the wealth of his house.
32 A man who commits adultery with a woman lacks wisdom, 77
whoever does it destroys his own life. 78
33 He will be beaten and despised, 79
and his reproach will not be wiped away; 80
34 for jealousy kindles 81 a husband’s 82 rage,
and he will not show mercy 83 when he takes revenge.
35 He will not consider 84 any compensation; 85
he will not be willing, even if you multiply the compensation. 86