Lessons for Daily Life
“My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt
or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger—
if you have trapped yourself by your agreement
and are caught by what you said—
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.
Don’t put it off; do it now!
Don’t rest until you do.
Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter,
like a bird fleeing from a net.
Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
Learn from their ways and become wise!
Though they have no prince
or governor or ruler to make them work,
they labor hard all summer,
gathering food for the winter.
But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep?
When will you wake up?
A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
What are worthless and wicked people like?
They are constant liars,
signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye,
a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers.
Their perverted hearts plot evil,
and they constantly stir up trouble.
But they will be destroyed suddenly,
broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing.
There are six things the Lord hates—
no, seven things he detests:
a lying tongue,
hands that kill the innocent,
a heart that plots evil,
feet that race to do wrong,
a false witness who pours out lies,
a person who sows discord in a family.
My son, obey your father’s commands,
and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
Keep their words always in your heart.
Tie them around your neck.
When you walk, their counsel will lead you.
When you sleep, they will protect you.
When you wake up, they will advise you.
For their command is a lamp
and their instruction a light;
their corrective discipline
is the way to life.
It will keep you from the immoral woman,
from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman.
Don’t lust for her beauty.
Don’t let her coy glances seduce you.
For a prostitute will bring you to poverty,
but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life.
Can a man scoop a flame into his lap
and not have his clothes catch on fire?
Can he walk on hot coals
and not blister his feet?
So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife.
He who embraces her will not go unpunished.
Excuses might be found for a thief
who steals because he is starving.
But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole,
even if he has to sell everything in his house.
But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool,
for he destroys himself.
He will be wounded and disgraced.
His shame will never be erased.
For the woman’s jealous husband will be furious,
and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
He will accept no compensation,
nor be satisfied with a payoff of any size.”