Reading for September 6th

Proverbs 4-7 (Listen)

A Father's Wise Instruction

Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,

and be attentive, that you may gain insight,

for I give you good precepts;

do not forsake my teaching.

When I was a son with my father,

tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,

he taught me and said to me,

“Let your heart hold fast my words;

keep my commandments, and live.

Get wisdom; get insight;

do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;

love her, and she will guard you.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,

and whatever you get, get insight.

Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;

she will honor you if you embrace her.

She will place on your head a graceful garland;

she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”

 

Hear, my son, and accept my words,

that the years of your life may be many.

I have taught you the way of wisdom;

I have led you in the paths of uprightness.

When you walk, your step will not be hampered,

and if you run, you will not stumble.

Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;

guard her, for she is your life.

Do not enter the path of the wicked,

and do not walk in the way of the evil.

Avoid it; do not go on it;

turn away from it and pass on.

For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;

they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.

For they eat the bread of wickedness

and drink the wine of violence.

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,

which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;

they do not know over what they stumble.

 

My son, be attentive to my words;

incline your ear to my sayings.

Let them not escape from your sight;

keep them within your heart.

For they are life to those who find them,

and healing to all their flesh.

Keep your heart with all vigilance,

for from it flow the springs of life.

Put away from you crooked speech,

and put devious talk far from you.

Let your eyes look directly forward,

and your gaze be straight before you.

Ponder the path of your feet;

then all your ways will be sure.

Do not swerve to the right or to the left;

turn your foot away from evil.

 

Warning Against Adultery

My son, be attentive to my wisdom;

incline your ear to my understanding,

that you may keep discretion,

and your lips may guard knowledge.

For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,

and her speech is smoother than oil,

but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,

sharp as a two-edged sword.

Her feet go down to death;

her steps follow the path to Sheol;

she does not ponder the path of life;

her ways wander, and she does not know it.

 

And now, O sons, listen to me,

and do not depart from the words of my mouth.

Keep your way far from her,

and do not go near the door of her house,

lest you give your honor to others

and your years to the merciless,

lest strangers take their fill of your strength,

and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,

and at the end of your life you groan,

when your flesh and body are consumed,

and you say, “How I hated discipline,

and my heart despised reproof!

I did not listen to the voice of my teachers

or incline my ear to my instructors.

I am at the brink of utter ruin

in the assembled congregation.”

 

Drink water from your own cistern,

flowing water from your own well.

Should your springs be scattered abroad,

streams of water in the streets?

Let them be for yourself alone,

and not for strangers with you.

Let your fountain be blessed,

and rejoice in the wife of your youth,

a lovely deer, a graceful doe.

Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;

be intoxicated always in her love.

Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman

and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?

For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord,

and he ponders all his paths.

The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,

and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.

He dies for lack of discipline,

and because of his great folly he is led astray.

 

Practical Warnings

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,

have given your pledge for a stranger,

if you are snared in the words of your mouth,

caught in the words of your mouth,

then do this, my son, and save yourself,

for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:

go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor.

Give your eyes no sleep

and your eyelids no slumber;

save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,

like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

 

Go to the ant, O sluggard;

consider her ways, and be wise.

Without having any chief,

officer, or ruler,

she prepares her bread in summer

and gathers her food in harvest.

How long will you lie there, O sluggard?

When will you arise from your sleep?

A little sleep, a little slumber,

a little folding of the hands to rest,

and poverty will come upon you like a robber,

and want like an armed man.

 

A worthless person, a wicked man,

goes about with crooked speech,

winks with his eyes, signals with his feet,

points with his finger,

with perverted heart devises evil,

continually sowing discord;

therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;

in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

 

There are six things that the Lord hates,

seven that are an abomination to him:

haughty eyes, a lying tongue,

and hands that shed innocent blood,

a heart that devises wicked plans,

feet that make haste to run to evil,

a false witness who breathes out lies,

and one who sows discord among brothers.

 

Warnings Against Adultery

My son, keep your father's commandment,

and forsake not your mother's teaching.

Bind them on your heart always;

tie them around your neck.

When you walk, they will lead you;

when you lie down, they will watch over you;

and when you awake, they will talk with you.

For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,

and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,

to preserve you from the evil woman,

from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.

Do not desire her beauty in your heart,

and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;

for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread,

but a married woman hunts down a precious life.

Can a man carry fire next to his chest

and his clothes not be burned?

Or can one walk on hot coals

and his feet not be scorched?

So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife;

none who touches her will go unpunished.

People do not despise a thief if he steals

to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,

but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold;

he will give all the goods of his house.

He who commits adultery lacks sense;

he who does it destroys himself.

He will get wounds and dishonor,

and his disgrace will not be wiped away.

For jealousy makes a man furious,

and he will not spare when he takes revenge.

He will accept no compensation;

he will refuse though you multiply gifts.

 

Warning Against the Adulteress

My son, keep my words

and treasure up my commandments with you;

keep my commandments and live;

keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;

bind them on your fingers;

write them on the tablet of your heart.

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”

and call insight your intimate friend,

to keep you from the forbidden woman,

from the adulteress with her smooth words.

 

For at the window of my house

I have looked out through my lattice,

and I have seen among the simple,

I have perceived among the youths,

a young man lacking sense,

passing along the street near her corner,

taking the road to her house

in the twilight, in the evening,

at the time of night and darkness.

 

And behold, the woman meets him,

dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.

She is loud and wayward;

her feet do not stay at home;

now in the street, now in the market,

and at every corner she lies in wait.

She seizes him and kisses him,

and with bold face she says to him,

“I had to offer sacrifices,

and today I have paid my vows;

so now I have come out to meet you,

to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.

I have spread my couch with coverings,

colored linens from Egyptian linen;

I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,

aloes, and cinnamon.

Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;

let us delight ourselves with love.

For my husband is not at home;

he has gone on a long journey;

he took a bag of money with him;

at full moon he will come home.”

 

With much seductive speech she persuades him;

with her smooth talk she compels him.

All at once he follows her,

as an ox goes to the slaughter,

or as a stag is caught fast

till an arrow pierces its liver;

as a bird rushes into a snare;

he does not know that it will cost him his life.

 

And now, O sons, listen to me,

and be attentive to the words of my mouth.

Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;

do not stray into her paths,

for many a victim has she laid low,

and all her slain are a mighty throng.

Her house is the way to Sheol,

going down to the chambers of death.