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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 6


1 2 My son, if you have become surety to your neighbor, given your hand in pledge to another,


You have been snared by the utterance of your lips, caught by the words of your mouth;


So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor's power: Go, hurry, stir up your neighbor!


Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids;


Free yourself as a gazelle from the snare, or as a bird from the hand of the fowler.


Go to the ant, O sluggard, study her ways and learn wisdom;


For though she has no chief, no commander or ruler,


She procures her food in the summer, stores up her provisions in the harvest.


How long, O sluggard, will you rest? when will you rise from your sleep?


3 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest


Then will poverty come upon you like a highway man, and want like an armed man.


A scoundrel, a villain, is he who deals in crooked talk.


He winks his eyes, shuffles his feet, makes signs with his fingers;


He has perversity in his heart, is always plotting evil, sows discord.


Therefore suddenly ruin comes upon him; in an instant he is crushed beyond cure.


4 There are six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to him;


Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood;


A heart that plots wicked schemes, feet that run swiftly to evil,


The false witness who utters lies, and he who sows discord among brothers.


5 Observe, my son, your father's bidding, and reject not your mother's teaching;


Keep them fastened over your heart always, put them around your neck;


For the bidding is a lamp, and the teaching a light, and a way to life are the reproofs of discipline;


To keep you from your neighbor's wife, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.


Lust not in your heart after her beauty, let her not captivate you with her glance!


6 For the price of a loose woman may be scarcely a loaf of bread, But if she is married, she is a trap for your precious life.


Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his garments not burned?


Or can a man walk on live coals, and his feet not be scorched?


So with him who goes in to his neighbor's wife -  none who touches her shall go unpunished.


Men despise not the thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry;


Yet if he be caught he must pay back sevenfold; all the wealth of his house he may yield up.


But he who commits adultery is a fool; he who would destroy himself does it.


A degrading beating will he get, and his disgrace will not be wiped away;


For vindictive is the husband's wrath, he will have no pity on the day of vengeance;


He will not consider any restitution, nor be satisfied with the greatest gifts.



1 [1-19] These verses interrupt the discourse of chapters Proverb 6:2-7, which should be read apart from them; they contain four shorter proverbs akin to those in Prov 30.

2 [1] Given your hand in pledge: literally, "struck your hands"; this was probably the legal method for closing a contract.

3 [10] This verse may be regarded as the sluggard's reply or as a continuation of the remonstrance.

4 [16-19] The seven vices symbolized for the most part by bodily organs are pride, lying, murder, intrigue, readiness to do evil, false witness, and the stirring up of discord.

5 [ 6:20- 7:27] Parental training and the love of wisdom are an invaluable and constant help for the young ( Proverb 6:20-23; 7:1-4). They are the best defense against adultery ( Proverb 6:24; 7:5, 24-25), which involves the guilty in many dangers and punishments ( Proverb 6:26-35; 7:6-27). Cf Proverb 5:1-20.

6 [26] Some interpret the verse in a progressive sense, i.e., to satisfy the increasing demands of a courtesan a man is reduced to poverty; if the woman is married, even his very life is endangered.

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