December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 My son, to my wisdom be attentive, to my knowledge incline your ear,
- That discretion may watch over you, and understanding may guard you.
- The lips of an adulteress drip with honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil;
- But in the end she is as bitter as wormwood, as sharp as a two-edged sword.
- Her feet go down to death, to the nether world her steps attain;
- Lest you see before you the road to life, her paths will ramble, you know not where.
- So now, O children, listen to me, go not astray from the words of my mouth.
- Keep your way far from her, approach not the door of her house,
- 2 Lest you give your honor to others, and your years to a merciless one;
- Lest strangers have their fill of your wealth, your hard-won earnings go to an alien's house;
- And you groan in the end, when your flesh and your body are consumed;
- And you say, "Oh, why did I hate instruction, and my heart spurn reproof!
- Why did I not listen to the voice of my teachers, nor to my instructors incline my ear!
- I have all but come to utter ruin, condemned by the public assembly!"
- Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.
- How may your water sources be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets?
- Let your fountain be yours alone, not one shared with strangers;
- And have joy of the wife of your youth,
- 3 your lovely hind, your graceful doe. Her love will invigorate you always, through her love you will flourish continually,
- When you lie down she will watch over you, and when you wake, she will share your concerns; wherever you turn, she will guide you.
- Why then, my son, should you go astray for another's wife and accept the embraces of an adulteress?
- For each man's ways are plain to the LORD'S sight; all their paths he surveys;
- By his own iniquities the wicked man will be caught, in the meshes of his own sin he will be held fast;
- He will die from lack of discipline, through the greatness of his folly he will be lost.
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1 [1-20] Understanding and discretion guard a man against the wiles of an adulteress, which lead astray and beget bitterness, bloodshed and death (Proverb 5:1-6). They destroy honor, waste the years of life, despoil hard-earned wealth, consume the flesh, and bring remorse in the end (Proverb 5:7-14). Conjugal fidelity and love for one wife only bring happiness and security (Proverb 5:15-20). Cf Proverb 6:20-7:27.
2  Honor: the words "life" and "wealth" have also been read in this place. A merciless one: the offended husband; cf Proverb 6:34-35.
3  Lovely hind . . . graceful doe: oriental symbols of feminine beauty and charm; cf Song 2:7, 9, 17.
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