December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands.
- Keep my commands and live, 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!" call Understanding, "Friend!"
- That they may keep you from another's wife, from the adulteress with her smooth words.
- For at the window of my house, through my lattice I looked out--
- And I saw among the simple ones, I observed among the young men, a youth with no sense,
- Going along the street near the corner, then walking in the direction of her house--
- In the twilight, at dusk of day, at the time of the dark of night.
- And lo! the woman comes to meet him, robed like a harlot, with secret designs--
- She is fickle and unruly, in her home her feet cannot rest;
- Now she is in the streets, now in the open squares, and at every corner she lurks in ambush--
- When she seizes him, she kisses him, and with an impudent look says to him:
- 1 "I owed peace offerings, and today I have fulfilled my vows;
- So I came out to meet you, to look for you, and I have found you!
- With coverlets I have spread my couch, with brocaded cloths of Egyptian linen;
- I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, with aloes, and with cinnamon.
- "Come, let us drink our fill of love, until morning, let us feast on love!
- For my husband is not at home, he has gone on a long journey;
- A bag of money he took with him, not till the full moon will he return home."
- She wins him over by her repeated urging, with her smooth lips she leads him astray;
- He follows her stupidly, like an ox that is led to slaughter; Like a stag that minces toward the net,
- till an arrow pierces its liver; Like a bird that rushes into a snare, unaware that its life is at stake.
- So now, O children, listen to me, be attentive to the words of my mouth!
- Let not your heart turn to her ways, go not astray in her paths;
- For many are those she has struck down dead, numerous, those she has slain.
- Her house is made up of ways to the nether world, leading down into the chambers of death.
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1  "Peace offerings . . . vows": a portion of the sacrifice reverted to the donor and had to be eaten on the same day at a family festival (Lev 7:11-15). In this figure, the adulteress offers to share with the foolish young man the deadly feast of her sensuality.
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