1 My child,* if you co-sign a loan for a friend or guarantee the debt of someone you hardly know--1
2 if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said--
3 quick, get out of it if you possibly can! You have placed yourself at your friend's mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased.
4 Don't put it off. Do it now! Don't rest until you do.
5 Save yourself like a deer escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net.
6 Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and be wise!
7 Even though they have no prince, governor, or ruler to make them work,
8 they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.
9 But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? I want you to learn this lesson:
10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest--
11 and poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
12 Here is a description of worthless and wicked people: They are constant liars,
13 signaling their true intentions to their friends by making signs with their eyes and feet and fingers.
14 Their perverted hearts plot evil. They stir up trouble constantly.
15 But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken beyond all hope of healing.
16 There are six things the LORD hates--no, seven things he detests:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent,
18 a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong,
19 a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord among brothers.
20 My son, obey your father's commands, and don't neglect your mother's teaching.
21 Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck.
22 Wherever you walk, their counsel can lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up in the morning, they will advise you.
23 For these commands and this teaching are a lamp to light the way ahead of you. The correction of discipline is the way to life.
24 These commands and this teaching will keep you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of an adulterous woman.
25 Don't lust for her beauty. Don't let her coyness seduce you.
26 For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, and sleeping with another man's wife may cost you your very life.
27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap and not be burned?
28 Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet?
29 So it is with the man who sleeps with another man's wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished.
30 Excuses might be found for a thief who steals because he is starving.
31 But if he is caught, he will be fined seven times as much as he stole, even if it means selling everything in his house to pay it back.
32 But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys his own soul.
33 Wounds and constant disgrace are his lot. His shame will never be erased.
34 For the woman's husband will be furious in his jealousy, and he will have no mercy in his day of vengeance.
35 There is no compensation or bribe that will satisfy him.
Read Proverbs 7