1 My child, be careful not to promise more than you can really do. You may have promised to pay the debts of a friend or of a stranger. 2 Then what you have promised to do may become a trap that catches you.
3 Now you need to escape from your problem. Your friend has got power over you. So you must be humble. Go quickly to him and ask him to forgive the debt. 4 Do not let yourself sleep or even stop to rest until you have met with him. 5 You must make yourself free from the trap. Escape quickly, like a bird or a deer that runs away from a hunter.
6 Learn a lesson from the ants, you lazy person! See how hard they work. 7 They have no leader or ruler, 8 but they get their food during the summer. At the time of harvest they store food to prepare for winter.
9 But you, you lazy man, you lie in bed too long! Will you never get up to work? 10 You say, ‘I will have a short sleep. I will rest quietly for a while.’ 11 But while you sleep you will suddenly become poor. You will have nothing, as if someone has robbed you.
12 A useless, wicked person is always deceiving people. 13 He sends secret messages with his eyes, his feet or his fingers. 14 He uses evil thoughts to decide how he will hurt people. Wherever he goes, there is trouble.
15 Because of this, trouble will suddenly happen to him. It will knock him down and he will never get up again.
16 There are six things that the Lord hates, or even seven things: 17 Eyes that show how proud a person is.A mouth that speaks lies.Hands that kill people who have done nothing wrong. 18 A mind that chooses to do wicked things.Feet that hurry to do evil things. 19 A person who tells lies in court.A person who causes trouble in a family.
20 My child, obey your father's commands. Do not forget what your mother has taught you. 21 Keep their teaching in your thoughts. Keep it as near to you as a necklace that you wear.
22 Wherever you go in life, their words will be your guide. They will keep you safe while you sleep. When you wake up, they will teach you.
23 Their commands and their teaching are like a lamp that gives you light. When they warn you that you are doing wrong things, that helps you to live well.
24 They will keep you safe from any bad woman, so that the sweet words of an adulteress will not deceive you. 25 Do not keep thinking how beautiful her body is. Do not let her use her eyes like a trap to catch you.
26 If you sleep with a prostitute, that may cost the price of a meal. But if you sleep with another man's wife, you may pay with your life.
27 You cannot carry fire next to your body and not burn your clothes. 28 You cannot walk over hot pieces of coal and not burn your feet. 29 It is the same when a man has sex with another man's wife. Anyone who does that will receive punishment that hurts him.
30 People may excuse someone who steals food because he is hungry. 31 But if someone catches him, he must pay back seven times what he took. He may lose everything that he has in his house.
32 But a man who sleeps with another man's wife is stupid. He is destroying his own life. 33 He deserves his punishment and shame. He will never stop being ashamed.
34 The woman's husband will be jealous, and he will become very angry. He will want the man to receive full punishment. 35 He will not accept any money or bribe to pay the debt, even if it is a lot of money.