Proverbs 6:26

ESV for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life.
NIV For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man's wife preys on your very life.
NASB For the price of a prostitute reduces one to a loaf of bread, And an adulteress hunts for a precious life.
CSB For a prostitute's fee is only a loaf of bread, but the wife of another man goes after a precious life.
NLT For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life.
KJV For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.

What does Proverbs 6:26 mean?

This passage warns against the dangers of adultery (Proverbs 6:20–25). Here, Solomon begins to explain the dangers which adultery brings into one's life. The Hebrew wording here is obscure, and translators vary in exactly how it is rendered. Translations such as the ESV and NIV imply that the price of a prostitute is relatively small, but adultery with a married woman can cost one everything. The NASB and KJV, in contrast, suggest that prostitution can bring a man to poverty, "reducing" a man to a loaf of bread. In either case, the point is clear that there are serious risks involved in both—though, arguably, in most cultures there is more shame and potential revenge involved in adultery with a married woman than with a prostitute.

Adultery with a prostitute exacts a cost. It can leave a man poor with only enough money to buy a loaf of bread. However, adultery with a married woman exacts more than money from a man; it can ruin his reputation and even cost him his life. Proverbs 7:22–23 says a man follows a smooth-talking adulteress "as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life."

When a man falls prey to an adulteress—or a woman to a seductive man—there is no one else to blame. One cannot legitimately say they sinned because of a bad marriage or because they deserved a satisfying sexual experience or because God put them into the situation. James writes in James 1:13–14: "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God,' for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when is lured and enticed by his own desire."
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