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Proverbs chapter 6

New International Version

1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, 2 you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth. 3 So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor's hands: Go--to the point of exhaustion-- and give your neighbor no rest! 4 Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids.
5 Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler. 6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest--
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. 12 A troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, 13 who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, 14 who plots evil with deceit in his heart-- he always stirs up conflict.
15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed--without remedy. 16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. 20 My son, keep your father's command and do not forsake your mother's teaching. 21 Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. 23 For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life,
24 keeping you from your neighbor's wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.
25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. 26 For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man's wife preys on your very life. 27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? 28 Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?
29 So is he who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. 30 People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. 31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. 32 But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself.
33 Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away. 34 For jealousy arouses a husband's fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. 35 He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.
English Standard Version

1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger, 2 if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth, 3 then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into the hand of your neighbor: go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor. 4 Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; 5 save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler. 6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. 7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. 12 A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, 13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, 14 with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; 15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing. 16 There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. 20 My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. 21 Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, 24 to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. 25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; 26 for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life. 27 Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished. 30 People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, 31 but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house. 32 He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. 33 He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge. 35 He will accept no compensation; he will refuse though you multiply gifts.
King James Version

1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, 2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. 4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. 5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. 13 He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; 14 Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. 15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. 16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
20 My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. 22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. 23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: 24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. 25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. 26 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. 27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? 29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. 30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; 31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. 32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. 33 A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.
New American Standard Bible

1 My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, Have given a pledge for a stranger, 2 If you have been snared with the words of your mouth, Have been caught with the words of your mouth, 3 Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself; Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor. 4 Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids; 5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter's hand And like a bird from the hand of the fowler. 6 Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, 8 Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest. 9 How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10 'A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest '-- 11 Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man. 12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth, 13 Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, Who points with his fingers; 14 Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, Who spreads strife. 15 Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing. 16 There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers. 20 My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother; 21 Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life 24 To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the adulteress. 25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart, Nor let her capture you with her eyelids. 26 For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, And an adulteress hunts for the precious life. 27 Can a man take fire in his bosom And his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can a man walk on hot coals And his feet not be scorched? 29 So is the one who goes in to his neighbor's wife; Whoever touches her will not go unpunished. 30 Men do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry; 31 But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house. 32 The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it. 33 Wounds and disgrace he will find, And his reproach will not be blotted out. 34 For jealousy enrages a man, And he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will not accept any ransom, Nor will he be satisfied though you give many gifts.
New Living Translation

1 My child, if you have put up security for a friend's debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger-- 2 if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said-- 3 follow my advice and save yourself, for 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 gazelle 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 become wise! 7 Though they have no prince or 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? 10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-- 11 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
12 What are worthless and wicked people like? They are constant liars, 13 signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers. 14 Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble. 15 But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant 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 in a family.
20 My son, obey your father's commands, and don't neglect your mother's instruction. 21 Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you. 23 For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life. 24 It will keep you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman. 25 Don't lust for her beauty. Don't let her coy glances seduce you. 26 For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, but sleeping with another man's wife will cost you your life. 27 Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire? 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 must pay back seven times what he stole, even if he has to sell everything in his house. 32 But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself. 33 He will be wounded and disgraced. His shame will never be erased. 34 For the woman's jealous husband will be furious, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. 35 He will accept no compensation, nor be satisfied with a payoff of any size.
Christian Standard Bible

1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor or entered into an agreement with a stranger, 2 you have been snared by the words of your mouth trapped by the words from your mouth. 3 Do this, then, my son, and free yourself, for you have put yourself in your neighbor's power: Go, humble yourself, and plead with your neighbor. 4 Don't give sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids. 5 Escape like a gazelle from a hunter, like a bird from a hunter's trap. 6 Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. 7 Without leader, administrator, or ruler, 8 it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest. 9 How long will you stay in bed, you slacker? When will you get up from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, 11 and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit. 12 A worthless person, a wicked man goes around speaking dishonestly, 13 winking his eyes, signaling with his feet, and gesturing with his fingers. 14 He always plots evil with perversity in his heart; he stirs up trouble. 15 Therefore calamity will strike him suddenly; he will be shattered instantly, beyond recovery. 16 The LORD hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to him: 17 arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, 19 a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers. 20 My son, keep your father's command, and don't reject your mother's teaching. 21 Always bind them to your heart; tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk here and there, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; when you wake up, they will talk to you. 23 For a command is a lamp, teaching is a light, and corrective discipline is the way to life. 24 They will protect you from an evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a wayward woman. 25 Don't lust in your heart for her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyelashes. 26 For a prostitute's fee is only a loaf of bread, but the wife of another man goes after a precious life. 27 Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned? 28 Can a man walk on burning coals without scorching his feet? 29 So it is with the one who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. 30 People don't despise the thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry. 31 Still, if caught, he must pay seven times as much; he must give up all the wealth in his house. 32 The one who commits adultery lacks sense; whoever does so destroys himself. 33 He will get a beating and dishonor, and his disgrace will never be removed. 34 For jealousy enrages a husband, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. 35 He will not be appeased by anything or be persuaded by lavish bribes.

What does Proverbs chapter 6 mean?

Solomon continues to impart wise sayings to his "son," which might also mean his student or students.

The first of the wise lessons in this chapter relates to wisely caring for one's existing wealth. Solomon especially urges his son to avoid financial entanglements by not entering into a surety agreement. In rough terms, this means being extremely cautious about cosigning a loan. If he does cosign, and realizes he's gotten into a risky situation, he should try to get out of the deal even if doing so causes humiliation. While this does not prohibit all forms of debt or lending, this Scripture strongly advises being careful not to waste what has been earned (Proverbs 6:1–5).

Just as cosigning for an untrustworthy person might cause poverty, laziness is another way a person can become destitute. Solomon tells his son to consider the ant. Without supervision, it works hard to meet its needs both present and future. Unless a person works, poverty will overtake him as surely as a robber or an armed man overtakes his victim. Here, again, the general principles are seen in common sense. Wasted opportunities cannot be "made up" when times get hard (Proverbs 6:6–11).

The Bible points out that a wise person refuses to stir up strife. As with all proverbs, this is meant as general wisdom. In most circumstances, those who aggravate trouble are those most likely to suffer from it. Beyond that, God has particular distaste for certain sins associated with troublemakers. A "worthless person" is described as one who uses corrupt, deceptive speech and deceptive signals to sow discord. The list of God-hated attitudes includes arrogance, deceit, violence against the innocent, an evil heart, and lies. Summarizing these sins is the idea of someone who creates controversy or hatred among others (Proverbs 6:12–19).

Solomon counsels his son to abide by his parents' teaching. These lessons from experience will guide him and keep him from danger. As with other statements, this is a question of risk versus reward. Those who make good choices are not absolutely guaranteed a good outcome—evil and chance can still happen. Yet it's clearly true that those who follow wise paths are less likely to run into trouble than those who act stupidly (Proverbs 6:20–23).

One application of godly wisdom, both literal and symbolic, is safety from "the adulteress." While men are generally more susceptible to seduction than women, the general idea applies to everyone. Solomon warns his son to avoid falling prey to smooth talk, alluring beauty, and enticing glances. Solomon compares an illicit relationship to that of carrying fire next to the chest and to walking on hot coals. Both actions cause pain. An adulterer, Solomon says, is senseless and self-destructive. Society might have sympathy for a starving man who steals bread—but not for a man who violates his neighbor's wife. Adulterers risk suffering from revenge and shame (Proverbs 6:24–35).