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Proverbs chapter 7

New International Version

1 My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. 3 Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, 'You are my sister,' and to insight, 'You are my relative.'
5 They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words. 6 At the window of my house I looked down through the lattice. 7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who had no sense. 8 He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house
9 at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. 10 Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. 11 (She is unruly and defiant, her feet never stay at home; 12 now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.)
13 She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said: 14 Today I fulfilled my vows, and I have food from my fellowship offering at home. 15 So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! 16 I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. 18 Come, let's drink deeply of love till morning; let's enjoy ourselves with love! 19 My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.' 21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. 22 All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose
23 till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life. 24 Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. 25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. 26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. 27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.
English Standard Version

1 My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; 2 keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; 3 bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend, 5 to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words. 6 For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, 7 and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, 8 passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house 9 in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness. 10 And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. 11 She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; 12 now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait. 13 She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him, 14 “I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows; 15 so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you. 16 I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. 19 For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; 20 he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.” 21 With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. 22 All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast 23 till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life. 24 And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. 25 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, 26 for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. 27 Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.
King James Version

1 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. 2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. 3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. 4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: 5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.
6 For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, 7 And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, 8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, 9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: 10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. 11 (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: 12 Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) 13 So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, 14 I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. 15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. 16 I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. 19 For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: 20 He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. 21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. 22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; 23 Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
24 Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. 25 Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. 26 For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. 27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
New American Standard Bible

1 My son, keep my words And treasure my commandments within you. 2 Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye. 3 Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, 'You are my sister,' And call understanding your intimate friend; 5 That they may keep you from an adulteress, From the foreigner who flatters with her words. 6 For at the window of my house I looked out through my lattice, 7 And I saw among the naive, And discerned among the youths A young man lacking sense, 8 Passing through the street near her corner; And he takes the way to her house, 9 In the twilight, in the evening, In the middle of the night and in the darkness. 10 And behold, a woman comes to meet him, Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart. 11 She is boisterous and rebellious, Her feet do not remain at home; 12 She is now in the streets, now in the squares, And lurks by every corner. 13 So she seizes him and kisses him And with a brazen face she says to him: 14 'I was due to offer peace offerings; Today I have paid my vows. 15 'Therefore I have come out to meet you, To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you. 16 'I have spread my couch with coverings, With colored linens of Egypt. 17 'I have sprinkled my bed With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. 18 'Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with caresses. 19 'For my husband is not at home, He has gone on a long journey; 20 He has taken a bag of money with him, At the full moon he will come home.' 21 With her many persuasions she entices him; With her flattering lips she seduces him. 22 Suddenly he follows her As an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool, 23 Until an arrow pierces through his liver; As a bird hastens to the snare, So he does not know that it will cost him his life. 24 Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, And pay attention to the words of my mouth. 25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths. 26 For many are the victims she has cast down, And numerous are all her slain. 27 Her house is the way to Sheol, Descending to the chambers of death.
New Living Translation

1 Follow my advice, my son; always treasure my commands. 2 Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes. 3 Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.
4 Love wisdom like a sister; make insight a beloved member of your family. 5 Let them protect you from an affair with an immoral woman, from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman.
6 While I was at the window of my house, looking through the curtain, 7 I saw some naive young men, and one in particular who lacked common sense. 8 He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house. 9 It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness fell. 10 The woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart. 11 She was the brash, rebellious type, never content to stay at home. 12 She is often in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner. 13 She threw her arms around him and kissed him, and with a brazen look she said, 14 'I've just made my peace offerings and fulfilled my vows. 15 You're the one I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are! 16 My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen. 17 I've perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let's drink our fill of love until morning. Let's enjoy each other's caresses, 19 for my husband is not home. He's away on a long trip. 20 He has taken a wallet full of money with him and won't return until later this month.'
21 So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. 22 He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, 23 awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life.
24 So listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words. 25 Don't let your hearts stray away toward her. Don't wander down her wayward path. 26 For she has been the ruin of many; many men have been her victims. 27 Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death.
Christian Standard Bible

1 My son, obey my words, and treasure my commands. 2 Keep my commands and live, and guard my instructions as you would the pupil of your eye. 3 Tie them to your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call understanding your relative. 5 She will keep you from a forbidden woman, a wayward woman with her flattering talk. 6 At the window of my house I looked through my lattice. 7 I saw among the inexperienced, I noticed among the youths, a young man lacking sense. 8 Crossing the street near her corner, he strolled down the road to her house 9 at twilight, in the evening, in the dark of the night. 10 A woman came to meet him dressed like a prostitute, having a hidden agenda. 11 She is loud and defiant; her feet do not stay at home. 12 Now in the street, now in the squares, she lurks at every corner. 13 She grabs him and kisses him; she brazenly says to him, 14 "I've made fellowship offerings; today I've fulfilled my vows. 15 So I came out to meet you, to search for you, and I've found you. 16 I've spread coverings on my bed--richly colored linen from Egypt. 17 I've perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let's drink deeply of lovemaking until morning. Let's feast on each other's love! 19 My husband isn't home; he went on a long journey. 20 He took a bag of silver with him and will come home at the time of the full moon." 21 She seduces him with her persistent pleading; she lures with her flattering talk. 22 He follows her impulsively like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer bounding toward a trap
23 until an arrow pierces its liver, like a bird darting into a snare--he doesn't know it will cost him his life. 24 Now, sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words from my mouth. 25 Don't let your heart turn aside to her ways; don't stray onto her paths. 26 For she has brought many down to death; her victims are countless. 27 Her house is the road to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death.

What does Proverbs chapter 7 mean?

As in his previous lessons, Solomon begins Proverbs 7 with a plea to his "son," which may also be a reference to students. His request is that they pay close attention to his instruction and value his counsel highly. He commends valuing wisdom the way a man ought to cherish his own sister. This parallels other depictions of wisdom as a woman in this book (Proverbs 1:20–21; 4:7–9; 8:1–3). The passage makes yet another reference to adultery, and warns about "the adulteress." While the literal language cautions a man about a predatory woman, the principles apply to both sexes. Adultery is a common metaphor for all sin, as something which is tempting but leads to ruin (Proverbs 7:1–5).

Solomon's wisdom was based not only in God-given insights, but also in experience. The tale he relates in the rest of this chapter is one he claims to have seen from his own window. Most likely, this is a summation of many such events which Solomon observed during his lifetime. Those who lack sense are more easily led astray; likewise, those who fall to temptation often do so because they make unwise decisions (Proverbs 7:6–7).

The woman depicted here is aggressive and stalks the young man like a predator. She applies seductive clothing, surprise, flattery, boldness, and the promise of consequence-free sex. Using deliberate tactics, she wins the young man over and convinces him to engage in sin. These strategies are not only literal, when it comes to sexual temptation, they also echo the various ways other temptations present themselves. Being warned of such dangers helps us recognize and avoid them (Proverbs 7:8–21).

By succumbing to the adulteress' tricks, the reckless youth falls into a trap, like livestock being led to slaughter or a wild animal being snared by a hunter. Solomon warns his son—and, by extension, all men and women—that yielding to evil's temptation leads inevitably to death (Proverbs 7:22–27).