Words of Wisdom
1My son, if you cosign a loan for an acquaintance
and guarantee his debt,
you’ll be sorry that you ever did it!
2You’ll be trapped by your promise
and legally bound by the agreement.
So listen carefully to my advice:
3Quickly get out of it if you possibly can!
Swallow your pride, get over your embarrassment,
and go tell your “friend” you want your name off that contract.
4Don’t put it off, and don’t rest until you get it done.
5Rescue yourself from future pain
and be free from it once and for all.
You’ll be so relieved that you did!
6When you’re feeling lazy,
come and learn a lesson from this tale of the tiny ant.
Yes, all you lazybones, come learn
from the example of the ant and enter into wisdom.
7The ants have no chief, no boss, no manager—
no one has to tell them what to do.
8You’ll see them working and toiling all summer long,
stockpiling their food in preparation for winter.
9So wake up, sleepyhead. How long will you lie there?
When will you wake up and get out of bed?
10If you keep nodding off and thinking, “I’ll do it later,”
or say to yourself, “I’ll just sit back awhile and take it easy,”
just watch how the future unfolds!
11By making excuses you’ll learn what it means to go without.
Poverty will pounce on you like a bandit
and move in as your roommate for life.
12-13Here’s another life lesson to learn
from observing the wayward and wicked man.
You can tell they are lawless.
They’re constant liars, proud deceivers,
full of clever ploys and convincing plots.
14Their twisted thoughts are perverse,
always with a scheme to stir up trouble,
and sowing strife with every step they take.
15But when calamity comes knocking on their door,
suddenly and without warning they’re undone—
broken to bits, shattered, with no hope of healing.
Seven Things God Hates
16There are six evils God truly hates
and a seventh that is an abomination to him:
17Putting others down while considering yourself superior,
spreading lies and rumors,
spilling the blood of the innocent,
18plotting evil in your heart toward another,
gloating over doing what’s plainly wrong,
19spouting lies in false testimony,
and stirring up strife between friends.
These are entirely despicable to God!
20My son, obey your father’s godly instruction
and follow your mother’s life-giving teaching.
21Fill your heart with their advice
and let your life be shaped by what they’ve taught you.
22Their wisdom will guide you wherever you go
and keep you from bringing harm to yourself.
Their instruction will whisper to you at every sunrise
and direct you through a brand-new day.
23For truth is a bright beam of light
shining into every area of your life,
instructing and correcting you to discover the ways to godly living.
Truth or Consequences
24-25Truth will protect you from immorality
and from the promiscuity of another man’s wife.
Your heart won’t be enticed by her flatteries
or lust over her beauty—
nor will her suggestive ways conquer you.
26Prostitutes reduce a man to poverty,
and the adulteress steals your soul—
she may even cost you your life!
27For how can a man light his pants on fire and not be burned?
28Can he walk over hot coals of fire and not blister his feet?
29What makes you think that you can sleep with another man’s wife
and not get caught?
Do you really think you’ll get away with it?
Don’t you know it will ruin your life?
30You can almost excuse a thief if he steals to feed his own family.
31But if he’s caught, he still has to pay back what he stole sevenfold;
his punishment and fine will cost him greatly.
32Don’t be so stupid as to think
you can get away with your adultery.
It will destroy your life, and you’ll pay the price
for the rest of your days.
33You’ll discover what humiliation, shame,
and disgrace are all about,
for no one will ever let you forget what you’ve done.
34A husband’s jealousy makes a man furious;
he won’t spare you when he comes to take revenge.
35Try all you want to talk your way out of it—
offer him a bribe and see if you can manipulate him
with your money.
Nothing will turn him aside
when he comes to you with vengeance in his eyes!