Reading: Proverbs 6
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.
The first half of Proverbs 6 presents four proverbial paragraphs:
vss. 1-5 On making good a pledge
vss. 6-11 On laziness
vss. 12-15 On the worthless person
vss. 16-19 On what the Lord hates
The first two of these sections are tied together by a theme. Do not be lazy. Do not be lazy in how you deal with promises, with people, with how you provide for your family.
The third and fourth sections are also tied together by a theme. Do not be a prideful person who stirs up lies and dissention. These are “Don’t be a jerk” proverbs, and there are many others. Years ago, I made a list of all the proverbs that spoke to anger, lying, slander, hurtful words, and a divisive spirit. It was a lengthy list, about a hundred different verses! How we treat others really matters.
Beginning in verse 20, we are back where chapter 5 left off. The warnings now come from both father and mother. Coming from Solomon, this raises some complicated questions. What happened to him? Did he not take his own advice? Where did his wisdom go? The short answer is that we just do not know. Nevertheless, these proverbs stand, and they are no less true.
Verses 27-28 are particularly poignant. I find that there are many who think that they can play with fire and not get burned. They allow relationships to develop that are asking for trouble. They put themselves in situations that invite sexual sin. They fill their minds with temptations. They make many excuses. Then comes the regret. Down the road they wonder why their marriage, family, and children have fallen apart.
Take these proverbs to heart and make them a part of your thinking and your life. Maybe this is what Solomon failed to do.