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—[a]
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.
Warning Against Adultery
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.
Three Ways to Get Poor Fast
If you want to lose everything, one way is simply to manage your finances badly. If you scan the internet you will soon find a scam that tells you how to make millions in two weeks. Of course, as soon as you give credit card information, social-security numbers, or any other identifying feature the scam artist will take everything that you have got. Sometimes compassion can lead us to take on another person’s debt. It is compassionate to pay something off for a friend in hard times, but a surefire way to lose a lot of money is to bind yourself to someone financially who is a financial nightmare.
A second way to ruin yourself is to be lazy. Poor people may have got there through misfortune – poverty does not equal laziness, but laziness brings poverty. So to keep yourself poor, make sure that you stay in bed and refuse to lift a hand to help yourself. If you are a parent, you can ruin your children by taking everything out of their hands and not having them work hard for what they own.
Finally, go and have an affair with another man’s treasured wife. Actually, he may just kill you for having an affair with her even if he is not that taken with her. Just give him a reason to ruin you. Of course, you could deplete your bank account with a prostitute but that does take a long time according to the proverbs above. It is much more effective to ruin yourself with an adulterous affair. In this way your spouse can sue you for a truck-load of money and your affair may leave you heartbroken and in need of serious medical care. If you live in the US and the offended spouse hits you with a truck, it is probably the medical bills that will ruin you most quickly.
So, if we want to lead our children down a path of ruin, we should teach them to form unwise financial alliances in attempts to get rich quick; we should adopt a passive attitude to life; and we should proactively seek to start an affair with a married person.
- What three ways does the writer show as ways to ruin?
- How are youths more prone to get led astray in these ways?
- How would you describe a ‘scoundrel’ using the words of the author of Proverbs?
- Why are ‘scoundrels’ viewed romantically in the media these days?
- What role models can we hold up to children who have made sound investments, avoided being scoundrels, and not committed adultery?