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1My son, be attentive to my wisdom,

incline your ear to my understanding;

2that you may keep discretion,

and your lips may guard knowledge.

3For the lips of a loose woman drip honey,

and her speech is smoother than oil;

4but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,

sharp as a two-edged sword.

5Her feet go down to death;

her steps follow the path to Sheol;

6she does not take heed to the path of life;

her ways wander, and she does not know it.

7And now, O sons, listen to me,

and do not depart from the words of my mouth.

8Keep your way far from her,

and do not go near the door of her house;

9lest you give your honor to others

and your years to the merciless;

10lest strangers take their fill of your strength,

and your labors go to the house of an alien;

11and at the end of your life you groan,

when your flesh and body are consumed,

12and you say, “How I hated discipline,

and my heart despised reproof!

13I did not listen to the voice of my teachers

or incline my ear to my instructors.

14I was at the point of utter ruin

in the assembled congregation.”

15Drink water from your own cistern,

flowing water from your own well.

16Should your springs be scattered abroad,

streams of water in the streets?

17Let them be for yourself alone,

and not for strangers with you.

18Let your fountain be blessed,

and rejoice in the wife of your youth,

19a lovely hind, a graceful doe.

Let her affection fill you at all times with delight,

be infatuated always with her love.

20Why should you be infatuated, my son, with a loose woman

and embrace the bosom of an adventuress?

21For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord,

and he watches all his paths.

22The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,

and he is caught in the toils of his sin.

23He dies for lack of discipline,

and because of his great folly he is lost.

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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