The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Proverbs
My son, has some friend persuaded thee to be his surety? Hast thou pledged thyself for a bond which is none of thine?
Believe me, that word of assent has caught thee in a snare, thou art the prisoner of thy own promise made.
Do then, my son, as I bid thee; obtain thy freedom; it is ill done to fall into another man’s power. Quick, no time to lose; wake up this neighbour of thine from his bed,
ere thou thyself close an eye-lid in sleep;
deer from captivity nor bird from fowler’s hand so swift to escape!
Up with thee, idleness, go to school with the ant, and learn the lesson of her ways!
Chief or ruler she has none to give her commands;
yet in summer hours, when the harvest is a-gathering, she ever lays up food for her own nourishment.
And thou, idleness, art still a-bed; wilt thou never wake?
What, thou wouldst sleep a little longer, yawn a little longer; a little longer thou must pillow head on hand?
Ay, but poverty will not wait, the day of distress will not wait, like an armed vagabond it will fall upon thee! (Wouldst thou see the good grain flow like water, wouldst thou see poverty take wing, thou must be up and doing.✻ )
Worthless men there be, sinners there be, that go ever with a cunning smile on their lips;
a wink here, there a pressure of the foot, there a beckoning finger;
all the while their wicked hearts are plotting mischief, are sowing the causes of strife.
Such men will be overtaken by their doom ere long, crushed all of a sudden beyond hope of remedy.
Six things I will tell thee, and name a seventh for good measure, the Lord hates and will never abide;
the haughty look, the lying tongue, the hands that take innocent life,
the heart that ever devises thoughts of mischief, the feet that hasten upon an ill errand,
the false witness whose every breath is perjury, and the sower of strife among brethren.
Keep true, my son, to the charge thy father gives thee, nor make light of thy mother’s teaching;
wear them ever close to thy heart, hang them like a locket upon thy breast;
be these, when thou walkest abroad, thy company, when thou liest asleep, thy safeguard, in waking hours, thy counsellors.
That charge is a lamp to guide thee, that teaching a light to beckon thee; the warnings correction gave thee are a road leading to life.
Here is protection for thee against the temptress that would lure thee away with her seductions.
Never let her beauty win thy heart, never let her bold glance deceive thee.
A harlot’s pay is but the price of a meal; the adulteress costs dearer, her price is a man’s whole life.
Who can carry fire in his bosom, without singeing the clothes he wears,
or walk on hot coals without burning his feet?
No more can a man mate with his neighbour’s wife, and not be defiled by her touch.
Small blame to the thief, when he steals to fill his hungry belly,
and if he be caught, why, he can pay sevenfold, or yield up all that he has;
the adulterer, in the hunger of his heart, must risk losing life itself.
Scathe and scorn he wins for himself, and shame there is no blotting out;
no mercy for him, when the day of reckoning comes, from the anger of a jealous husband
that will listen to no man’s entreaties, will refuse ransom never so abundant.
The Holy Bible