Give a hooker elbow room
Wisdom is your sister1 My child, don’t ever forget what I’m teaching you.
If you could hold a treasure in your head, it should be this: my rules for living.
2 Obey these rules and they’ll keep you alive.
Treat them like they’re one of your favorites in life.
3 Get attached to them. Like a ring on your finger.
Memorize them and keep them handy in your head.
4 Tell Lady Wisdom, “You’re my sister.”
Tell Understanding, “We’re family.”
A hooker is not your friend5 These relatives can help keep you away from the forbidden woman,
That stranger-danger lady with a polished invitation, touchy and feely in nature.
6 I was looking out the window of my house,
Pushing aside the curtains, to get a better look.
7 I saw people who weren’t what you’d call smart.
I saw naïve young people.
And I saw a young man with no common sense to spare, if any at all.
8 He was walking through the street, near her house.
And he took a turn onto the path that led to where she lived.
9 It was still twilight, in the emerging darkness.
But in the middle of the night, darkness took over.
10 And there I saw her, a woman coming out to meet the young man.
She had the fashion sense of a hooker, and the savvy she needed to market her product.
11 She was loud and obnoxious,
And too restless to stay home.
12 There she is now, walking the streets,
Pausing at every corner.
13 She grabs the young man and smacks him with a kiss.
With her face full of confidence afterward, she says,”
14 “I have fresh meat. It’s from my peace offering.
I made that sacrifice of thanks today.
15 So I came out to tell you about it,
And to invite you to join me. I’m so glad I found you.
16 You should see my bedsheets. Please.
Colored linen imported from Egypt.
17 I’ve scented my bed with perfume:
fragrance of myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s belly up to the bar and drink love all night.
Let’s enjoy all the delights of caressing each other.
19 Full disclosure. I’m married, but he’s not home.
He’s long gone on a long-distance trip.
20 A full bag of money, and he was gone.
A full moon, and he’ll be back."
21 Oh, she’s a master at seducing.
Those lips, they know the lyrics that flatter.
22 It’s done. The young man follows her,
Dumb ox to the slaughter,
Idiot to the stocks for punishment.
23 Until the moment the arrow slices into his liver,
He’s no more than a bird flying into a net.
Clueless, he has no idea that the price he’ll pay will be his life.
24 There you have it, my child. So, you better listen to me.
Pay attention when you see my lips moving.
25 When it comes to a woman like this, don’t let your want-to become a have-to.
Don’t go anywhere near her.
26 If you could line up the dead and dying she laid down,
You’d have a long line of corpses dead on the ground.
27 Her house is an entrance to the Place of the Dead,
You can take her staircase there.
Literally, “relative” or “kinswoman.” This and “sister” both express an intimate relationship, the kind we might experience when family gets together and doesn’t talk about politics or sports.
She doesn’t actually say she has meat, but Bible scholars say it’s implied when she tells the young man about her peace offering. A peace offering, described in Leviticus 3, is one of several prescribed offerings in Jewish tradition. When Jewish people wanted to give thanks to God for something, such as good health or safety, they would sacrifice a sheep, goat, cow, or bull. They would burn part of the animal, including the kidneys and fat covering the intestines. They would eat the rest in celebration, often with family and friends. It takes a fair number of hungry people to eat a cow. But people were eager to eat meat because it was rare in Bible times for common folks to eat meat, many Bible scholars say.
Literally Sheol. See note for Proverbs 5:5.
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