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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Proverbs

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FRAMEWORKS: Proverbs 6


(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for meditation. To focus each verse we have also added a subheading summary as a description of what is happening)


FRAMEWORKS: Proverbs 6: Pitfalls of agreements & illicit relationships


[Preliminary Comments: There is a certain measure of repetition in these early chapters – the call to heed the teaching of the parents [v.20-23] and the warnings about consorting with an adulterous woman [v.24-35]. The ‘new' moral or ethical material is in the first 19 verses where the instructions are about making unwise transactions [v.1-5] and avoiding corrupt troublemakers [in business? v.12-15]. These are interlaced with challenges about getting into trouble through laziness [v.6-11] and warnings about things that God hates [v.16-19] They are, if you like, about avoiding some of the pitfalls of life.]



PART 1: v.1-19: Warning against Unwise Transactions & Laziness


v.1,2 The folly of unwise financial commitments

v.1  My son, if you have put up security for your neighbour,
    if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
v.2  you have been trapped by what you said,
    ensnared by the words of your mouth.

v.3-5 A need to get out of such transactions

v.3  So do this, my son, to free yourself,
    since you have fallen into your neighbour's hands:
go – to the point of exhaustion –
    and give your neighbour no rest!
v.4  Allow no sleep to your eyes,
    no slumber to your eyelids.
v.5  Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
    like a bird from the snare of the fowler.


v.6-8 Learn from the ant

v.6  Go to the ant, you sluggard;
    consider its ways and be wise!
v.7  It has no commander,
    no overseer or ruler,
v.8  yet it stores its provisions in summer
    and gathers its food at harvest.


v.9-11 Idleness brings poverty

v.9  How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
    When will you get up from your sleep?
v.10  A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest –
v.11  and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.


v.12-15 Also beware corrupt troublemakers (in business?)

v.12  A troublemaker and a villain,
    who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
v.13      who winks maliciously with his eye,
    signals with his feet
    and motions with his fingers,
v.14      who plots evil with deceit in his heart –
    he always stirs up conflict.
v.15  Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;
    he will suddenly be destroyed – without remedy.


v.16-19 The things God hates

v.16  There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
v.17          haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
v.18          a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
v.19          a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.


PART 2: v.20-23: A call to heed their teaching


v.20-23 Another call to heed the teaching of his parents

v.20  My son, keep your father's command
    and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
v.21  Bind them always on your heart;
    fasten them round your neck.
v.22  When you walk, they will guide you;
    when you sleep, they will watch over you;
    when you awake, they will speak to you.
v.23  For this command is a lamp,
    this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
    are the way to life,

PART 3: v.24-35: Warning against adultery


v.24-26 They want to save him (them) from illicit sex

v.24  keeping you from your neighbour's wife,
    from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.

v.25  Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
    or let her captivate you with her eyes.

v.26  For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread,
    but another man's wife preys on your very life.

v.27-29 You can't play with fire without getting burnt

v.27  Can a man scoop fire into his lap
    without his clothes being burned?
v.28  Can a man walk on hot coals
    without his feet being scorched?
v.29  So is he who sleeps with another man's wife;
    no one who touches her will go unpunished.


v.30,31 A thief may be desperate but he is still guilty

v.30  People do not despise a thief if he steals
    to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
v.31  Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,
    though it costs him all the wealth of his house.

v.32,33 An adulterer invites self-destruction

v.32  But a man who commits adultery has no sense;
    whoever does so destroys himself.
v.33  Blows and disgrace are his lot,
    and his shame will never be wiped away.


v.34,35 The threat of a jealous husband is serious

v.34  For jealousy arouses a husband's fury,
    and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
v.35  He will not accept any compensation;
    he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.



Continue to Proverbs 7