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Proverbs 5:1-2

Context
Admonition to Avoid Seduction to Evil 1 

5:1 My child, 2  be attentive to my wisdom,

pay close attention 3  to my understanding,

5:2 in order to safeguard 4  discretion, 5 

and that your lips may guard knowledge.

1 sn In this chapter the sage/father exhorts discretion (1, 2) then explains how to avoid seduction (3-6); this is followed by a second exhortation to prevention (7, 8) and an explanation that obedience will avoid ruin and regret (9-14); finally, he warns against sharing love with strangers (15-17) but to find it at home (18-23). For an analysis of the chapter, see J. E. Goldingay, “Proverbs V and IX,” RB 84 (1977): 80-93.

2 tn The text again has “my son.” In this passage perhaps “son” would be the most fitting because of the warning against going to the adulterous woman. However, since the image of the adulterous woman probably represents all kinds of folly (through personification), and since even in this particular folly the temptation works both ways, the general address to either young men or women should be retained. The text was certainly not intended to convey that only women could seduce men.

3 tn Heb “incline your ear” (so NAB, NRSV); NLT “listen carefully.”

4 tn Heb “keep, protect, guard.”

5 sn This “discretion” is the same word in 1:4; it is wise, prudential consideration, careful planning, or the ability to devise plans with a view to the best way to carry them out. If that ability is retained then temptations to digress will not interfere.



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