Chapter 6

1My son, if you have stood surety for your fellow, have given your hand for a stranger,   אבְּנִי אִם־עָרַ֣בְתָּ לְרֵעֶ֑ךָ תָּקַ֖עְתָּ לַזָּ֣ר כַּפֶּֽיךָ:
My son, if you have stood surety: Our Sages explained this as referring to surety in monetary matters, according to its apparent meaning.  
2you have been trapped by the sayings of your mouth; you have been caught by the sayings of your mouth.   בנוֹקַ֥שְׁתָּ בְאִמְרֵי־פִ֑יךָ נִ֜לְכַּ֗דְתָּ בְּאִמְרֵי־פִֽיךָ:
3Do this then, my son, and be saved for you have come into your fellow's palm; go, humble yourself and give your fellow superiority.   געֲשֵֹ֨ה זֹ֥את אֵפ֪וֹא בְּנִ֡י וְֽהִנָּצֵ֗ל כִּ֘י בָ֤אתָ בְכַף־רֵעֶ֑ךָ לֵ֥ךְ הִ֜תְרַפֵּ֗ס וּרְהַ֥ב רֵעֶֽיךָ:
go, humble yourself: Heb. התרפס [a combination of two words, התר פס], open the palm of your hand for him to pay him his money.  
and give your fellow superiority: Heb. ורהב. And if he has no money with you, only that you were trapped with the sayings of your mouth by speaking harshly to him, bring many friends to him to beg him to forgive you. Another explanation:  
[1] My son, if you stood surety for your Friend: After you stood surety for the Holy One, blessed be He, Who is your “friend,” as it is written (Song 5:16): “This is my beloved and this is my friend”; you undertook at Sinai and in the plains of Moab with a curse and with an oath to observe His commandments.  
have given your hand to a stranger: You have repented and turned from His ways and clung to the disbelievers to go in their ways.  
[2] you have been trapped by the sayings of your mouth: You have given your hand to cling to strangers.  
[3] Do this, then, my son, and be saved: Since you have come into the palm of your Friend at Sinai and you have accepted His Godliness over you,  
go, humble yourself: Heb. התרפס. Humble yourself before Him like a threshold, which is trodden (נרפסת) and stepped on.  
and increase your friends: Bring many friends who will pray for you before Him. In this manner it is expounded on in Midrash Psalms.  
4Give no sleep to your eyes nor slumber to your eyelids.   דאַל־תִּתֵּ֣ן שֵׁנָ֣ה לְעֵינֶ֑יךָ וּ֜תְנוּמָ֗ה לְעַפְעַפֶּֽיךָ:
5Save yourself like a deer from the hand and like a bird from the hand of the snare.   ההִנָּצֵל כִּצְבִ֣י מִיָּ֑ד וּ֜כְצִפּ֗וֹר מִיַּ֥ד יָקֽוּשׁ:
Save yourself like a deer from the hand: Hasten and extricate yourself from there like a deer that extricates itself from a man’s hand.  
6Go to the ant, you sluggard; see her ways and become wise,   ולֵֽךְ־אֶל־נְמָלָ֥ה עָצֵ֑ל רְאֵ֖ה דְרָכֶ֣יהָ וַחֲכָֽם:
Go to the ant, you sluggard… and become wise: Heb. וחכם, and wisen yourself.  
7for she has no chief, overseer, or ruler;   זאֲשֶׁ֖ר אֵֽין־לָ֥הּ קָצִ֗ין שֹׁטֵ֥ר וּמשֵֽׁל:
for she has no chief: who would reprove her and alert her and take out of her hand if she steals anything from her companion, nevertheless…  
8yet she prepares her bread in the summer; she gathers her food in the harvest.   חתָּכִ֣ין בַּקַּ֣יִץ לַחְמָ֑הּ אָגְרָ֥ה בַ֜קָּצִ֗יר מַאֲכָלָֽהּ:
yet she prepares her bread in the summer, she gathers her food in the harvest: She gathers her food, each one of them, and does not rob her companion.  
9O lazy one, how long will you lie [there]; when will you get up from your sleep?   טעַד־מָתַ֖י עָצֵ֥ל תִּשְׁכָּ֑ב מָ֜תַ֗י תָּק֥וּם מִשְּׁנָתֶֽךָ:
10"A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to lie."   ימְעַ֣ט שֵׁ֖נוֹת מְעַ֣ט תְּנוּמ֑וֹת מְעַ֓ט חִבֻּ֖ק יָדַ֣יִם לִשְׁכָּֽב:
a little folding of the hands: The sleeper folds his hands, embrasser in French (abrasar in Provencal,) umfassen [in German], to embrace. In Rashi ms. plier in French [to fold] in German et was falten, to fold a little.  
11And your poverty shall come like a fast walker and your want as an armed man.   יאוּבָֽא־כִמְהַלֵּ֥ךְ רֵאשֶׁ֑ךָ וּ֜מַחְסֹֽרְךָ֗ כְּאִ֣ישׁ מָגֵֽן:
And your poverty shall come like a fast walker: If you do this [keep sleeping], your loss and the thing from which you are impoverished shall come to you immediately, like a man walking fast, and your want will come and fill up like an armed man who comes quickly to protect his master. These verses are mainly an allegory concerning those who are [too] lazy to engage in the Torah.  
12An unscrupulous man, a man of violence, walks with a crooked mouth;   יבאָדָ֣ם בְּ֖לִיַּעַל אִ֣ישׁ אָ֑וֶן ה֜וֹלֵ֗ךְ עִקְּשׁ֥וּת פֶּֽה:
walks with a crooked mouth: He walks with crooked lips.  
13he winks with his eyes, shuffles with his feet, points with his fingers.   יגקֹרֵ֣ץ בְּ֖עֵינָו מֹלֵ֣ל בְּרַגְלָ֑ו מֹ֜רֶ֗ה בְּאֶצְבְּעֹתָֽיו:
he winks with his eyes: winks of deceit.  
shuffles with his feet: He rubs one on the other.  
points with his fingers: They are all expressions of hinting: one applies to the eye, one applies to the foot, and one applies to the finger, but the main idea is that it is speaking of the wicked.  
14Contrariness is in his heart; he plots evil at all times; he incites quarrels.   ידתַּֽהְפֻּכ֨וֹת בְּלִבּ֗וֹ חֹרֵ֣שׁ רָ֣ע בְּכָל־עֵ֑ת מִדֳנִ֥ים מִדְיָנִ֥ים יְשַׁלֵּֽחַ:
he incites quarrels: between man and his Creator.  
15Therefore, calamity shall come suddenly; he shall suddenly be broken beyond repair.   טועַל־כֵּ֗ן פִּ֖תְאֹם יָב֣וֹא אֵיד֑וֹ פֶּ֥תַע יִ֜שָּׁבֵ֗ר וְאֵ֣ין מַרְפֵּֽא:
suddenly, etc. suddenly: Heb. פתע פתאם. This is an expression of immediacy; he will not be aware of the downfall that is ready to descend upon him.  
16There are six things that the Lord hates, and the seventh is an abomination of His soul;   טזשֶׁשׁ־ הֵ֖נָּה שָׂנֵ֣א יְהוָ֑ה וְ֜שֶׁ֗בַע תּוֹעֲבַ֥ות תּוֹעֲבַ֥ת נַפְשֽׁוֹ:
There are six things that the Lord hates, and the seventh is an abomination of His soul: The seventh, too, is [included] with them.  
17Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood;   יזעֵינַ֣יִם רָ֖מוֹת לְשׁ֣וֹן שָׁ֑קֶר וְ֜יָדַ֗יִם שֹׁפְכ֥וֹת דָּם־נָקִֽי:
18a heart that thinks thoughts of violence; feet that hasten to run to evil;   יחלֵ֗ב חֹ֖רֵשׁ מַחְשְׁב֣וֹת אָ֑וֶן רַגְלַ֥יִם מְ֜מַהֲר֗וֹת לָר֥וּץ לָֽרָעָה:
19[one who] speaks lies with false testimony and incites quarrels among brothers.   יטיָפִ֣יחַ כְּ֖זָבִים עֵ֣ד שָׁ֑קֶר וּמְשַׁלֵּ֥חַ מְ֜דָנִ֗ים בֵּ֣ין אַחִֽים:
[one who] speaks: Heb. יפיח, lit. he blows. This is an expression of speech since all speech is a product of the breath of the mouth.  
20My son, keep the commands of your father, and do not forsake the instruction of your mother.   כנְצֹ֣ר בְּ֖נִי מִצְוַ֣ת אָבִ֑יךָ וְאַל־תִּ֜טּ֗שׁ תּוֹרַ֥ת אִמֶּֽךָ:
21Bind them always upon your heart, tie them upon your neck.   כאקָשְׁרֵ֣ם עַל־לִבְּךָ֣ תָמִ֑יד עָ֜נְדֵ֗ם עַל־גַּרְגְּרֹתֶֽךָ:
tie them: Heb. ענדם, an expression of tying, as in (Job 31:36) “I will tie it (אענדנו) as crowns to me.”  
22When you walk, it shall lead you; when you lie down, it shall guard you, and when you awaken, it shall speak for you.   כבבְּהִתְהַלֶּכְךָ֨ תַּנְחֶ֬ה אֹתָ֗ךְ בְּ֖שָׁכְבְּךָ תִּשְׁמֹ֣ר עָלֶ֑יךָ וַ֜הֲקִיצ֗וֹתָ הִ֣יא תְשִׂיחֶֽךָ:
When you walk: in your lifetime.  
it shall lead you: Heb. תנחה אותך, like תנהיגך.  
when you lie down: in the grave.  
and when you awaken: for the resurrection of the dead, to stand in judgment.  
it shall speak for you: It shall speak on your behalf.  
23For a commandment is a candle, and the Torah is light, and disciplining rebukes are the way of life;   כגכִּ֤י נֵ֣ר מִ֖צְוָה וְת֣וֹרָה א֑וֹר וְדֶ֥רֶךְ חַ֜יִּ֗ים תּוֹכְח֥וֹת מוּסָֽר:
For a commandment is a candle, and the Torah is light: Just as light always illuminates, so does the merit of the Torah stand for a person forever, but the merit of the commandment is only for a limited time, like the light of a candle. Another explanation:  
For a commandment is a candle, etc.: The command of the father is a candle. Whoever fulfills the command of his father is as though he takes a candle in his hand to light a dark place, and if he loses anything there he finds it by its light; similarly, whoever fulfills his mother’s instruction-it is light to him, and so [Scripture] states (verse 20): “and forsake not the instruction of your mother.” It is certain that this verse speaks of the commands of one’s father and mother, for it is written (20:20): “If one curses his father or mother, his candle will be put out in the blackest darkness.” Now if a person’s candle goes out when he does not fulfill the commandments of his parents, conversely when he fulfills the command, his candle lights up (Rabbi Joseph Kara).  
and disciplining rebukes are the way of life: Disciplining rebukes incline a person to life. It is found that they are the way of life.  
24to guard you from an evil woman, from the smoothness of the alien tongue.   כדלִשְׁמָרְךָ מֵאֵ֣שֶׁת רָ֑ע מֵֽ֜חֶלְקַ֗ת לָשׁ֥וֹן נָכְרִיָּֽה:
to guard you from an evil woman: The Torah shall guard you from a woman of evil behavior-perforce, Solomon did not speak of an evil woman, but concerning idolatry, [the prohibition of] which is equal in gravity to all [commandments], for if you say that he meant a real harlot, is that all the reward and the praise of the Torah that it guards one only from a harlot? Rather, perforce this is idolatry, [the prohibition of] which is as stringent as all other [commandments].  
from the smoothness of the alien tongue: From the sealing of the eyes by an alien tongue.  
25Do not covet her beauty in your heart, and do not let her captivate you with her eyelids.   כהאַל־תַּחְמֹ֣ד יָ֖פְיָהּ בִּלְבָבֶ֑ךָ וְאַל־תִּ֜קָּֽחֲךָ֗ בְּעַפְעַפֶּֽיהָ:
do not let her captivate you: And let her not take away your wisdom from you with her eyelids that she winks at you.  
26Because a man is brought to a loaf of bread for a harlot, and a married woman will hunt a precious soul.   כוכִּ֤י בְעַד־אִשָּׁ֥ה זוֹנָ֗ה עַֽד־כִּכַּ֫ר לָ֥חֶם וְאֵ֥שֶׁת אִ֑ישׁ נֶ֖פֶשׁ יְקָרָ֣ה תָצֽוּד:
Because a man is brought to a loaf of bread for a harlot: He is reduced to poverty and the lack of all good things.  
27Can a man rake embers with his skirt without burning his clothes?   כזהֲיַחְתֶּ֤ה אִ֓ישׁ אֵ֬שׁ בְּחֵיק֑וֹ וּ֜בְגָדָ֗יו לֹ֣א תִשָּׂרַֽפְנָה:
Can a man rake: Can a man pick up live coals with the skirt of his garments without burning them? Every expression of חתיה is an expression of raking according to its apparent meaning, that he fills the vessel in the fire.  
28Or can a man walk on live coals without scorching his feet?   כחאִם־יְהַלֵּ֣ךְ אִ֖ישׁ עַל־הַגֶּחָלִ֑ים וְ֜רַגְלָ֗יו לֹ֣א תִכָּוֶֽינָה:
29So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.   כטכֵּ֗ן הַ֖בָּא אֶל־אֵ֣שֶׁת רֵעֵ֑הוּ לֹ֥א יִ֜נָּקֶ֗ה כָּֽל־הַנֹּגֵ֥עַ בָּֽהּ:
to his neighbor’s wife: According to its apparent meaning, and it can also be expounded upon as referring to the idolatry of the pagans.  
30They will not despise a thief if he steals to sate his appetite, for he is hungry.   ללֹא־יָב֣וּזוּ לַ֖גַּנָּב כִּ֣י יִגְנ֑וֹב לְמַלֵּ֥א נַ֜פְשׁ֗וֹ כִּ֣י יִרְעָֽב:
They will not despise a thief, etc.:  
31And if he is found, he will pay sevenfold; he must give all he owns.   לאוְנִמְצָא יְשַׁלֵּ֣ם שִׁבְעָתָ֑יִם אֶת־כָּל־ה֖וֹן בֵּית֣וֹ יִתֵּֽן:
And if he is found, he will pay sevenfold, etc.:  
32One who commits adultery with a woman is devoid of sense; one who would destroy his soul-he will do it.   לבנֹאֵ֣ף אִשָּׁ֣ה חֲסַר־לֵ֑ב מַֽשְׁחִ֥ית נַ֜פְשׁ֗וֹ ה֣וּא יַעֲשֶֹֽנָּה:
One who commits adultery with a woman: The three of them are combined in one statement. If a thief commits a theft, he should not be despised as much as the adulterer. Why? Because he steals in order to sate his hunger, and perhaps he has nothing to eat. And, when he is found, he can rectify his sin with payment; at the most, he will pay sevenfold i.e., many times the double payment and even fifty times for one. Some explain “sevenfold” as referring to one who steals an ox and his trappings and slaughters it, who pays five cattle and double payment of the trappings (totalling seven). [31]  
he must give all he owns: lit. he must give all the property of his house. And, even if he must sell all he owns because of this, he can nevertheless rectify it, and from the beginning he did it because of hunger. But…  
One who commits adultery with a woman is devoid of sense: since he does not do it because of hunger.  
one who would destroy his soul-he will do it: The lewd act.  
33He will find wounds and disgrace, and his reproach shall not be erased   לגנֶֽגַע־וְקָל֥וֹן יִמְצָ֑א וְ֜חֶרְפָּת֗וֹ לֹ֣א תִמָּחֶֽה:
He will find wounds and disgrace: Lesions are sent for idolatry and immorality.  
34for jealousy [shall arouse] the husband's wrath, and he will not have pity on the day of vengeance.   לדכִּֽי־קִנְאָ֥ה חֲמַת־גָּ֑בֶר וְלֹֽא־יַ֜חְמ֗וֹל בְּי֣וֹם נָקָֽם:
for jealousy: For the jealousy of the Holy One, blessed be He, Who is the Mighty One over all, will be aroused to mete out retribution upon him, and He will not have pity on the day of vengeance.  
35He will not have regard for any ransom, neither will he consent though you give him many bribes.   להלֹא־יִ֖שָּׂא פְּנֵ֣י כָל־כֹּ֑פֶר וְלֹֽא־יֹ֜אבֶ֗ה כִּ֣י תַרְבֶּה־שֹֽׁחַד:
He will not have regard: for any money to expiate for his denial of Him and his cleaving to idolatry. And our Rabbis expounded (Tosefta Baba Kamma 7:3): They will not despise a thief-This is one who steals away from his friend and goes to the study hall and engages in Torah. If he is found, he will pay sevenfold. [The intention is that] eventually, he will be appointed as a judge, and he will render legal decisions, for “sevenfold” refers only to the Torah, as it is said (Ps. 12:7): “refined sevenfold.”