Love in the Bible

I.     Symposium’s influence on Christian theology;

A.  Dante’s Paradiso: union of the soul that climbs the ladder of love to reach God; sees his face in God’s face; becomes unified with god; becomes God

Now in my recollection of the rest

I have less power to speak than any infant

Wetting its tongue at its mother’s breast…

As I grew worthier to see

The more I looked the more unchanging semblance

Appeared to change with every change in me…

Within the depthless deep and clear existence

Of that abyss of light three circles shown

Three in color,  one in circumference…

That second aureole…

Seemed in Itself of Its own coloration

To be painted with man’s image.  I fixed my eyes

On that alone in rapturous contemplation

….so did I study the supernal face

I yearned to know just how our image merges

Into that circle, and how it there finds its place

But mine were not the wings for such a flight

Yet, as I wished, the truth I wished for came

Cleaving my mind in a great flash of light

Here…I could feel my being turned

Instinct and intellect balanced equally

As in a wheel whose motion nothing jars--

By the Love that moves the sun and other stars.

B.  Poetry and music of the Bible, specifically the erotic language of Song of Songs, is also the source of this Christian vision of the lover rising to and becoming unified with, that is to say, becoming “a” God

II.   Socrates’—Diotima’s earlier definition of love as intermediary between mortality and divinity—an expression of the limited but aspiring rather than the infinite aspect of human nature

A.  Two ways of looking at this intermediary condition—longing, striving, conflict and mortal search for immortality through generation

1.    the parable of the birth of love from the union of poverty and plenty

a)   Eros’ or love’s parentage: child of resourcefulness and poverty conceived deceitfully by poverty at the banquet celebrating the birth of Aphrodite  [relation to this banquet?]

b)   That’s why he’s servant and follower of beauty—aphrodite is beautiful

c)    Eros follows his mother by being rough and needy and dwelling with want and his father’s nature by being courageous and a lover of wisdom, and he alternates natures [NB—etiological myth like Aristophanes’] Riches always slip away but then come back 147—nice emotional description of the ups and downs, compared to the longing in Aristophanes’ tale

2.    the discussion of reproduction and fertility

a)   Intercourse of man and woman is begetting, a divine thing, procreation is an immortal element in the mortal living creature

b)   Eros is of procreation and begetting of children in the beautiful…Eros is love of immortality

c)    All beasts desire to reproduce…are erotically disposed for intercourse and for nurture of offspring…to die in battle on their behalf  151

d)   In the animal world, mortal nature seeks so far as it can to be immortal

(1) Mortal creatures are perishing all their lives, changing from youth to age—in body as well as soul
(2) In the soul, character, habits, opinions, desires and pleasures, pains, and even knowledge are coming to be and perishing—study replenishes forgetful memory

e)    In this way what is mortal is preserved, not being forever the same, but leaving behind a different new thing of the same sort—for this reason everything in nature values its own offshoot. 152

 

III. These “lower” kinds of love are theme of many stories in Old Testament(OT)—Hebrew Bible

A.  What is Hebrew Bible:

1.    OT as Bible or collection of books, a library of Israelite culture—myth, history, short story, poetry, prophecy, prayer, law, military strategy—collected and codified around 300 B.C. from a large array off earlier texts going back to about 1000B.C. themselves going back to oral transmission from much earlier

B.  Genesis and Generation

1.    The first book of the Bible is called in English translation, Genesis—a word which translates the original Hebrew, “In the beginning,” but is much more suggestive

2.    Genesis, generation, generations, genetics, breeding—mortals striving for immortality according to the reproductive principles stated by Diotima

3.    Genesis is full of  genealogies--begats and begetting; lineage; links to past and future of short individual lives—both tragic and happy.  Family  Bibles contain their own genealogies

a)   First command is to thrive and multiply; fundamental life force—all the animals and plants are seen as fertility

b)  Chapter 1 [27 ] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

c)   [28 ] And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."

4.    Love stories of the patriarchs

a)   Abraham and Sarah—in youth the strongest warrior, she the most beautiful woman

b)   Isaac and Rebekah—finding the lovely woman and bringing her back

c)    Jacob and Rachel—their falling in love and trials and tribulation—jacob, the namesake of Israel. 

5.    Central to human history is erotic, generative love;

a)   Next story in Genesis also emphasizes the romantic loving nature of the first humans—here emphasizing the fulfillment of what’s lacking

(1)       [8] And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
(2)       [9] And out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
(3)       Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."
(4)       [19 ] So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.
(5)       [20 ] The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him.
(6)       [21 ] So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh;
(7)       [22 ] and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
(8)       [23 ] Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones
(9)       and flesh of my flesh;
(10)  she shall be called Woman,
(11)  because she was taken out of Man."
(12)  [24 ] Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.
(13)  [25 ] And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

b) This celebrates nakedness and takes place in the garden—the image of innocent erotic fulfillment—a world centered on love—two from one returning to one. 

c)  But in that harmonious conclusion lie the seeds of instability, seeds that are planted in the very beginning of this second story with the planting of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that the two lovers are cautioned to avoid.  That instability and source of conflict is further suggested at the happy moment of their coming together with the coupling of “becoming one flesh” with “leaving father and mother.”

IV.         Love as  tragic; love as trap rather than ladder

A.  What follows makes this into a tragic rather than a happy story of love.

B.  Comic and tragic plots—curves—smile and frown

1.    Comedy and Tragedy in Symposium

a)   Michaelangelo’s diagrammatic portrait of the plot

(1) http://www.christusrex.org/www1/sistine/6b-Fall.jpg
 

2.    Not rising up the ladder of love, but falling in love; falling into a trap; love tragedy; love story is one of loss—of innocence, of simplicity and trust and pleasure, the loss of immortality.

a)   What seems to be good and beautiful is something else—trap and loss

(1)  

b)   the snake laying a trap for Eve; eve laying a trap for Adam, God laying traps for both of them

c)    getting pregnant as a trap; getting caught at it, as Adam and Eve are; discovering that your desire, instead of leading you higher, leads you into trouble

d)   shame and guilt and disgust as the trap—drawn by desire into a trap, then wanting to get out; repudiating your love and desire; hating what you loved

e)    leaving father and mother, becoming knowing; learning good and evil; taking on adulthood and pain; kicked out of the garden

f)    Titian http://cla.calpoly.edu/~smarx/courses/251/images/biblepics/titian56.jpg

g)   Loss of innocence: knowledge; around nakedness; sex as fall; paradise lost; out of the garden; innocence and experience; growing up; parenthood and hard work

h)   Flaming sword.  Massaccio http://cla.calpoly.edu/~smarx/courses/251/images/biblepics/masexpul.jpg

 

i)     Generation here is not only a blessing—the mother of mankind, but as Plato indicates, it’s the outcome of losing divine immortality

3.        Examples of love as trap and loss in Gen.3

 [6] So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.

[7] Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

[8]And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

[9] But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?"

[10 ] And he said, "I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."

[11 ] He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"

[12 ] The man said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate."

 [16 ] To the woman he said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing;

in pain you shall bring forth children,

yet your desire shall be for your husband,

and he shall rule over you."

[17 ] And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife,

and have eaten of the tree

of which I commanded you,

`You shall not eat of it,'

cursed is the ground because of you;

in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

[18 ] thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you;

and you shall eat the plants of the field.

[19 ] In the sweat of your face

you shall eat bread

till you return to the ground,

for out of it you were taken;

you are dust,

and to dust you shall return."

[20 ]

 

The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

 

[21 ] And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them.

[22 ]

 

Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever" --

4.  What is the knowledge of good and evil in relation to love—complexity, subtlety, uninnocence, not naked, not living in garden, no longer within the fold of the father

[23 ] therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.

[24 ] He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

V.  2Samuel 11-14: another love trap—

A.  Transition: from the first couple, and then the first families and then the chosen families and their offspring to the chosen nation—escaping from Egypt, conquering Palestine, going through frontier anarchy and settling into kingship…King David, a great lover, michal, abigail—many wives and concubines; successful conqueror; Davidic empire and then this happens

B.  David and Bathsheba; both fall into trap, David by volition, Bathsheba just by being there

[1]In the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to battle, David sent Jo'ab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

[2]

It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking upon the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. rembrandt

[3] And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is not this Bathshe'ba, the daughter of Eli'am, the wife of Uri'ah the Hittite?"

[4] So David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. [see Leviticus 15:19]

Bathsheba pictures

[5] And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, "I am with child."

[6]pregnancy as the love trap

So David sent word to Jo'ab, "Send me Uri'ah the Hittite." And Jo'ab sent Uri'ah to David.

[7] When Uri'ah came to him, David asked how Jo'ab was doing, and how the people fared, and how the war prospered.

[8] Then David said to Uri'ah, "Go down to your house, and wash your feet."

Irony

And Uri'ah went out of the king's house, and there followed him a present from the king.

[9] But Uri'ah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 

[10 ] When they told David, "Uri'ah did not go down to his house," David said to Uri'ah, "Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?"

David laying trap for Uriah

And Joab tries to trap David

[11 ] Uri'ah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths; and my lord Jo'ab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing." 

Uriah escapes one trap but David, trapped by his own crime,  with Joab creates another

[good husband and especially good soldier—why is david not in field]

[12 ] Then David said to Uri'ah, "Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart." So Uri'ah remained in Jerusalem that day, and the next.

[13 ] And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.

More scoundrelly deception like Alcibiades

suspense…Alcibiades story with socrates; Alcibiades laying trap for Socrates but Socrates escaping

In the morning David wrote a letter to Jo'ab, and sent it by the hand of Uri'ah.

Another letter—evil communications; laying a trap for Uriah by Uriah’s hand

[15 ] In the letter he wrote, "Set Uri'ah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die."

[16 ] And as Jo'ab was besieging the city, he assigned Uri'ah to the place where he knew there were valiant men.

[17 ] And the men of the city came out and fought with Jo'ab; and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uri'ah the Hittite was slain also….

When the wife of Uri'ah heard that Uri'ah her husband was dead, she made lamentation for her husband.

[27 ] And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.  

Overreaching, deception, betrayal

[Ending of pericope]

2Sam.12

[1] A new trap for David

And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor.

[2] The rich man had very many flocks and herds;

[3] but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his morsel, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him.

[4] Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb, and prepared it for the man who had come to him."

[5] Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die;

[6] and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity."

[7] Nathan said to David, "You are the man. Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, `I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul; [8] and I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.

[9] Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have smitten Uri'ah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have slain him with the sword of the Ammonites.

[10 ] Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uri'ah the Hittite to be your wife.'  [God punishes David as he punished Adam]

[11 ] Thus says the LORD, `Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.

[12 ] For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.'"

[13 ] David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.

[14 ] Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child that is born to you shall die."

[15 ] Then Nathan went to his house.

And the LORD struck the child that Uri'ah's wife bore to David, and it became sick.

[16 ] David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in and lay all night upon the ground. …

 [22 ] He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, `Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?'

[23 ] But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me."

[24 ]

David’s life spared and after suffering and humililiation, he is renewed 

Then David comforted his wife, Bathshe'ba, and went in to her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the LORD loved him,

2Sam.13

[1]Now Ab'salom, David's son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar; and after a time Amnon, David's son, loved her.

Love as trap, Amnon falls in. 

[2] And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her.

Torment and trapping

[3] But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jon'adab, the son of Shim'e-ah, David's brother; and Jon'adab was a very crafty man.

Another serpent or tempter

[4] And he said to him, "O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?" Amnon said to him, "I love Tamar, my brother Ab'salom's sister."

[5] Jon'adab said to him, "Lie down on your bed, and pretend to be ill; and when your father comes to see you, say to him, `Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it from her hand.'"

He’ll trap her—deception, related to food—cf. Uriah

[6] So Amnon lay down, and pretended to be ill; and when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, "Pray let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand."

David, the father of both, becomes the agency of his daughter’s rape

[7]Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, "Go to your brother Amnon's house, and prepare food for him."

[8] So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house, where he was lying down.

Amnon’s passivity, like Davids

And she took dough, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes.

Laying the trap

[9] And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, "Send out every one from me." So every one went out from him.

Sending people away

[10 ] Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand." And Tamar took the cakes she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.

Going into the chamber

[11 ] But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her, and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister."

Springing the trap

[12 ] She answered him, "No, my brother, do not force me; for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this wanton folly.

Her great response and resistance—like Uriah’s

[13 ] As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the wanton fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray you, speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you."

Her self protective strategy, but he persists in deepening criminal intent and violence

[14 ] But he would not listen to her; and being stronger than she, he forced her, and lay with her.

Guercino painting: http://cla.calpoly.edu/~smarx/courses/251/images/biblepics/amnon.jpg

 

Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred; so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Arise, be gone."

Love and shame; lust and shame; guilt

[16 ] But she said to him, "No, my brother; for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other which you did to me." But he would not listen to her.

[17 ] He called the young man who served him and said, "Put this woman out of my presence, and bolt the door after her."

Her effort to save the situation, repulses him further; his disgust parallels her acquiescence—she is trapped by her “love” ; is she complicit?  His effort to escape

…And her brother Ab'salom said to her, "Has Amnon your brother been with you? Now hold your peace, my sister; he is your brother; do not take this to heart." So Tamar dwelt, a desolate woman, in her brother Ab'salom's house.

She is trapped

[21 ] When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry.

[22 ] But Ab'salom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad; for Ab'salom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.

Absalom lays trap—revenge lasts a long time

[23 ]

 

After two full years Ab'salom had sheepshearers at Ba'al-ha'zor, which is near E'phraim, and Ab'salom invited all the king's sons.

 

[24 ] And Ab'salom came to the king, and said, "Behold, your servant has sheepshearers; pray let the king and his servants go with your servant."

[25 ] But the king said to Ab'salom, "No, my son, let us not all go, lest we be burdensome to you." He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing.

[26 ] Then Ab'salom said, "If not, pray let my brother Amnon go with us." And the king said to him, "Why should he go with you?"

[27 ] But Ab'salom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him.

Laying trap for Amnon

[28 ] Then Ab'salom commanded his servants, "Mark when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, `Strike Amnon,' then kill him. Fear not; have I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant."

A cowardly attack; waiting till he’s trapped by wine

[29 ] So the servants of Ab'salom did to Amnon as Ab'salom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose, and each mounted his mule and fled.

[While they were on the way, tidings came to David, "Ab'salom has slain all the king's sons, and not one of them is left."

VI.         Proverbs—Separating Love as ladder or generation from love as trap

A.  attributed to Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba, who is the wisest and strongest of Kings, but who also is trapped by love

B. 1Kgs.11

[1]Now King Solomon loved many foreign women: the daughter of Pharaoh, and Moabite, Ammonite, E'domite, Sido'nian, and Hittite women,

1.    [2] from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, "You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods"; Solomon clung to these in love.

2.    [3] He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.

3.    [4] For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

4.    [5] For Solomon went after Ash'toreth the goddess of the Sido'nians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.

5.    [6] So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not wholly follow the LORD, as David his father had done.

VII.       Philosophy—Wisdom as a woman—loving wisdom and understanding -- the most precious woman; God created the world by wisdom; parental advice; reconciling youth and age 3:13-22—

[13 ] Happy is the man who finds wisdom,

and the man who gets understanding,

[14 ] for the gain from it is better than gain from silver

and its profit better than gold.

[15 ] She is more precious than jewels,

and nothing you desire can compare with her.

[16 ] Long life is in her right hand;

in her left hand are riches and honor.

[17 ] Her ways are ways of pleasantness,

and all her paths are peace.

[18 ] She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;

those who hold her fast are called happy.

[19 ] The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;

by understanding he established the heavens;

[20 ] by his knowledge the deeps broke forth,

and the clouds drop down the dew.

[21 ] My son, keep sound wisdom and discretion;

let them not escape from your sight,

[22 ] and they will be life for your soul

and adornment for your neck.

VIII.                  Prov.5  Loose woman; listen to father-- Wisdom vs. folly—two kinds of women; the first lives at home; the second goes abroad—at home and under control of the father; drink water from your own cistern; good woman, wisdom=discipline

[1] My son, be attentive to my wisdom,

incline your ear to my understanding;

[2] that you may keep discretion,

and your lips may guard knowledge.

[3] For the lips of a loose woman drip honey,

and her speech is smoother than oil;

[4] but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,

sharp as a two-edged sword.

[5] Her feet go down to death;

her steps follow the path to Sheol;

[6] she does not take heed to the path of life;

her ways wander, and she does not know it.

[7] And now, O sons, listen to me,

and do not depart from the words of my mouth.

[8] Keep your way far from her,

and do not go near the door of her house;

[9] lest you give your honor to others

and your years to the merciless;

[10 ] lest strangers take their fill of your strength,

and your labors go to the house of an alien;

[11 ] and at the end of your life you groan,

when your flesh and body are consumed,

[12 ] and you say, "How I hated discipline,

and my heart despised reproof!

[13 ] I did not listen to the voice of my teachers

or incline my ear to my instructors.

[14 ] I was at the point of utter ruin

in the assembled congregation."

[15 ] Drink water from your own cistern,

flowing water from your own well.

[16 ] Should your springs be scattered abroad,

streams of water in the streets?

[17 ] Let them be for yourself alone,

and not for strangers with you.

[18 ] Let your fountain be blessed,

and rejoice in the wife of your youth,

[19 ] a lovely hind, a graceful doe.

Let her affection fill you at all times with delight,

be infatuated always with her love.

[20 ] Why should you be infatuated, my son, with a loose woman

and embrace the bosom of an adventuress?

[21 ] For a man's ways are before the eyes of the LORD,

and he watches all his paths.

[22 ] The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,

and he is caught in the toils of his sin.

[23 ] He dies for lack of discipline,

and because of his great folly he is lost.

Prov.7 –the harlot, seductive speech; vs. keeping commandments; lengthy description of the delights and dangers of lust

[1] My son, keep my words

and treasure up my commandments with you;

[2] keep my commandments and live,

keep my teachings as the apple of your eye;

[3] bind them on your fingers,

write them on the tablet of your heart.

[4] Say to wisdom, "You are my sister,"

and call insight your intimate friend;

[5] to preserve you from the loose woman,

from the adventuress with her smooth words.

[6] For at the window of my house

I have looked out through my lattice,

[7] and I have seen among the simple,

I have perceived among the youths,

a young man without sense,

[8] passing along the street near her corner,

taking the road to her house

[9] in the twilight, in the evening,

at the time of night and darkness.

[10 ] And lo, a woman meets him,

dressed as a harlot, wily of heart.

[11 ] She is loud and wayward,

her feet do not stay at home;

[12 ] now in the street, now in the market,

and at every corner she lies in wait.

[13 ] She seizes him and kisses him,

and with impudent face she says to him:

[14 ] "I had to offer sacrifices,

and today I have paid my vows;

[15 ] so now I have come out to meet you,

to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.

[16 ] I have decked my couch with coverings,

colored spreads of Egyptian linen;

[17 ] I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,

aloes, and cinnamon.

[18 ] Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;

let us delight ourselves with love.

[19 ] For my husband is not at home;

he has gone on a long journey;

[20 ] he took a bag of money with him;

at full moon he will come home."

[21 ] With much seductive speech she persuades him;

with her smooth talk she compels him.

[22 ] All at once he follows her,

as an ox goes to the slaughter,

or as a stag is caught fast

[23 ] till an arrow pierces its entrails;

as a bird rushes into a snare;

he does not know that it will cost him his life.

[24 ] And now, O sons, listen to me,

and be attentive to the words of my mouth.

[25 ] Let not your heart turn aside to her ways,

do not stray into her paths;

[26 ] for many a victim has she laid low;

yea, all her slain are a mighty host.

[27 ] Her house is the way to Sheol,

going down to the chambers of death

IX.      Prov.31 Woman’s advice: don’t get drunk; keep control, my child; take care of the needy; cherish the capable wife who can do all that--polarities

[1] The words of Lemuel, king of Massa, which his mother taught him:

[2] What, my son? What, son of my womb?

What, son of my vows?

[3] Give not your strength to women,

your ways to those who destroy kings.

[4] It is not for kings, O Lemuel,

it is not for kings to drink wine,

or for rulers to desire strong drink;

[5] lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,

and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.

[6] Give strong drink to him who is perishing,

and wine to those in bitter distress;

[7] let them drink and forget their poverty,

and remember their misery no more.

[8] Open your mouth for the dumb,

for the rights of all who are left desolate.

[9] Open your mouth, judge righteously,

maintain the rights of the poor and needy.

[10 ] A good wife who can find?

She is far more precious than jewels.

[11 ] The heart of her husband trusts in her,

and he will have no lack of gain.

[12 ] She does him good, and not harm,

all the days of her life.

[13 ] She seeks wool and flax,

and works with willing hands.

[14 ] She is like the ships of the merchant,

she brings her food from afar.

[15 ] She rises while it is yet night

and provides food for her household

and tasks for her maidens.

[16 ] She considers a field and buys it;

with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

[17 ] She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong.

[18 ] She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

Her lamp does not go out at night.

[19 ] She puts her hands to the distaff,

and her hands hold the spindle.

[20 ] She opens her hand to the poor,

and reaches out her hands to the needy.

[21 ] She is not afraid of snow for her household,

for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

[22 ] She makes herself coverings;

her clothing is fine linen and purple.

[23 ] Her husband is known in the gates,

when he sits among the elders of the land.

[24 ] She makes linen garments and sells them;

she delivers girdles to the merchant.

[25 ] Strength and dignity are her clothing,

and she laughs at the time to come.

[26 ] She opens her mouth with wisdom,

and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

[27 ] She looks well to the ways of her household,

and does not eat the bread of idleness.

[28 ] Her children rise up and call her blessed;

her husband also, and he praises her:

[29 ] "Many women have done excellently,

but you surpass them all."

[30 ] Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

[31 ] Give her of the fruit of her hands,

and let her works praise her in the gates