Proverbs 1:8-19

The Enticement of Sinners

8 1Hear, my son, your father's instruction And 2do not forsake your mother's teaching;
9 Indeed, they are a 3graceful wreath to your head And [a]4ornaments about your neck.
10 My son, if sinners 5entice you, 6Do not consent.
11 If they say, "Come with us, Let us 7lie in wait for blood, Let us 8ambush the innocent without cause;
12 Let us 9swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, as those who 10go down to the pit;
13 We will find all kinds of precious wealth, We will fill our houses with spoil;
14 Throw in your lot [b]with us, We shall all have one purse,"
15 My son, 11do not walk in the way with them. 12Keep your feet from their path,
16 For 13their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood.
17 Indeed, it is [c]useless to spread the baited net In the sight of any [d]bird *;
18 But they 14lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives.
19 So are the ways of everyone who 15gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors.

Proverbs 1:8-19 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS

This book is called, in some printed Hebrew copies, "Sepher Mishle", the Book of Proverbs; the title of it in the Vulgate Latin version is,

``the Book of Proverbs, which the Hebrews call "Misle":''

in the Septuagint version it has the name of the writer, the Proverbs of Solomon; and so in the Syriac version, with the addition of his titles,

``the son of David, king of Israel.''

This and Ecclesiastes are both of them by the Jews {a} called Books of Wisdom: and it is common with the ancient Christian writers {b} to call the book of Proverbs by the names of "Wisdom" and "Panaretos"; names they give also to the apocryphal books of Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon; and therefore this is to be carefully distinguished from them. The author of this book was King Solomon, as the "first" verse, which contains the inscription of it, shows; for he was not a collector of these proverbs, as Grotius is of opinion, but the author of them, at least of the far greater part; and not only the author, but the writer of them: the Jews {c} say that Hezekiah and this men wrote them; it is true indeed the men of Hezekiah copied some, Pr 25:1; but even those were written by Solomon. R. Gedaliah {d} would have it that Isaiah the prophet wrote this book; but without any foundation. At what time it was written is not certain; the Jewish writers generally say {e} it was written by Solomon, as were the books of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs, in his old age, when near the time of his death; though some think it was written before his fall: and it may be it was not written all at once, but at certain times, when these proverbs occurred unto him and were spoken by him, and as occasion served: however, it is not to he doubted but that they were written under the inspiration of God. The Jews once thought to have made this book of Proverbs an apocryphal one, because of some seeming contradictions in it; but finding that these were capable of a reconciliation, changed their minds, as became them {f}. Among Christians, Theodore of Mopsuest, in the sixth century, denied the divine authority of this book, and attributed it merely to human wisdom; which opinion of his was condemned in the second council at Constantinople: and in later times it has been treated with contempt by the Socinians, and particularly by Father Simon and Le Clerc; but the authority of it is confirmed by the writers of the New Testament, who have cited passages out of it; see \Ro 12:20 Heb 12:5,6 2Pe 2:22\ from \Pr 25:21,22 3:11,12 26:11\. The book consists of "five" parts; "first", a preface or introduction, which takes up the first "nine" chapters; the "second", the proverbs of Solomon, put together by himself, beginning at the tenth chapter to the twenty-fifth; the "third", the proverbs of Solomon, copied by the men of Hezekiah, beginning at the twenty-fifth chapter to the thirtieth; the "fourth", the words of Agur, the thirtieth chapter, the "fifth", the instruction of Solomon's mother, Bathsheba, the thirty-first chapter.

{a} Gloss. in T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2. {b} Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 4. c. 22. 26. {c} T. Bab. Ibid. fol. 15. 1. {d} Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 55. 1. {e} Seder Olam Rabba, c. 15. p. 41. {f} T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 30. 2.

\\INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS 1\\

After the inscription, which gives the title of the book, and describes the author by his name, descent, and dignity, Pr 1:1, follows the scope and design of it, which is to teach men wisdom and knowledge; even such as are simple and foolish, and particularly young men; nay, hereby wise men may grow wiser, and attain to an higher degree of learning, Pr 1:2-6; and the "first" doctrine taught in it is the fear of the Lord, or devotion to God; which is the beginning of knowledge, though despised by fools, Pr 1:7. The next is obedience to parents; whose instructions, attended to, are more ornamental than chains of gold, Pr 1:8,9. And then follows a dissuasive from bad company; in which the arguments made use of by wicked men to draw in others with them, and the danger of compliance, are most strongly and beautifully represented, Pr 1:10-19. When Wisdom, who is the instructor and teacher throughout the whole, is introduced as calling upon the simple and the scorners to leave their sins and turn to her, with a promise of the Spirit to them, Pr 1:20-23; but they slighting and rejecting her call, are threatened with just and irrevocable rum and destruction, Pr 1:24-32. And the chapter is closed with a promise of safety and rest to those that hearken to her, Pr 1:33.

Proverbs 1:8-19 In-Context

6 To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8 Hear, my son, your father's instruction And do not forsake your mother's teaching;
9 Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head And ornaments about your neck.
10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.
11 If they say, "Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause;
12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, as those who go down to the pit;
13 We will find all kinds of precious wealth, We will fill our houses with spoil;
14 Throw in your lot with us, We shall all have one purse,"
15 My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path,
16 For their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood.
17 Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net In the sight of any bird ;
18 But they lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives.
19 So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors.
20 Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square;
21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:

Cross References 15

  • 1. Proverbs 4:1
  • 2. Proverbs 6:20
  • 3. Proverbs 4:9
  • 4. Genesis 41:42; Daniel 5:29
  • 5. Proverbs 16:29
  • 6. Genesis 39:7-10; Deuteronomy 13:8; Psalms 50:18; Ephesians 5:11
  • 7. Proverbs 12:6; Jeremiah 5:26
  • 8. Psalms 10:8; Proverbs 1:18
  • 9. Psalms 124:3
  • 10. Psalms 28:1
  • 11. Psalms 1:1; Proverbs 4:14
  • 12. Psalms 119:101
  • 13. Proverbs 6:17, 18; Isaiah 59:7
  • 14. Proverbs 11:19
  • 15. Proverbs 15:27

Footnotes 4

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