Proverbs 1:8-19

Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom

8

Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men

8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
10 My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.
11 If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”—
15 my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood.
17 How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.

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 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
10 My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.
11 If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”—
15 my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood.
17 How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.
20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech:

Cross References 18

  • 1. ver 8-9; Proverbs 2:1; Proverbs 3:1; Proverbs 4:1; Proverbs 5:1; Proverbs 6:1; Proverbs 7:1; Proverbs 19:27; Proverbs 22:17; Proverbs 23:26-28
  • 2. Jeremiah 35:8
  • 3. S Deuteronomy 21:18; Proverbs 6:20
  • 4. Proverbs 3:21-22; Proverbs 4:1-9
  • 5. Genesis 39:7; S Job 24:15
  • 6. Deuteronomy 13:8
  • 7. ver 15; Psalms 1:1; Proverbs 16:29; Ephesians 5:11
  • 8. S Psalms 10:8
  • 9. S Psalms 35:25
  • 10. ver 16-18; S Job 33:18; S Psalms 30:3; Psalms 28:1
  • 11. ver 19
  • 12. S Psalms 119:101
  • 13. S Genesis 49:6; Psalms 1:1; Proverbs 4:14
  • 14. S Job 15:31
  • 15. Proverbs 6:18; Isaiah 59:7
  • 16. S Psalms 71:10
  • 17. S ver 11-12
  • 18. S ver 13-14; Proverbs 4:14-17; Proverbs 11:19; Proverbs 15:27