Proverbs 29:25

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
– Proverbs 29:25

Fearing man is contrasted with trusting the Lord in this saying. The snare is a picturesque word from the hunting and trapping of birds or small game. The wicked and the fool are taken in snares (Proverbs 12:13; 18:7) but wisdom and fear of the Lord delivers from snares (Proverbs 13:14; 14:27). Fear of man seems safe but is a trap.

The word for trust means to take refuge and when Yahweh is the refuge, it typically indicates a covenantal relationship (Psalms 4:5; 9:10; 13:5; Proverbs 3:5). The refuge motif continues with the word for safe. It means a high place, or lofty place, and indicates security like being in a high, unassailable tower. The word is also used commonly for the protection of Yahweh’s covenant for all who trust in him (Psalms 20:1; Proverbs 18:10).

Proverbs 29:24

Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.
– Proverbs 29:24

The word for partner alludes to dividing the spoil, as it is used in Proverbs 16:19. A thief is obviously one who steals and is not a sympathetic case as in Proverbs 6:30. Proverbs opens with a warning against such a partnership (Proverbs 1:10-19). To join in with such evil doers is to hate your own life and to be taken in a snare (Proverbs 26:27; 29:6). It puts one in company with great fools (Proverbs 6:32; 8:36; 15:32; 20:2).

The cursing in the second line refers to swearing an oath. It appears only here in Proverbs, though it is used in the law to show that remaining silent when called to witness is a false witness (Leviticus 5:1). The word bewrayeth is an old word out of use today, but it and the underlying Hebrew word mean to expose, or make known. Such a fool has multiplied sin by dividing the spoil with the wicked and bearing false witness.

Proverbs 29:6

In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.
– Proverbs 29:6

Wisdom often asserts providential justice as the wicked being taken by their own devices (Proverbs 1:19; 5:22; 11:5-6; 12:13; 26:7). The main contrast of the saying is the captivity the evil man comes to with the freedom of the righteous. Singing and rejoicing here indicate the free response of the righteous (Proverbs 13:9; 23:24-25).

Proverbs 23:27

For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.
– Proverbs 23:27

The fatherly saying here is reminiscent of the fatherly sayings in the first nine chapters, particularly warnings against the strange woman. The word whore is indelicate today, but it commonly refers to a harlot, or a prostitute. The word for strange woman means a foreign woman but is often put for a forbidden woman, such as a married woman. In this case, she is an adulteress. The deep ditch and narrow pit both indicate a trap with no escape (Proverbs 9:18; 22:14).

Wisdom is not taught just to keep a person from adultery and fornication, though it does that. By addressing the inner lusts, such as greed, gluttony, drunkenness, fornication, etc., the nature of walking the way of wisdom is revealed. Wisdom kept in the heart keeps one in the right way. It affects us transformatively within (Proverbs 20:9; 28:9; 16:6; 28:13). We infer this required inner transformation from the fact wisdom is alien to us, so we must acquire it through correction and instruction (Proverbs 22:15; 19:3). We also know that knowledge must begin with the fear of the Lord, which is put synonymously for knowing God (Proverbs 2:5; 9:10), which can only be had from revelation (Proverbs 2:6). When Proverbs treats of sins like fornication or drunkenness, it’s not just the breaking of a rule that’s warned against but the fundamental root sin of forsaking the God of righteousness (Proverbs 30:7-9).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 22:25

Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
– Proverbs 22:25

Verse 25 completes the proverb started in verse 24. The warning against associating with the angry man is to avoid the snare of becoming like him. Wisdom teaches that we become like those we companion with and those we allow to influence our lives (Proverbs 13:20). Wisdom teaches us to discern the character of others and to avoid all forms of folly and wickedness (Proverbs 1:11-19; 2:12-20; 7:22-27). This is more than a question of taste or preference. Wisdom commands to “forsake the foolish and live” (Proverbs 9:6). The hot tempered, angry man is one type of fool to avoid (Proverbs 21:14; 29:22).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 6:5

Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
– Proverbs 6:5

Solomon uses two images to finish off this warning. A roe is something like a gazelle, though the exact animal is not known to us today. A bird could be any such animal subject to trapping. The point in both cases is that when they are trapped, they give all their attention and energy to escaping. This reinforces the urgency necessary when becoming ensnared is such a foolish obligation. Solomon exhorts to focus all your time and effort on getting out of the trap you’re in.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 6:2

Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
– Proverbs 6:2

Snared and taken refer to being caught in a trap such as a hunter might use to catch an animal. In this case, the impetuous youth’s mouth has landed him in the trap. Being in the trap is the consequence of a hasty action taken without thought. The way of wisdom is to consider well the implications and outcome of a path before entering upon it (Proverbs 4:26; 14:8, 15; 22:3). The issue here is debt and surety but the applications go beyond.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series