Proverbs 7:16

I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
– Proverbs 7:16

Coverings, carved works, and fine linen from Egypt are expensive and lavish items. She is a woman of means and has made preparations, while not subtle, likely to impress and overwhelm the young man. The naïve young man will probably interpret these measures as indicative of something more long lasting than is intended.

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Proverbs 7:8

Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,
– Proverbs 7:8

He went the way or the path to her house. One wonders if his choice of route was in anyway influenced in the youth group he left from. We are not told what his designs were, if there were any. We do know that he is walking contrary to the instruction of wisdom (Proverbs 4:14-15). Even if unwittingly, he is putting himself in the way, or in the place, for something to happen.

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Proverbs 2:12

To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;
– Proverbs 2:12

Verses 12-15 provide example of the danger wisdom protects us from. The evil man is a calamitous man who brings pain and unhappiness to others. He has a way, or a course of life, and that way brings harm to others. The second clause explains how the evil man hurts others. He speaks forward things. Froward things are perverse things or things that are contrary to right and good things. His way and speech are bent away from wisdom and so he harms those who hear him. However when wisdom enters into our hearts, we are preserved and kept by it from such danger.

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Proverbs 1:19

So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
– Proverbs 1:19

It is a mark of wisdom in Proverbs to look ahead and consider the end of one’s actions. It is equally a mark of folly to rush ahead without due consideration of the consequences. Fools either fail to consider the consequences or they lack wisdom so their assessment of the consequences is false.

Solomon identifies the “ways” of those motivated by greed. He has many things to say in Proverbs concerning ill-gotten gain, the lust for it, and the ruin it brings. Paul identified such greed as “the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10) and “idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).

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Proverbs 1:17

Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird,
– Proverbs 1:17

Solomon here contrasts the greedy company with a natural bird. A bird has preservation instincts so that it will avoid an obvious trap it sees being set. So the bird has a kind of wisdom. This contrasts with the greedy who run into a trap because they are blinded by their folly.

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Proverbs 1:16

For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
– Proverbs 1:16

The end goal for the company was the treasure (Proverbs 1:13-14). Solomon later identifies their motivation by being “greedy for gain” (Proverbs 1:19). Their greed has so clouded their judgment and overridden their sense that they are quick to commit other crimes in order to achieve their end. Robbing a rich house sounds appealing but shedding blood sounds repelling. However, shedding blood might be necessary in order to rob the house. In that case, they’re quick to shed blood. Solomon exposes the way of folly as a complicated and compounded way of evil.

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Proverbs 1:15

My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
– Proverbs 1:15

Solomon counters the sinners’ enticement in verses 15-19. The counsel of wisdom is to avoid the beginning of sin. Do not go with them. Do not join their company. Solomon will evaluate and counter their claims with the picture of reality—the difference between their promise and their delivery.

Note that Solomon speaks of a “way” and a “path.” All men are in a way and all men are on a path. We are all going somewhere. Solomon’s aim is to point his son to the way of wisdom and the path of prudence. Throughout Proverbs there is a tension between the way of wisdom and the way of folly, which appears in various guise.

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Proverbs 1:14

Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:
– Proverbs 1:14

This verse ends the enticement used as an example for a warning to Solomon’s son. It is a strong finish. The allurement all along has had particular appeal to youth. Here it is, “Join us.” The promise is comraderie and belonging in a group. The group provides strength and security. The group also provides a group benefit where the individual is profited by the actions of others in the group. There is a promise of sharing in the spoils, “one purse.” Think back to the deals on the playground where everyone was supposed to get an equal share, how did that usually work out? Solomon will proceed from here to show the folly of going this way.

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Proverbs 1:13

We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil;
– Proverbs 1:13

The previous verse offered power and freedom and this verse promises success. The young man is being enticed to join a lot that will lead him to substantial wealth and all that means. Underlying this is also a promise of equal distribution. Those with experience can easily see the emptiness of the promise but these are powerful temptations to youth.

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