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Avoid Bad Associations

Proverbs 1:18-19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
18 But these men lie in wait for their own blood;
they set an ambush for their own lives.
19 Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;
it takes away the soul of its possessors.

In Verses 10-19, we have a father appealing to his son to pay attention to his wise words. He offers his son practical advice so that he is not enticed by the deceptive words of the sinner, so that he may avoid the life course of the sinner (the wicked one). Closing out this section, the father offers the son reasons as to why he should not engage in the lifestyle of this gang. However, the parent does not force the son to heed his wise counsel but rather, he leaves it up to the youth to decide for himself. He has given his son free will to make the choice for himself.

But these men, the sinners of verse 10, are really setting a trap for themselves, as they lie in wait for their own blood. Here in verse 18, we have the reverse of verse 11, “Come with us, let us [the sinners and you] lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason.” Their stupidity, foolishness, their greed has created the reverse wherein the real trap will “set an ambush for their own lives.”

“Such are the ways” renders the Hebrew term (ʾō·rǎḥ), which is referring to the overall conditions or circumstances the road, way, or path, life course that one freely chooses for themselves.

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It takes away the soul” is referring to greedy unjust gains by violent acts. Possessors is referring to the sinners, wicked ones doing these violent acts. The end result for these wicked ones is the loss of their soul (i.e., their life) in that those who rob others and commit violent crimes is a loss of life now (robbing them of peace, joy, and true happiness) and destruction upon Jesus return. These violent acts by these sinners is a road to death.

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