Proverbs 1:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 1:12, NIV: "let's swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit;"

Proverbs 1:12, ESV: "like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit;"

Proverbs 1:12, KJV: "Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:"

Proverbs 1:12, NASB: "Let’s swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, like those who go down to the pit;"

Proverbs 1:12, NLT: "Let's swallow them alive, like the grave; let's swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death."

Proverbs 1:12, CSB: "Let's swallow them alive, like Sheol, whole, like those who go down to the Pit."

What does Proverbs 1:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse carries the theme of verse 11 to another level. Solomon is still using an exaggerated scenario, for a reason. The "obvious" response here is meant to show how we ought to respond to foolishness and sin. This is meant to be applied anywhere we are tempted, not only in cases of obvious evil.

Verse 11 brought up the dangers of peer pressure—the "group mentality." Not only is the group mentality still in play here in verse 12, but now a new incentive is given. Here, the excuse changes to suggest that "The people we're doing this to have it coming." This is another reason human beings have used to excuse evil actions: the claim that two wrongs make a right. This even applies in seemingly positive ways. It's the reason we applaud Robin Hood for stealing: because he is stealing from the rich and greedy. Here in this verse, the tempting "sinner" is stating that the people being ambushed are going down to the pit anyway, so we might as well teach them a lesson. And yet, these were the same people described in verse 11 as "the innocent," showing how sin will twist anything in order to justify itself.