What does Proverbs 1:10 mean?
ESV: My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.
NIV: My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.
NASB: My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.
CSB: My son, if sinners entice you, don't be persuaded.
NLT: My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them!
KJV: My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
Verse Commentary:
There is a small, easily misunderstood term hidden here in verse 10: "if." Immediately after exalting the merits of parental instruction, Solomon quickly makes this decisive statement. In Hebrew, the term translated as "if" is a widely used demonstrative term, 'im. This word is used frequently in Hebrew writing when one wishes to demonstrate a point. While we translate it often as "if" in English, it can also mean "doubtless if," "moreover if," or even "when." The word is meant to imply a hypothetical, a situation that is not (yet), but may or probably will be.

In more literal English, Solomon is not saying "if" sinners entice you, he is saying "when" sinners entice you. And we can all agree that sin has enticed us throughout our lives. The parental command here is not to consent to sin, not to go willingly into it. It advises us to use our wisdom and act according to our knowledge, taught to us by our parents and found in the Scriptures.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 1:8–19 is a warning against foolishness and the allure of sinful behavior. Solomon begins this warning by appealing to his children to honor their parents' teaching. As any parent knows, it’s often best to outline a negative behavior before stating the consequences of that behavior. The example used seems extreme, but it is meant to point towards an obvious conclusion.
Chapter Summary:
Proverbs Chapter 1 provides a clear description of the purpose of the book. It is stated plainly who wrote the book, the lineage of Solomon, and to whom he was writing. Solomon gives four distinct purpose statements in the opening verses. The essence of these is to explain why he is writing the book as well as the source of his inspiration. Solomon concludes with a warning against sinfulness and a personal plea for his children to act wisely.
Chapter Context:
Proverbs Chapter 1 is clearly born out of Solomon’s life history. Solomon held himself back from no earthly pleasure, he had everything he could ever desire, and in the end he saw the foolishness of his actions. Chapter 1 is Solomon’s reflection on his own life, how he had all the wisdom of God available to him, and yet chose to follow after foolish desires. Other chapters detail the advice which this experience allows Solomon to give.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
Accessed 4/13/2024 8:39:06 AM
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