What does Proverbs 1:11 mean?
ESV: If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason;
NIV: If they say, 'Come along with us; let's lie in wait for innocent blood, let's ambush some harmless soul;
NASB: If they say, 'Come with us, Let’s lie in wait for blood, Let’s ambush the innocent without cause;
CSB: If they say--"Come with us! Let's set an ambush and kill someone. Let's attack some innocent person just for fun!
NLT: They may say, 'Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent!
KJV: If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:
Verse Commentary:
Verses 11–14 represent a fictitious quote Solomon uses as an example. His suggestion sounds over the top, so much so that a reader may say, "No one would ever be attracted to these things." However, what is dangerous are the lures used in each verse. Solomon exaggerates in order to make the point clear—the proper response to these temptations should be obvious, but it is not always so easy. Recognizing them in an extreme example gives us perspective to see them in less radical scenarios.

Verse 11 is about the concept of peer pressure. This sets up the warning that enticement is often a group effort. This is the "come on, everyone is doing it" theme of our day. Countless evil things have been excused on the grounds that many people were involved. The sinner says, "Come with us," and "let us." Even though what they appear to be doing is grotesque, Solomon is making the point that the group mentality is seductive. Against one or two people, we may be able to stand firm, but when a group is egging us on, it is much harder to resist.
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.
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