Proverbs 1:12
Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:
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(12) Alive.—Comp. the death of Dathan and Abiram (Numbers 16:30).

1:10-19 Wicked people are zealous in seducing others into the paths of the destroyer: sinners love company in sin. But they have so much the more to answer for. How cautious young people should be! Consent thou not. Do not say as they say, nor do as they do, or would have thee to do; have no fellowship with them. Who could think that it should be a pleasure to one man to destroy another! See their idea of worldly wealth; but it is neither substance, nor precious. It is the ruinous mistake of thousands, that they overvalue the wealth of this world. Men promise themselves in vain that sin will turn to their advantage. The way of sin is down-hill; men cannot stop themselves. Would young people shun temporal and eternal ruin, let them refuse to take one step in these destructive paths. Men's greediness of gain hurries them upon practices which will not suffer them or others to live out half their days. What is a man profited, though he gain the world, if he lose his life? much less if he lose his soul?i. e., "We will be as all-devouring as Sheol. The destruction of those we attack shall be as sudden as that of those who go down quickly into the pit." Some render the latter clause, and upright men as those that go down to the pit. "Pit" here is a synonym for Sheol, the great cavernous depth, the shadow-world of the dead. 11-14. Murder and robbery are given as specific illustrations.

lay wait … lurk privily—express an effort and hope for successful concealment.

swallow … grave—utterly destroy the victim and traces of the crime (Nu 16:33; Ps 55:15). Abundant rewards of villainy are promised as the fruits of this easy and safe course.

As the grave; which speedily covers and consumes dead bodies. See Psalm 55:15 124:3. We shall do our work quickly, easily, and without fear of discovery.

Into the pit; into some deep pit, into which a traveller falls unawares, and is utterly lost, and never discovered. Let us swallow them up alive as the grave,.... The innocent person, and those that are with him, his servants; our gang is so numerous that we can very easily dispatch him and all his attendants, and bury them out of sight at once, as if they were swallowed up alive in a grave, and so no more to be seen or heard of; and consequently we shall be in the utmost safety and security, there being no traces of what is done, nor any left to make a relation of it, or to give any information of us, or to pursue us;

and whole, as those that go down into the pit; who though whole and in perfect health, shall in a moment be destroyed and cast into the pit, being first plundered of all the riches they have about them; for this swallowing them up alive and whole, which is an allusion to a beast of prey swallowing up another creature all at once, not only intends their cruelty in taking away life, but their rapaciousness in seizing upon their substance.

Let us swallow them up alive as the {l} grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:

(l) As the grave is never satisfied, so the malice of the wicked and their cruelty has no end.

12. the grave] or, Sheol, R.V. text, ᾅδης LXX., infernus Vulg.

whole] Some (as R.V. marg. even the perfect) give the Heb. word here the moral sense, which it has elsewhere. But both the parallelism and the force are better preserved by the rendering of A.V. and R.V. text. Let us make away with them in a moment in the full vigour of life, as though Hades should open her mouth and swallow them up (comp. Numbers 16:30; Numbers 16:33): yea, let us sweep them from the earth in perfect soundness, as completely as those who go down to the grave are swallowed up by it. The LXX. give a different turn (paraphrase, not translation) to the 2nd clause, ἄρωμεν αὐτοῦ τὴν μνήμην ἐκ γῆς, let us take away the remembrance of him from the earth, as though by whole they understood, wholly, leaving not the memory of him behind.Verse 12. - Let us swallow them up alive as the grave. A continuation of ver. 11, expanding the idea of bloodshed ending in murder, and showing the determination of the sinners to proceed to the most violent means to effect their covetous ends. The enticement here put before youth is the courage and boldness of their exploits (Wardlaw). The order of the words in the original is, "Let us swallow them up, as the grave, living," which sufficiently indicates the meaning of the passage. Alive; חַיִּים (khayyim), i.e. "the living," refers to the pronomiual suffix in נִבְלָעֵם (niv'laem), as in the Authorized Version and Zockler (cf. Psalm 55:15; Psalm 124:3). Umbreit and Hitzig are grammatically incorrect in connecting כִּשְׁאול (kish'ol) "as the grave," with "the living," and translating "like the pit (swallows) that which lives." The כִּ (ki) with a substantive, as here in kish'ol, is a preposition, said not a conjunction (see Gesenius, 'Lexicon'). It denotes a kind of resemblance, but does not introduce a coordinate sentence. The allusion is undoubtedly in the teacher's mind to the fate of Korah and his company (Numbers 16:30-33), and as in that case "the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up" in the flush of life, so here the robbers say that they will as suddenly and effectively destroy their victims, בָּלַע (dala); from which niv'laem, in a figurative sense, means "to destroy utterly" (Geseuius). The change from the singular, "the innocent" (לְנָקִי, l'naki), to the plural in "let us swallow them up," is noticeable. Like the pit (כִּשְׁאול kish'ol); literally, like Sheol, or Hades, the great subterranean cavity or world of the dead. The all-devouring and insatiable character of sheol is described in Proverbs 27:20, where the Authorized Version translates "Hell (sheol) and destruction are never full," and again in Proverbs 30:15, where it (sheol, Authorized Version, "the grave") is classed with the four things that are never satisfied. Vulgate, infernus; LXX., ᾅδης. And whole, as those that go down into the pit. The parallelism of ideas requires that the word "whole" (תְּמִימִים, t'mimim) should be understood of those physically whole (see Mercerus, Delitzsch), and not in a moral sense, as the upright (Luther, Grief, Holden, Plumptre). The word is used in an ethical signification in Proverbs 2:21. Gesenius gives it the meaning of "safe, secure." Those that go down into the pit (יורדֵי בור, yorde vor); i.e. the dead. The phrase also occurs in Psalm 28:1; Psalm 30:4; Psalm 88:4; Psalm 143:7; Isaiah 38:18). The pit (בור, vor); or, the sepulchre, the receptacle of the dead, is here synonymous with sheol. The LXX. substitutes for the latter part of the verse, Καὶ ἄρωμεν αὐτοῦ τὴν μνήμην ἐκ γῆς, "And let us remove his memory from the earth." The robbers, by drawing a comparison between themselves and Hades and the grave, which consign to silence all who are put therein, imply their own security against detection. They will so utterly destroy their victims that none will be left to tell the tale (see Musset, in loc.). This, we know, is a fancied, and at the best only a temporary, security. The mediate object of these proverbs, as stated in Proverbs 1:2, is now expanded, for again it is introduced in the infinitive construction: - The reader shall learn in these proverbs, or by means of them as of a key, to understand such like apothegms generally (as Proverbs 22:17.):

To understand proverb and symbol,

The words of wise men and their enigmas.

In the Gesch. der jd. Poesie, p. 200f., the derivation of the noun מליצה is traced from לוּץ, primarily to shine, Sanskr. las, frequently with the meanings ludere and lucere; but the Arab. brings near another primary meaning. "מליצה, from Arab. root las, flexit, torsit, thus properly oratio detorta, obliqua, non aperta; hence לץ, mocker, properly qui verbis obliquis utitur: as Hiph. הליץ, to scoff, but also verba detorta retorquere, i.e., to interpret, to explain" (Fl.). Of the root ideas found in חידה, to be sharp, pointed (חד, perhaps related to the Sanskr. kaṭu, sharp of taste, but not to acutus), and to be twisted (cf. אחד, אגד ,אחד, עקד, harmonizing with the at present mysterious catena), that the preference is given to the latter already, Psalm 78:2. "The Arab. ḥâd, to revolve, to turn (whence hid, bend, turn aside!), thence חידה, στροφή, cunning, intrigue, as also enigma, dark saying, perlexe dictum" (Fl.). The comparison made by Schultens with the Arab. ḥidt as the name of the knot on the horn of the wild-goat shows the sensible fundamental conception. In post-biblical literature חידה is the enigma proper, and מליצה poetry (with הלצה of poetical prose). The Graec. Venet. translates it ῥητορείαν.

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