Proverbs 1:17
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it!

New Living Translation
If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away.

English Standard Version
For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird,

New American Standard Bible
Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net In the sight of any bird;

King James Bible
Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
It is foolish to spread a net where any bird can see it,

International Standard Version
Look, it is useless to spread a net in full view of all the birds,

NET Bible
Surely it is futile to spread a net in plain sight of any bird,

New Heart English Bible
For in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird:

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
It is by deceit that nets are spread for a bird.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
It does no good to spread a net within the sight of any bird.

JPS Tanakh 1917
For in vain the net is spread In the eyes of any bird;

New American Standard 1977
Indeed, it is useless to spread the net
            In the eyes of any bird;

Jubilee Bible 2000
Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

King James 2000 Bible
Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

American King James Version
Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

American Standard Version
For in vain is the net spread In the sight of any bird:

Douay-Rheims Bible
But a net is spread in vain before the eyes of them that have wings.

Darby Bible Translation
For in vain the net is spread in the sight of anything which hath wings.

English Revised Version
For in vain is the net spread, in the eyes of any bird:

Webster's Bible Translation
Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

World English Bible
For in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird:

Young's Literal Translation
Surely in vain is the net spread out before the eyes of any bird.
Study Bible
The Enticement of Sin
16For their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood. 17Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net In the sight of any bird; 18But they lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives.…
Cross References
Proverbs 1:16
For their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood.

Proverbs 1:18
But they lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives.
Treasury of Scripture

Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.

in vain

Proverbs 7:23 Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare, …

Job 35:11 Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, and makes us wiser …

Isaiah 1:3 The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master's crib: but Israel …

Jeremiah 8:7 Yes, the stork in the heaven knows her appointed times; and the turtle …

sight of any bird means eyes of anything that hath a wing

(17) Surely in vain . . .--The second reason: their folly in so doing, for God will bring punishment upon them; in the "same net which they hid privily will their foot be taken "(Psalm 9:15). Even birds are wiser than they. It is useless to spread a net in the sight of any bird.

Verse 17. - Surely in vain the net is spread in the face of any bird. The teacher here advances a second reason in support of his warning in ver. 15, under the form of a proverb in its strict sense. It is based on the ill-advised audacity of sinners in flying in the face of God's judgments. In vain (חִנָּם khinnam), see ver. 11, may be taken in two senses.

(1) I.e. to no purpose, gratis, frustra (Vulgate, Chaldee Paraphrase, Arabic). The meaning of the proverb here used then is, "to no purpose is the net spread before birds," i.e. though they see the net spread before them, they nevertheless fly into it (romp. Proverbs 7:23, "As a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life"). So sinners, when they are plotting for others, plunge into their own destruction with their eyes open. Therefore do not associate with them, do not imitate their crass folly, be warned by their example, or you will share their fate. This view is supported by the LXX. reading, Οὐ γὰρ ἀδίκως ἐκτείνεται δίκτυα πτερωτοῖς, "For not unreasonably is the net spread before birds;" i.e. they fall into the snare (see Luther, Patrick, Umbreit, Ewatd, Hitzig, Zockler, Plumptre).

(2) Others, as Delitzsch, Ziegler, Beda, Doderlein, Bertheau, Wardlaw, take khinnam in a different sense, as indicating the escape of the birds - the birds see the snare and fly away, and so in vain the net is spread in their sight. This explanation is in agreement with Ovid's statement, "Quae nimis apparent retia vitat avis." The moral motive put before youth in this case is the aggravation of his guilt if he listens to the enticements of sinners. The teacher seems to say, "Imitate the birds, flee from temptation; if you listen to sinners, you will sin with your eyes open." Is spread; מְזֹרָה (m zorah), expansum, not conspersum est, i.e. besprinkled or strewn with corn as a bait, as Rashi. M'zorah is the participle passive of pual, זֹרָה (zorah), "to be strewn," from kal זָרָה (zarah). "to scatter, or disperse" (Gesenius), and means expansum, because when a net is scattered or dispersed it is spread out (see Delitzsch). Of any bird (כָּל־בַּעַל כָּנָפ khal-baal khanaph); literally, of every possessor of a wing, or, as margin, of everthing that hath a wing, i.e. of every bird. Compare the same expression in Ecclesiastes 10:20, בַּעַל חַכְּנָפַיִם (baal hach naphayim); i.e. "that which hath wings" (Authorized Version). Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. Or "without cause" (y), as the word is rendered in Proverbs 1:11; and so the words are an illustration of the preceding; showing that the blood of innocent persons is shed without cause, no injury being done by them to those that do it, but is shed without any provocation at all; just as the net is spread for the innocent bird, which has done no harm to the fowler that seeks to take it; so Gersom: or else the sense is, that though the net is spread by the fowler even in the sight of the bird, yet it is in vain to the bird, though not to the fowler; it is so intent upon the corn that is spread about, that it takes no notice of the net, and so is caught in it; and thus it is with those men that are bent upon their sinful practices, upon theft and murder, though their ruin and destruction are before their eyes; and they daily see their companions in iniquity come to an untimely end; they know that they are liable to suffer death by the hand of the civil magistrate, and to be followed by the justice and vengeance of God, and suffer eternal punishment; yet take no warning hereby, but rush on to their own ruin, as follows.

(y) "sine causa", Vatablus, Mercerus, Gejerus. 17-19. Men warned ought to escape danger as birds instinctively avoid visibly spread nets. But stupid sinners rush to their own ruin (Ps 9:16), and, greedy of gain, succeed in the very schemes which destroy them (1Ti 6:10), not only failing to catch others, but procuring their own destruction.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?
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