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Avoid Bad Associations
Proverbs 1:18-19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
18 But these men lie in wait for their own blood;
they set an ambush for their own lives.
19 Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;
it takes away the soul of its possessors.
In Verses 10-19, we have a father appealing to his son to pay attention to his wise words. He offers his son practical advice so that he is not enticed by the deceptive words of the sinner so that he may avoid the life course of the sinner (the wicked one). Closing out this section, the father offers the son reasons why he should not engage in the lifestyle of this gang. However, the parent does not force the son to heed his wise counsel, but rather, he leaves it up to the youth to decide for himself. He has given his son free will to make a choice for himself.
But these men, the sinners of verse 10, are really setting a trap for themselves, as they lie in wait for their own blood. Here in verse 18, we have the reverse of verse 11, “Come with us, let us [the sinners and you] lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason.” Their stupidity, foolishness, their greed has created the reverse wherein the real trap will “set an ambush for their own lives.”
“Such are the ways” renders the Hebrew term (אֹרַח orach), which refers to the overall conditions or circumstances of the road, way, or path, life course that one freely chooses for themselves.
“It takes away the soul” refers to greedy, unjust gains by violent acts. Possessors refer to the sinners, wicked ones doing these violent acts. The end result for these wicked ones is the loss of their soul (i.e., their life) in that those who rob others and commit violent crimes are a loss of life now (depriving them of peace, joy, and true happiness) and destruction upon Jesus return. These violent acts by these sinners are a road to death.
Most sinners know deep in their hearts that ruination is at the end of their ways. They have an intense feeling of being murdered, ending life in jail, or even death row. The unbeliever is not even aware that he will see eternal destruction and will have forsaken eternal life. They know that their future is very bleak. However, they continue to rush down the path of sin. It is like a horse in ancient times rushing to its death on the battlefield.
Their greed for profit scurries them upon those ways that will not allow them to live out half their lives but will cut them off from life and eternal life. Even if they were lucky enough to gain the world, they lose their lives in the end! The love of money is the root of all evil.
Solomon indicates only the urge to rob on the highway, yet he aims to warn us against all other wicked deeds to which sinners tempt men. Such examples might be the abuse of alcohol, sexual immorality, gambling, and such things. They are indulging in immediate gratification pleasures that will ruin their lives now and keep them out of the eternal life to come.
 That is, life