10My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. 11If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: 12Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: 13We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: 14Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: 15My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: 16For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
The main point of this proverb is to be careful who you befriend. As James wrote:
James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
We need to be careful who we become friends with, particularly when we are young. Innumerable old men can testify of foolishness and crime in which they were involved as young men, because they were hanging out with the wrong crowd.
Notice the way in which the warning is presented: when sinners entice you, don't consent. The English word "entice" may be a bit softer than the sense of the Hebrew word here, but it conveys the general sense that what is happening is soft coercion, not hard coercion. It's not when sinners "force" you or "compel" you, but when they "entice" (KJV) you or "lure" (MKJV) you. This same Hebrew word (פּתה - pathah) is used in Exodus 22:16 to describe a young unmarried woman who is seduced and in 2 Chronicles 18:19-21 to describe the lying spirit sent to deceive Ahab.
The parable includes a specific example. In the specific example, the allurement of the sinners is, in essence, "let's become bandits." What is involved? Kill some people, steal what they have, and become rich.
It's presented this way, one presumes, for shock value. This is not the way in which the young man is likely to get ensnared, for one's conscience informs one that killing innocent people is bad. Instead, the actual presentation tends to focus on the money: "you'll be rich," is the temptation posed.
And furthermore, there is some camaraderie thrown into the mix. Notice how they "cast in your lot with us." The sense is "try your luck with us" or simply "let's seek our fortune together." It's an alluring call, because the idea is not only one focusing on the temptations of "chance" and "luck," but also on the fact that like friends, they are going to be in it together.
This is reinforced by the partnership proposed: "let us all have one purse." The purse here is simply a bag of money. It's as though they are saying, "let's all share the same bank account." It's a way - in economic terms - for parties to bond their willingness to be partners together, to share money without division among the group.
It should be noted that this same practice (one bag for the group) was practiced not only among some of the early Christians (Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.) but even within the band of disciples that followed Jesus continually (John 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.).
This sort of friendship can be good, and is alluring to those who want friends, but is dangerous and destructive when one becomes partners with thieves and murderers.
To remind us of that, the parable concludes with a restatement of the same point, using the poetic parallelisms form we saw earlier:
"walk not thou in the way with them;" || "refrain thy foot from their path:"
The point should not be thought of as literally not walking on roads owned by sinners, or on sidewalks where sinners are currently walking. Instead, the point is not to become part of their group of friends. Don't hang out with them. Right now the walk may simply seem like an innocent jaunt about town, but that is not where it will end up.
"For their feet run to evil," || "and [their feet] make haste to shed blood."
This simply the way that the wicked go. They tend to do that which is sinful in God's sight. Whether it is the general category of "evil" or the specific example of "shed[ding] blood" their path is taking them to that activity, and fast.
As the Apostle Paul writes:
1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Even so, let us not be deceived, but let us seek out friendship among the brethren. That does not mean cutting ourselves off from the world, and never interacting with those around us who are lost. It does, however, indicate that those people who are living in wickedness should not be the same people we consider our friends - those with whom we will cast in our lot, and with whom we will seek our fortune.
10 בני אם־יפתוך חטאים אל־תבא׃
11 אם־יאמרו לכה אתנו נארבה לדם נצפנה לנקי חנם׃
12 נבלעם כשׁאול חיים ותמימים כיורדי בור׃
13 כל־הון יקר נמצא נמלא בתינו שׁלל׃
14 גורלך תפיל בתוכנו כיס אחד יהיה לכלנו׃
15 בני אל־תלך בדרך אתם מנע רגלך מנתיבתם׃
16 כי רגליהם לרע ירוצו וימהרו לשׁפך־דם׃
10υἱέ, μή σε πλανήσωσιν ἄνδρες ἀσεβεῖς, μηδὲ βουληθῇς, ἐὰν παρακαλέσωσί σε λέγοντες 11Ἐλθὲ μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν, κοινώνησον αἵματος, κρύψωμεν δὲ εἰς γῆν ἄνδρα δίκαιον ἀδίκως, 12καταπίωμεν δὲ αὐτὸν ὥσπερ ᾅδης ζῶντα καὶ ἄρωμεν αὐτοῦ τὴν μνήμην ἐκ γῆς· 13τὴν κτῆσιν αὐτοῦ τὴν πολυτελῆ καταλαβώμεθα, πλήσωμεν δὲ οἴκους ἡμετέρους σκύλων· 14τὸν δὲ σὸν κλῆρον βάλε ἐν ἡμῖν, κοινὸν δὲ βαλλάντιον κτησώμεθα πάντες, καὶ μαρσίππιον ἓν γενηθήτω ἡμῖν. 15μὴ πορευθῇς ἐν ὁδῷ μετ᾿ αὐτῶν, ἔκκλινον δὲ τὸν πόδα σου ἐκ τῶν τρίβων αὐτῶν· 16οἱ γὰρ πόδες αὐτῶν εἰς κακίαν τρέχουσιν καὶ ταχινοὶ τοῦ ἐκχέαι αἷμα·
10fili mi si te lactaverint peccatores ne adquiescas 11si dixerint veni nobiscum insidiemur sanguini abscondamus tendiculas contra insontem frustra 12degluttiamus eum sicut infernus viventem et integrum quasi descendentem in lacum 13omnem pretiosam substantiam repperiemus implebimus domos nostras spoliis 14 sortem mitte nobiscum marsuppium unum sit omnium nostrum 15fili mi ne ambules cum eis prohibe pedem tuum a semitis eorum 16pedes enim illorum ad malum currunt et festinant ut effundant sanguinem