Proverbs 1:14

Proverbs 1:14 "Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:"

Early in the Book of Proverbs, Solomon is offering his young son and other readers the opportunity to learn how to recognize a dangerous crowd.  He identifies a sinful crowd by the type of invitation they offer.  In verse 11, they invite others to join them in their hunt for innocent prey.  In verse 12, they invite others to join them in their kill of that prey. Here in verse 14, they invite others to join them in their consumption of the kill.  This passage seems like the recruitment done by a pride of talking mischievous lions in a Disney Movie:
“Come with us, LET US lurk privily for the innocent!”
“Come with us, LET US swallow them up alive!”
“Come with us, LET US all have one prize!”

Like a pride of lions, this evil gang was looking to make their group stronger with numbers. More lions meant more kills. More kills meant more meat.  More meat meant more consumption. This invitation was motivated by consumption, covetousness and carnality.  The invitation of the sinful is always glazed with the sharing of spoils. It’s capped off with the appealing sound of sharing the profits, with sharing the “precious substance,” with sharing the “spoils” (verse 13).  Solomon’s sample invitation was worded carefully with the incentive of shared spoils being the last thing a young recruit would hear.  A few verses earlier, Solomon wrote, “a wise man will HEAR.”  With the same pen, he declared his intention to give the “young man knowledge and DISCRETION.”  He wanted his young son to have DISCRETION when receiving invitations from his peers.  He wanted his son to HEAR what they were really saying.  They may have been offering shared spoils at the end of their spiel but they were suggesting shared responsibility at the beginning.  Shared spoils came with the risky business of shared responsibility of shared wrongdoing.  Uncertain shared spoils could come at the expense of shared consequences if caught.  Furthermore, shared spoils from shared criminality would bring shared guilt and shared regret. 

The invitation to share ONE PURSE comes with the invitation to share ONE PROBLEM – GUILT.  In order to enjoy the spoils of the kill by this gang, each member would participate and would become, at the very least, an accessory to the crime.  This shared purse required participation in the shared crime.  Solomon desperately wanted his young reader to be able to identify the COST of any enticing offer.  This father desperately wanted his young son to be able to “discern” the COST of any attractive invitation.  This man of God desperately wanted his students to wisely “hear” what was being said so they could detect the responsibility attached to the tempting opportunity.    

At the beginning of their slick sales pitch, the evildoers extend the invitation to “COME with us” (vs. 11).
From there, they then extend the invitation to “COOPERATE with us” (vss. 12-13).
By the end of their pitch, they extend their invitation to “COMMIT to us” (vs. 14).
What started out as a casual invitation to simply hang out ended up as a high-pressure pitch to financially commit to a gang of thieves. 

“The proverbs of Solomon, the son of David…to give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and DISCRETION.” (Proverbs 1:4)
“A wise man will HEAR, and will increase learning.” (Proverbs 1:5)
“My son, if sinners entice thee, CONSENT THOU NOT.” (Proverbs 1:10)

Remember, shared wealth always come with shared responsibility.  Shared wealth by labor comes by shared labor.  Shared labor means shared sweat.  Shared wealth by robbery comes with shared robbery.  Shared robbery means shared consequences.  Proverbs 11:21, “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.”

Before leaving verse 14, I can’t help but notice the connection this passage has with Acts 2, which is the birth of the Church.  Both passages offer an invitation - one to join a crowd of sinners, the other to join a crowd of saints.  Both passages offer a place of fellowship - one with a group of sinners, the other with a group of saints.  Both passages speak of a shared purse - one with a group of evildoers, the other with a group of believers.  The purse of thieves in Proverbs 1 is preceded by the slaying of the innocent while the purse of believers in Acts 2 is preceded by the saving of the guilty.  The purse of thieves is increased by theft while the purse of believers is increased by giving.  The purse of thieves was created for the purpose of taking from the innocent while the purse of believers was created for the purpose of giving to those in need.  The connection between the two passages doesn’t teach us that there is anything fundamentally wrong with sharing the purse; it only teaches us that there is something very wrong with sharing the purse with the covetous because shared spoils comes with shared responsibility and criminality.

Take heed with whom you share a purse with. The character of the person holding the other string to the bag matters.        

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