Proverbs 1:17

Proverbs 1:17 "Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird."

For the first time in his collection of proverbs, Solomon references the animal kingdom.  When God gifted Solomon with wisdom, He gave the king insight regarding God, man and creature.  Each of his three books of the Bible include healthy references to Nature. From the beginning, wise men like Job have used the creatures of Nature to illustration basic but important truths. Solomon, the wisest of all men, made it one of his hobbies to observe Nature in order to enhance his teaching and counsel.  He knew the animal kingdom of his country well and undoubtedly learned much of the world’s animal kingdom through his travels and through his imported personal zoo (1 Kings 10:22).  Nature held a special place in Solomon’s mind and in his writings.  1 Kings 4:33, “He spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowls, and of creeping things, and of fishes.”

It should be of no surprise that the first member of the animal kingdom that Solomon used as an illustration for his young son was the bird.  Given the size and simplicity of the bird, there may be no greater contrast to the wisdom that Solomon had made as the theme of his book.  In Job 35:11, Elihu spoke the obvious truth that God made man “wiser than the fowls of heaven.”  Solomon seized that truth and used it as an illustration of how foolish a man would be to consent to the sinners he had been exposing in chapter one.  For six verses, this animal lover had been describing the strategy of the sinful.  He had exposed statements and phrases that the wicked would use to lure the simple into their mischievous plans.  For six verses, this bird-watcher had essentially described the net sinners use to catch their prey, those they would then use to help them do evil.

With the net of the wicked exposed, the young reader should be able to easily identify the danger that awaited him if he walked into that enticing net.  And before any young man contemplated joining sinners, Solomon provided a visual to consider; an illustration to remember.  He wanted his audience to see an ignorant creature with a small brain had enough sense to avoid an obvious threat.  The Wise Zookeeper painted a quick picture of a fowler spreading a net in the sight of any bird only to see that bird fly away and easily avoid the fowler’s attempt to catch it.  The Wise Bird-watcher told his young audience that it would be a waste of time and effort for anyone looking to catch a bird to spread the net in its sight.  No bird would be so foolish to walk into such an obvious threat. 

The young person who hears a moral sales pitch containing statements similar to that which Solomon detailed in this passage is in the same spot a bird would be in if a fowler spread a net before its little eyes.  If that young person doesn’t flee with haste, then his foolishness is even greater than that of an ignorant bird.  The young person who consents to the crowd that spreads its net before him is deemed by Solomon to be worse than a “bird-brain.” 

Birds, according to Solomon, get into trouble because of their hastiness.  To catch a bird, a fowler must take it by surprise because even a bird has enough sense to avoid what it can see is designed to trap it.  Solomon was writing a book for his son so that his son wouldn’t be taken by surprise.  He was equipping his son to be able to identify threats awaiting him in a dangerous world.  This illustration is not an illustration of identification of a threat; it was an illustration of avoiding the threat.  It wasn’t good enough to give Rehoboam the tools to identify a moral threat; he would need the tools to ultimately avoid that moral threat.  Giving knowledge was only one of Solomon’s goals.  Giving wisdom was the ultimate goal and wisdom is taking the knowledge available and making the right decision.

Solomon’s first illustration in the animal kingdom was a poster on the walls of Rehoboam’s mind intending to motivate him to rise above the common sense of a mere bird.  Proverbs 1:17 is a visual every man, woman, boy and girl should remember when facing an obvious moral threat.  May it motivate us to be wiser than a bird and may it deter us from becoming more foolish than a “bird-brain.”





Rehoboam Solomon fear of God health pride self-sufficiency wisdom 1 Corinthians 2020 5th Commandment Aaron Abigail Abraham Absalom Acts 17 Adam Adolescence Adulterer Adulteress Affair Age Ahijah Ahithophel Amnon Apple of Eye Arrogance Asaph Athletes Backbone Back Bathsheba Bedroom Beecher Benefit Benjamin Bezaleel Bible reading Bible teacher Bible Biblical instruction Birth Bonar Bondage Boyfriend Building CA Rt 1 Cable News Calamity Calvin Canaan Careers Character Christian upbringing Christ Churches Clamor Clinton Clothes Clothing College Conception Contrast Conversation Corinthians Corrupt Cosigner Cosigning Courting Creation Creator Crooked Curiosity Danger Daniel Dating Daughters David Death Delilah Deuteronomy Devil Diligent Discovery Dishonor Divorce Drink Drunk Early Adulthood Ecclesiastes Economic Stability Eden Elderly Elihu Elijah Emerson Engagement Enoch Ephesians Ephraimites Esau Esther Evening Eve Experience Fashion Favor of God Fearing God Financial Security Fingers Food Foolish Freedom Friendships Friend Galatians Gender Differences Genesis Gideon Gileadites Girlfriend Glad Godhead Goliath Gossip Grandchildren Gratitude Guns Hagar Haman Hannah Harlot Hate Evil Heaven Hebrews History Holy Spirit Homicide House Hypocrisy Immorality Inherit Insight Instructing Internet Interview Inventions Isaac Israel Jacob James Jealousy Jeremiah Jeroboam Jerusalem Jesus Christ Jesus Jewish Law Jewish Jobs Job Jonah Joseph Joshua Josiah Joy Judah Judaism Judas Iscariot Judges Judgmental King David Kings Language Learn Liar Life Lesson Lion Look Love Triangle Luke 7 Luther Lying Mark Marvel Mary Matthew Media Men Mocking Moody Morality Morning Moses Naughtiness Nehemiah New Tricks Noah Nobles Numbers O.J. Simpson Old Dogs Parenting Passion Pastors Paul the Apostle Paul Perversion Peter Pleasure Polygamy Popularity Potiphar's Wife Potiphar\'s Wife Prate Prating Pregnancy Pregnant Princes Principal Thing Principal Procrastinate Procrastinator Profit Prophecy Prophet Prostitute Protests Proverbs Proverb Psalm 35 Psalms Psalm Punishment Purity Purpose Rage Rehoboam Rehoboma Relationship Remember Reprove Reputation Resume Resurrection Revealing Rich Ridicule Road Rulers Rules Sadness Samson Samuel Satan Saul Scam Scripture Sea of Galilee Seasons Self-Confidence Selfishness Shame Shenandoah Valley Shoe Laces Silence Simon Peter Simon Social Media Solomon Song of Solomon Sons Sorrow Speak Speech Steal Strange Woman Strength Stress Surely Surety Talkative Talking Tamar Taylor Teachers Teaching Teenagers Teens Theft Timothy Toddlers Tolerance Treasure Trickery Trinity True Love True Wisdom Turner Understanding Universities Vehicle Vengeance Virtuous Walk Watsom Way Winking Wink Witnessing Womb Women Work Ethic YouTube Zechariah addiction adultery advertisements advertiser advertising advice advisor affection affirmation aggression alcohol amos angels anointing ant anxiety appetite argument assumption as attractions authority background backyard bankrupt battle beginning birds bitterness blessed brain bright broken nose buckler cardinal sins career carelessness car cause certainty charity chastening childhood childrearing children child choices church attendance church command confidence confident consequences considerate contention contentment conversaion correction counselor counsel covetousness criticism cruelty cynicism dads dad darkness dark daughter debt deception decisions defend defense demands destruction determination diamonds diligence direction disappointment discernment discipleship disciples disciple discipline discontentment discord discretion distractions distress doctrine dogs drinking drugs dying ear education effort emotions employment enemies enticement enticing envy equity evil communications evil men evil women evil example eyelids eyes ezekiel facts failure fairness faith family fathers father favor fear of God fear feelings feminine fighting fight filthy finances flattery focus following foolishness foolishnes fools fool forgiveness fornication friends future gambling gender gold good men good government grace greed guard guilt happiness happy harm hate headlights health heart hear holiness home honor hope hunger husbands husband ignorance illustration income inequality infidelity influence iniquity insomnia instincts instruction intimacy investigation isaiah issued issue jewelry judgment justice just kidnapper kidney kids knowledge labor law of sowing and reaping laziness lazy leadership learning legacy length of days lessons let life light lips listening listen little liver living loans loneliness long life love lucifer lust man marketing marriage math memorization memory mercy millions mind ministry mischief misery mistakes mom money mothers mother motive mouth movies nature necklace neck neighbor obscenity observant oil oppression oppressor organs ornaments parable paranoia parenthood parents parent pastoring path peace peer pressure peers peer permission personification pleasant politician ponder pornography pottymouth poverty power prayer preservation pride priests private procrastination prodigal profanity prosperity prostitution protection protect prudence public restroom purchases reading reaping reason rebellion rebuke regret rejection relate relationships relevant remedy remembrance remorse repetition replacement reproof respect responsibility responsible retain retention riches righteousness righteous risk robber romance rubies safety sailor salvation schools scorner secret security seduction seeing see self-sufficiency self-sufficient serpent seven deadly sins seven sexist sexual sin sex silver simple simplicity sinners sin skepticism slander sleeplessness sleep son soul sowing spleen stability stranger strange strife striving successful success suicide talents talk taxes teacher television temptation tendencies thief thieves thinking think thoughtfulness thoughts thought threats time tithe tree of life trust truth tv vehicles vice video games violence violent virtue virtuous woman visual voice of God voice vulgar walking war wealth well wickedness wicked wife will wine wisdom wise sayings wise wives woman word of God words work worry young man young people young youth