A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.
Do you understand violence? The word “violence”? The concept of violence? There is much more to it than, for example, the 2013 sequel in 3D of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
Men love to categorize and rank sins to justify themselves, and this includes the word and concept of violence. Are you willing to let God and Solomon teach you wisdom here?
The context of this proverb has condemned an ungodly man for digging up evil about others and sharing it (Pr 16:27), a froward man for sowing strife, and a whisperer for separating close friends (Pr 16:28). The proverb at hand condemns a violent man.
Violence may certainly mean the use of physical force to cause bodily harm, to destroy property, or to interfere with personal freedom. However, violence may also mean other harm to people, such as corrupting their morals and leading them to do something wrong.
Both kinds of violence are wrong. Persons capable of either kind should be avoided. The methods of such men should be explained, identified, and condemned. Those who seek to hurt others in any way are wicked and should be clearly marked as dangerous to men.
Violent people are not content being violent themselves – they entice others to join them in their abuse and injury of others, whether bodily or morally (Pr 1:10-19). They use all sorts of invitations and justifications to convince the gullible to join them in their sins.
The result is “the way that is not good.” This is the figure of speech called meiosis or litotes: intentionally understating a thing (Pr 17:26; 18:5). Literally, violent people lead men to folly and wickedness, a result considerably worse than merely “not good.” God drowned the earth with the Flood for corrupting His way on the earth (Gen 6:11-13).
Consider an example. So-called family planning counselors advise women to abort their babies. These are violent persons in the bodily harm sense – they want to shed innocent blood, so they entice foolish women with premeditated lies to help murder their babies.
What about a young man using, “I love you,” to steal a girl’s virginity? Has he done her violence? He has reduced her value, and she can never get it back (Deut 21:14; 22:24,29). He did it by enticement, and he led her into fornication – another way that is not good.
The Bible speaks of marital violence when divorce laws are used to get rid of a covenant spouse to pursue someone else (Mal 2:16). God hates abuse of divorce laws to get out of a right marriage or to get into another – He calls it marital treachery (Mal 2:10-16).
The Bible speaks of violence to God’s law (Zep 3:4). False teachers that abuse scripture fit the proverb perfectly (Mal 2:7-8). Of course, they use enticing words to prey on the gullible, especially women (Rom 16:17-18; II Tim 3:6-7). Paul feared the churches at Ephesus and Corinth would fall to their enticements (Acts 20:28-31; II Cor 11:1-4).
Let the breadth of this proverb sober you – sexual health advisors, a hot date with a cool guy, marriage counselors suggesting divorce, and popular pastors teaching false doctrine. Can you identify them? Have you marked them? Do you reject and avoid these and other evil seducers (II Tim 3:13; Gal 1:6-9)? Are you guilty of any of their violence?
Rather than the corrupt ways of evil seducers of any kind, look for the old paths and the good way, where you can please God and find rest for your soul (Jer 6:16). How can you find such ways? In God’s written word the Bible, which you should use to judge everything you hear, no matter how enticing it might sound (Ps 119:128; Isaiah 8:20).
Let the words of Jesus Christ keep you in the right way, never measuring by popularity, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt 7:13-14).