Proverbs 1:12 "Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:"
In trying to help his son pay more attention to father and mother, Solomon highlights the danger of succumbing to negative peer pressure. He describes evil peers with precision so as to give his son all of the insight necessary to recognize the crowd that poses the most risk to his life. First, he exposed their Approach as being one of enticement in verse ten. Secondly, he exposed their Aim as being the baseless harm of the innocent in verse eleven. Thirdly, Solomon exposed the Appetite of sinful peers as being ravenous in verse twelve. The exposure of these important details would give the young reader the knowledge necessary to identify & ultimately avoid an unsafe group of peers.
Let it be known to believers of all ages that we should avoid the group of people that have an insatiable appetite for wrongdoing against other people. The group of sinners in Proverbs 1 didn’t say that they wanted to cause some harm; they said they wanted to swallow up the innocent alive. The group of evildoers in Proverbs 1 didn’t say that they wanted to consume a portion of the innocent; they said they wanted to swallow them whole. There is a portion of this world’s population that has an appetite for cruelty that goes back to the beginning of mankind.
When reading Proverbs 1:12, it is hard not to think about the most sinister member of the animal kingdom. When considering the details of these young sinners, it is hard not to uncomfortably think about a slithering participant of Nature. When hearing the words of this gang of thugs, it is hard not to think about the mighty but eerie python. If its prey is harmless, the serpent will swallow it alive. If its prey is potentially harmful, the python will suffocate it before swallowing it alive. In either event, the gigantic serpent will swallow its prey whole. The python knows no limits and has no boundaries to consumption. It has been documented that these creepy creatures can swallow whole meals much bigger than what they need for food – pigs, goats, deer, dogs, crocodiles, hippos, cows and even people with a 25-year old man being swallowed whole this past March in Indonesia. In plenty of cases, the greedy appetite of the python gets it into mortal trouble.
Given the vocabulary of the sinful crowd in Proverb 1:12, let every believer beware of their appetite for evil just as you would beware of a 23-foot python in the wild. The language chosen by Solomon in the text should be of no surprise given the details of Genesis 3. The Garden of Eden was a beautiful place inhabited by two innocent souls, Mr. and Mrs. Adam. They were not alone, however, for in this Garden resided a sly guy in the form of a serpent. Satan, a.k.a. “That Old Serpent” (Revelation 20:2), laid wait for blood. The slippery serpent lurked privily for the innocent without cause. Adam & Eve did nothing to Satan; they did nothing to hurt or to offend him. Adam & Eve gave Satan no legitimate reason for him to seek their demise. But because he is the personification of sin, Satan sought to swallow Eve alive; he sought to swallow her whole. Like a mighty python, he stealthily approached her while she mused over the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Slowly and methodically, he wrapped his scales around her mind and captivated her thoughts with the possibility that God was holding her back from her full potential. Once she took the fruit, Satan was able to swallow her up alive and swallow her whole for it was at that moment that she spiritually died, just as God promised she would in Genesis 2:17.
Satan has an insatiable appetite. He wants to swallow man up alive as the grave, and whole, as those that go down into the pit. He is not interested in consuming a portion of the innocent person; he wants to consume the whole innocent person. Peter the Apostle tells us that Satan is seeking whom he may devour. He is the origin of sin and he is the father of the sinner that Solomon is exposing. Let us avoid this cruel club of serpents as we would a family of pythons. Let our young recognize their ravenous appetite for cruelty and refuse their enticement. Let us all be sober and vigilant knowing we have an adversary whose family of offspring also seeks to swallow up the innocent and the righteous whole.