15 my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; 16 for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood. 17 How useless to spread a net in full view of all the birds! 18 These men lie in wait for their own blood; they waylay only themselves! 19 Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it.
Verse 15 starts with “My son,” again reminding us that a parental figure is guiding those that would listen. Parents were so VERY important in God’s plan. He calls himself a “father,” and His original plan called for a “father” that was a male figure in charge of the family, but so full of love that a child could trust that his/her “father” would only teach and make wise decisions in guiding that child through childhood and into young adulthood.
The warning is continuing to talk about the “evil friends” that are trying to turn the young or immature person into paths that would lead to destruction:
Matthew 7:12-14 (New King James Version) Warning to stay on the “narrow” path
12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. 13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
The verse warns against even putting a foot on that slippery slope of a path. Things seem to speed up… “feet RUSH to sin…” and “they are SWIFT to shed blood.”
Verse 17 says, “How useless to spread a net in full view of all the birds!” This is talking about people who set up snares for wild birds or animals. The point is, most hunters don’t set up a trap WHILE THE CREATURE IS WATCHING, for this would be stupid… if the animal KNOWS about the trap, it would have to be a pretty STUPID animal to walk right on into it. Unfortunately, there are a few animals that will still do that, and this is talking about people that follow these stupid animal’s lead.
Verse 18 and 19 goes on to say, that the foolish people that do evil, “waylay only themselves…” Sooner or later (and it might not be until they have to explain themselves to God) they will pay the price for their sins. They WILL end up losing their lives. THIS is the end of “all who go after ill-gotten gain.” This father wants to warn the young person about this path BEFORE he starts down it, as our Father GOD wants us to be warned.