Times of misfortune are also likened to the unexpected and inescapable nature of a trap: “Makeover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them” (Eccles 9:12). These harsh times could be the product of their own making, as in the case of the exile of God’s people from the Promised Land that entrapped them (Isa 42:22; Lam 4:20; Ezek 19:8).

As hunters used trapping mechanisms to capture animals, so the wicked ruthlessly pursued the righteous in a bid to surprised them with traps and ensnare them. This image is particularly evident in the Psalms: “The arrogant have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path” (Ps 140:5). “Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me, may ruin overtake them by surprise-may the net they hid entangle them, and may they fall into the pit, to their ruin” (Psa 35:7-8; read also 31:4; 57:6; 64:5; 119:85; 141:9; 142:3; Jer 5:26; 9:8; 18:20).

Finally, we come to those topics to which we give little thought in our daily life: death and the arrival of the end times. Death can be just like a snare hidden along the path of life. We stroll along with our attention given to so many other things when the cords of the grave coil around us and we are confronted by the snares of death (Ps 18:5). Along the way we do well to live cautiously, avoiding behaviors and attitudes that are unhelpful to our eternal cause, because the last day will “close on you suddenly like trap” (Luke 21:34).

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