chapter
1 Pages

ofinterpellation

about

The first speech that is addressed to the son is precisely about how to resist interpellation by a rival discourse ("My son, if sinners try to persuade you, do not consent," v. 10). Because the discourse of the "sinners" is presented by the father, their alleged speech is really completely controlled by the father. In fact the sinners' speech is crowded with negative markers: they are made to describe their own victims as "innocent" (v. 12a). Their metaphor for themselves is that of death itself, Sheol swallowing up life (v. 12b). They act gratuitously, "for the hell of it" (Heb./pinnam) v. 11). Assuming, with many commentators, that verse 16 is a late marginal comment drawn from Isaiah 59:7, the father follows an interesting rhetorical strategy in soliciting the son's agreement to his point ofview. He first reiterates his admonition (v. 15) and then poses a challenge: "in vain is the net spread in full view of the bird" (v. 17). The wise son, the reader who can "deconstruct" the discourse of the sinners, won't be trapped in their net of words. Since the self-incriminating elements of the hypothetical speech are hard to miss, the reader enjoys a moment of self-congratulation, a moment that bonds the reader closer to the father. The father then confirms the reader's judgment in verse 18, making explicit the self-destructive quality of the sinners.