There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
– Proverbs 14:12
[T]he word for right means straight and level. It can also express moral uprightness. When taken with the contrasting phrase, it refers to an apparent good way to good ends. Obviously, the way seems good because the man will not listen to wisdom (Proverbs 12:15). The end refers to the outcome or even the reward. The word for death means death in a natural or penal sense. It can refer to the state of death or can symbolize ruin. Taken here as a symbol, death speaks to the complete ruin of the plans of the man on the way that seemed right. In other words, it is not that he might find a little disappointment but complete ruin. More bluntly, the word indicates the ultimate destination of fools who refuse wisdom but go in the way of folly (Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:24).