Proverbs 1:8

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
– Proverbs 1:8

Verse 7 made plain there are two ways of life—wisdom and folly. The foundation for wisdom is the fear of the Lord. The first major section of proverbs begins here in verse 8 and runs through chapter 9. It could generally be titled, “A Father’s Instruction to Seek and Find Wisdom for Life.”

The admonition is to hear. The same word is used in verse 5 and means to hear intelligently. It means to listen attentively. The son is admonished to hear the instruction and law of his father and mother. Not only is he to hear, but he is also not to forsake his mother’s law. Forsake conveys the thought of casting off in the sense rejecting. It is a more deliberate action than simply forgetting or neglecting.

There are various layers to this verse, so we will consider just a couple. Instruction means discipline and can refer to training and correction. It encompasses the whole life training received from parents. A degree of humility is enjoined upon the son. He must acknowledge the greater wisdom of father and mother and submit to it, rather than rejecting it. The verse also hints to the fact that the son will encounter other ways, which will compel him. That is made plain in verse 10 and throughout this section. As he is assailed by other ways of folly, he is to cling to the wisdom of father and mother.

Lastly, the picture presented is neither of parental infallibility nor of lifelong spoon-feeding of children by their parents. The essence of wisdom is discernment and when coupled with the fear of God, leads to discerning the way of righteousness. The earnest desire and plea for the father is for the son to grow in wisdom. He wants him to mature and come to the full stature of a man not blown about by every wind of philosophy. This is plain in places like Proverbs 4:7 and Proverbs 2:1-5.

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