Proverbs 19:18

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
– Proverbs 19:18

The word for chasten means to chastise, or to discipline. It can be used literally in terms of corporal punishment or figuratively in terms of instruction and verbal correction. The intention seems to be to include the whole range of meaning in the rearing of children, both the rod and instruction. This proverb speaks of discipline in terms of hope and opportunity. Wisdom teaches that discipline must take place early, or soon when needed (Proverbs 13:24). This wisdom word is to parents. Folly is already there and doesn’t have to be added (Proverbs 22:15). Neglect by the parents, or laziness, leaves no hope and misses the opportunity (Proverbs 23:13-14; 29:15). The word for hope means expectation. While we cannot make our children be wise, we can correct their folly and instruct them in wisdom. There is hope in doing so (Proverbs 29:17).

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Proverbs 17:6

Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
– Proverbs 17:6

This proverb highlights generational blessings that come with wisdom (Proverbs 10:1; 15:20). The cutting off of family is a curse to the wicked (Psalm 109:13-15). The blessed man has family that brings joy and honor (Psalm 127:1-5; 128:1-6).

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Proverbs 13:24

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
– Proverbs 13:24

This proverb speaks directly and plainly to parents rearing children. More modern times turns the words upside down to make them opposite their intended meaning. The contrast is between love and hate and sparing and chastening. Love and hate are not to be understood only in terms of emotion and sentiment. They are meant to speak to actions. The word for rod means a branch or stick and it is an instrument of correction (Proverbs 10:13; 19:18; 22:15; 29:15, 17). To spare the rod is to withhold correction and it is a hateful action toward the child because they are not being trained. The word for betimes means early and points to early in life and maybe also early in the sense of being quick to give needed corrections. The motive of correction should always be the child’s good (Hebrews 12:5-11) and should not be done in anger or severity (Ephesians 6:4).

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Proverbs 10:1

Chapter 10 begins the second major section in the book of Proverbs and also begins what we think of as proper proverbs. It is a collection of wise sayings in memorable form, usually a two-line, parallel structure. Chapters 10-22 are the “Proverbs of Solomon,” containing 375 proverbs and they divide into two major divisions. Chapters 10-15 have an antithetical parallel structure, meaning they are formed by two lines that contrast. They often contrast the good and the bad. There are 185 proverbs in these chapters. Chapters 16-22 contain 190 proverbs that have a synthetic parallel structure, meaning the two lines compare similar things or the second line continues the first. These proverbs often compare the good with the better or the bad with the worse.

There is no obvious order or topical arrangement to the proverbs in this collection. These proverbs speak to various subjects, such as speech, ethics, learning, wealth, relationships, etc. The change in style between the two sections is discernible, indicating a deliberate arrangement, but there is no further structure apparent. These proverbs are inspired sayings of Divine wisdom that apply the law to the individual person.

The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son in the heaviness of his mother.
– Proverbs 10:1

The first phrase is the title, or heading, of this section. This first proverb is a two-line contrast. The first line has a wise son and a glad father. The second line has a foolish son and a grieved mother, as heaviness indicates. This proverb also illustrates the multi-layered meaning of proverbs in general. The more we meditate on them as we go through life, the richer they become to us.

The obvious teaching on the face of the proverb is that a wise child is a blessing and cause of joy to his parents. The contrast is that a foolish child brings shame and grief to his parents. There is instruction both to children and to parents. The proverb gives encouragement and warning to children to keep the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12), which is the first with promise (Ephesians 6:1-3). The proverb also gives the same to parents, because it is the responsibility of parents to properly instruct their children and in so doing or neglecting they will bring themselves blessing or grief (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Proverbs 22:6; 23:15-16, 24-25).

This proverb is also one sample, or type, of the broader category of human relationships. We are connected to others and the choices we make and the way we go affects others in our sphere. Though each individual has to seek wisdom and to keep the wisdom they find, that doesn’t happen in a vacuum without any connection to others around us. Whether we pursue wisdom or not will affect husbands, wives, parents, children, extended family, neighbors, co-workers, etc.

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Proverbs 5:17

Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.
– Proverbs 5:17

A husband and wife in a faithful marriage have a just claim to one another and their children. This is the blessed condition and highly esteemed in Scripture (Psalm 128:1-6). Lifelong faithful marriage builds a posterity for the blessing of seeing your children’s children. Finding a faithful wife is choosing the path of blessing and building. Pursuing the strange woman is choosing the path of destitution and destruction.

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Proverbs 5:16

Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
– Proverbs 5:16

Expositors are divided over whether this verse should be taken negatively as a warning against promiscuity, or positively as extolling the blessing of faithful marriage. I take the latter view because of the immediate context. Verses 15-19 are extolling the blessings of faithful marriage, while verses 20-23 close the chapter with warnings and consequences against the strange woman.

Fountains and rivers in this verse are both the result, or product of a source. A fountain is a spring, or the stream issuing from a spring. The river or channel of water is also the result of flow from a source. The contrast remains between the commonality of the strange woman and her affairs and the privacy and committedness of the faithful wife. A faithful marriage results in the offspring of children and the building of a stable family that is a proper focus of time and energy. Liaison with the strange woman will dissipate and waste a man.

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