Proverbs 17:2

A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.
– Proverbs 17:2

While possible, a servant rarely advanced beyond being a servant. A wise servant could merit reward (Proverbs 14:35). The emphasis of the proverb is on the son that causeth shame. He is disinherited because of his foolishness and shall see the servant advance beyond him (Proverbs 11:29). Proverbs has many warnings to foolish sons and the consequences of their folly (Proverbs 10:5; 19:26).

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Proverbs 13:1

Chapter 13 continues the first section of the Proverbs of Solomon. The proverbs in this chapter mainly have a two-line antithetical structure. The proverbs in this chapter touch on words, or speech, wealth and poverty, pride, parenting, and wisdom generally.

A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.
– Proverbs 13:1

Training in wisdom begins at home with one’s parents. The word for instruction means discipline and so includes correction. A wise son is characterized as one who receives instruction and correction, which sets him at odds with a fool (Proverbs 15:5). The contrast is with a scorner, which is the hardest form of a fool, or the final progression of the fool. A scorner despises correction and hates those who try to correct him (Proverbs 9:7-8; 15:12). The word for rebuke means a chiding and is stronger than in the first phrase. The tenor of the proverb is that a son who chafes at the discipline of his father at home is on his way to becoming a scorner. Scorners ultimately find themselves scorned by God at the last (Proverbs 3:34).

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Proverbs 10:5

He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.
– Proverbs 10:5

This proverb contrasts hard work and slothfulness, which is a common theme throughout the Proverbs. Rather than focusing on diligence and abundance contrasted with slothfulness and poverty, this proverb focuses on the effects a son has on his parents. A wise son brings joy (Proverbs 15:20) and a foolish son brings grief (Proverbs 17:25). Looking a little deeper at the proverb, we see the core of it is not so much about industry versus laziness as it is wisdom. The summer and the harvest are seasons that require certain things to be done. The wise son gathers because he discerns the season and is diligent at the appropriate time. The shameful son either doesn’t discern the time or carelessly sleeps, both bringing shame.

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Proverbs 4:3

For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
– Proverbs 4:3

Solomon acknowledges his own experience in learning wisdom from his father and mother. He was once the tender-eyed pupil of his father and now he is the wizened father. We infer from this the duty of wisdom we have to learn it and to teach it to our children. This is the ideal of the law (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Psalms 145:4).

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