Day 10: A wise son (10:1)
“The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother”
As we begin to break down “the proverbs of Solomon”, it is worth bearing in mind two related themes that occur several times in what follows. The first is the pre-occupation of the father (and the mother too) to instil wisdom in his son. Proverbs has a lot to say on hopes for and expectations of sons and on principles such as bringing up children, which we will return to. For now, consider this practical and consequential aspect: “he that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame” (10:5). Our second theme is the notion of “righteous”, which is, it is hoped, the hallmark of how a son would live his life from that point on, and is something that those of us who are Christian parents might and should want of our children, above all, to be.
The words “righteousness” (Hebrew tsedaqah), “righteous” (Hebrew tsaddiq) carries with them the meaning of blameless, innocence, justice, ethical conduct and is an important attribute of God and His expectation for people. The words appear 510 times in the Bible, 75 times in Proverbs and 10 times in this chapter, all in a positive context, such that we are left in no doubt as to its importance:
- Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death (10:2)
- The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked (10:3)
- The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked (10:11)
- The labour of the righteous tend to life: the fruit of the wicked sin (10:16)
- The lips of the righteous feed many: fools die for want of wisdom (10:21)
- The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted (10:24)
- As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation (10:25)
- The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish (10:28)
- The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth 10:30)
- The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness (10:32)
Prayer: we thank you for sons. Those of us who are parents, help us to bring them up well. Those of us who are sons, may we act wisely and righteously.