A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bore him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Proverbs 17:25-26. A foolish son, &c. — This was said before, Proverbs 15:20, and elsewhere; but he here repeats it, as a point of great moment and constant use, and as a powerful motive to oblige both children to conduct themselves wisely and dutifully toward their parents, as they would not be thought to be unnatural and inhuman, and parents to educate their children prudently and religiously, at least for their own comfort, if not for the public good. Also to punish, &c. — The particle also, here, seems to have relation to the foregoing sentence, and to imply that, as it is a very evil thing for children to cause grief to their parents, so is it also to do what here follows. To punish the just is not good — For parents, princes, or rulers, (to whom alone this power belongs,) to punish innocent and good men, is highly evil and abominable; nor to strike princes for equity — Nor to smite magistrates, either with the hand or tongue, for the execution of justice, as condemned persons are apt to do. But some learned interpreters read this clause, Nor for princes to strike any man for equity, or for doing his duty, or what is just. The Hebrew will very well bear this reading, and it agrees better with the former clause than that which our translators have adopted. Besides that it belongs properly to princes, or magistrates, to punish or strike.Proverbs 17:21. Here is added a reference to the sorrow which the folly of a child brings especially to the mother. Proverbs 15:20, and elsewhere; but he here repeats it as a point of great moment and constant use, and as a powerful motive to oblige both children to carry themselves wisely and dutifully to their parents, as they would not be thought to be unnatural or inhuman, and parents to educate their children prudently and religiously, at least for their own comfort, if not for the public good.
and bitterness to her that bare him; a cause of bitterness of soul to his mother, more distressing than the bitter pains with which she brought him forth into the world. Jarchi, by the father, understands the blessed God; and by her that bare him, the congregation of Israel; to whom Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, was bitterness, who caused Israel to sin; see Proverbs 10:1.A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 25. - This verse is more or less a repetition of ver. 21; Proverbs 10:1; Proverbs 15:20; and comp. Proverbs 19:13. A grief (kaas). The Vulgate and Septuagint translate, "anger." A foolish son provokes the wrath of his father, and is bitterness to her that bare him, "Bitterness" (memer) oesurs nowhere else; mar and marar are common enough.
He who maketh high his doors seeketh destruction.
A synthetic distich. Bttcher finds the reason of the pairing of these two lines in the relationship between a mouth and a door (cf. Micah 7:6, פּתחי פיך). Hitzig goes further, and supposes that 19b figuratively expresses what boastfulness brings upon itself. Against Geier, Schultens, and others, who understand פּתחו directly of the mouth, he rightly remarks that הגדּיל פה is not heard of, and that הגדּיל פה taht dn would be used instead. But the two lines harmonize, without this interchangeable reference of os and ostium. Zanksucht [quarrelsomeness] and Prunksucht [ostentation] are related as the symptoms of selfishness. But both bear their sentence in themselves. He who has pleasure in quarrelling has pleasure in evil, for he commits himself to the way of great sinning, and draws others along with him; and he who cannot have the door of his house high enough and splendid enough, prepares thereby for himself, against his will, the destruction of his house. An old Hebrew proverb says, כל העוסק בבנין יתמסכן, aedificandi nimis studiosus ad mendicitatem redigitur. Both parts of this verse refer to one and the same individual, for the insanum aedificandi studium goes only too often hand in hand with unjust and heartless litigation.
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