Chasten your son while there is hope, and let not your soul spare for his crying.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And let not thy soul spare for his crying.—Or, but set not thy soul on his destruction. Do not go so far as to kill him in thy zeal for his good, or despair of his amendment. (Comp. Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21.) It may also signify “do not let him perish for want of chastisement,” as Proverbs 23:13 is also explained.Proverbs 19:18. Chasten thy son while there is hope — Before custom in sin, and thy indulgence have made him hard-hearted and incorrigible; and let not thy soul spare for his crying — Forbear not to give him due and necessary correction, through a foolish and destructive pity, excited by his tears and cries; for it is better he should cry under thy rod, than under the sword of the magistrate, or, which is more to be feared, that of divine vengeance.
Crying - Better, as in the margin, Do not set thy soul on his destruction; words which either counsel forbearance in the act of chastisement (compare Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21); or urge that a false clemency is a real cruelty. The latter sense is preferable. The father is warned that to forbear from chastising is virtually to expose the son who needs it to a far worse penalty.
let not … spare—literally, "do not lift up thy soul" (Ps 24:4; 25:1), that is, do not desire to his death; a caution to passionate parents against angry chastisement.While there is hope; before custom in sin, and thy indulgence, hath made him hard-hearted and incorrigible.
Let not thy soul spare, forbear not to give him due and necessary correction,
for his crying, which oft stirs up a foolish and pernicious pity in parents towards them. This word, with some small difference in the points, is used in this sense Isaiah 24:11. Or, as it is in the margin, to his destruction, intimating that this is a cruel pity, and a likely way to expose him to that death threatened to stubborn sons, Deu 21:18,21. But this clause is, and may be, rendered otherwise, yet or but do not lift up thy soul (which signifies a vehement desire, Deu 24:15 Psalm 25:1 Jeremiah 44:14; let not thy passion or eager desire of chastening him transport thee so far as) to cause him to die, i.e. use moderation in this work.
and let not thy soul spare for his crying; the noise he makes, the tears he sheds, the entreaties he uses to keep off the rod; let not a foolish pity and tenderness prevail to lay it aside on that account the consequence of which may be bad to parent and child; see Proverbs 13:24. The Targum is,
"but unto his death do not lift up thy soul;''
or to the slaying of him (t), as the Vulgate Latin version; and this sense Jarchi gives into: and then the meaning is, that though parents should be careful to give due correction to their children, so long as there is hope of doing them good, yet not in a brutal and barbarous manner, to the endangering of their lives: as some parents are too indolent, mild, and gentle, as Eli was; others are too wrathful and furious and use no moderation in their corrections, but unmercifully beat their children; such extremes ought to be avoided. Gersom interprets the word of crying, as we do.Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. while] R.V. seeing: i.e. for if done now it will not be too late.
let not thy soul spare for his crying] Rather, set not thy heart on his destruction, R.V.; lit. on causing him to die. This might mean, let not thy passionate and excessive correction kill or injure him; as LXX., Vulg. and Maurer (sed cave occidas inter castigandum), and Coverdale, “but let not thy soul be moved to slay him”; but it is better to understand it of the result of withholding correction: be not bent by thy foolish indulgence on ruining him. So A.V. marg., “Let not thy soul spare to his destruction, or to cause him to die.” Comp. 1 Kings 2:6; and Sir 30:1.Verse 18. - Chasten thy son while there is hope; or. seeing that there is hope. Being still young and impressionable, and not confirmed in bad habits, he may be reformed by judicious chastisement. The same expression occurs in Job 11:18; Jeremiah 31:16. "For so he shall be well hoped of" (εὔελπις), Septuagint (comp. Proverbs 23:13). And let not thy soul spare for his crying. "It is better," says a German apothegm, "that the child weep than the father." But the rendering of the Authorized Version is not well established, and this second clause is intended to inculcate moderation in punishment. Vulgate, Ad interfectionem autem ejus ne ponas animam tuam; Revised Version. Set not thine heart on his destruction. Chastise him duty and sufficiently, but not so heavily as to occasion his death, which a father had no right to do. The Law enjoined the parents who had an incorrigibly bad son to bring him before the judge or the eiders, who alone had the power of life and death, and might in certain cases order the offender to be stoned (Deuteronomy 21:18, etc.). Christianity recommended moderation in punishment (see Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21). Septuagint, "Be not excited in the mind to despiteful treatment (εἰς ὕβριν);" i.e. be not led away by passion to unseemly acts or words, but reprove with gentleness, while you are firm and uncompromising in denouncing evil. This is much the same advice as that given by the apostle in the passages just cited.
And as dew on plants is his favour.
Line 1 is a variation of Proverbs 20:2; line 2a of Proverbs 16:15. זעף is not the being irritated against another, but generally ill-humour, fretfulness, bad humour; the murmuring or growling in which this state of mind expresses itself is compared to that of a lion which, growling, prepares and sets itself to fall upon its prey (vid., Isaiah 5:29, cf. Amos 3:4). Opposed to the זעף stands the beneficial effect of the רצון, i.e., of the pleasure, the delight, the satisfaction, the disposition which shows kindness (lxx τὸ ἱλαρὸν αὐτοῦ). In the former case all are afraid; in the latter, everything lives, as when the refreshing dew falls upon the herbs of the field. The proverb presents a fact, but that the king may mirror himself in it.
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