Listen to your father that begat you, and despise not your mother when she is old.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Proverbs 23:22-25. Hearken unto thy father that begat thee — And who, therefore, desires and seeks thy good in all his counsels; and despise not thy mother when she is old — When the infirmity of age is added to that of her sex, which is apt to produce contempt. Buy the truth — Purchase a true and saving knowledge of God, and his will concerning thy salvation, upon any terms; spare no pains nor cost to obtain it; and sell it not — Do not forget it, nor forsake it for any worldly advantages, as unthinking backsliders frequently do; also wisdom and understanding — Whereby thou mayest be enabled to love and practice the truths known and received. The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice — “For there is no greater joy a parent can have than to see his son take virtuous ways; which, as it is the only wisdom, so it gives both parents and children the highest pleasure and satisfaction.” Thy father and thy mother shall be glad — “Let not thy father and mother then want this singular pleasure; but, by thy well-doing, fill the heart of her that bare thee with joy and triumph; who, for all the pains and care she hath had in thy birth, and about thy education, desires no other requital but only this.” — Bishop Patrick. Thus Solomon twice urges the same consideration, as a powerful argument to prevail with all children, that are not void of natural affection, to labour to be wise and good, that so they may rejoice the hearts of their parents, to whom they are under such high and indelible obligations.
despise … old—Adults revere the parents whom, as children, they once obeyed.That begat thee; and therefore desires and seeks thy good in all his counsels.
When she is old; when the infirmity of age is added to that of her sex, which is apt to breed contempt.
and despise not thy mother when she is old; despise not her counsels, instructions, and advice, though she is old; and because she is so, do not reject them as old wives' fables, or as the silly talk of an old woman, as young men are too apt to do.Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verses 22-25. - An octastich, containing an earnest exhortation to the disciple. Verse 22. - That begat thee. This is a claim on the attention and obedience of the son. When she is old. When old age with its consequent infirmities comes upon thy mother, despise her not, but rather thank God for giving her long life, and profit by her love and long experience (comp. Ecclus. 3:1, etc., where the exhortation to honour parents is very full and touching).
15 My son, if thine heart becometh wise,
My heart also in return will rejoice;
16 And my reins will exult
If thy lips speak right things.
Wisdom is inborn in no one. A true Arab. proverb says, "The wise knows how the fool feels, for he himself was also once a fool;"
(Note: The second part of the saying is, "But a fool knows not how a wise man feels, for he has never been a wise man." I heard this many years ago, from the mouth of the American missionary Schaufler, in Constantinople.)
and folly is bound up in the heart of a child, according to Proverbs 22:15, which must be driven out by severe discipline. 15b, as many others, cf. Proverbs 22:19, shows that these "words of the wise" are penetrated by the subjectivity of an author; the author means: if thy heart becomes wise, so will mine in return, i.e., corresponding to it (cf. גּם, Genesis 20:6), rejoice. The thought of the heart in Proverbs 23:15 repeats itself in Proverbs 23:16, with reference to the utterance of the mouth. Regarding מישׁרים, vid., Proverbs 1:5. Regarding the "reins," כּליות (perhaps from כּלה, to languish, Job 19:21), with which the tender and inmost affections are connected, vid., Psychologie, p. 268f.
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