Thoughts on the Proverbs
[Proverbs 13:21-24]

[Right Begets Good]

PROVERBS 13:21 -- "Sinners are the ones whom calamity pursues, but the righteous are the ones whom good rewards."

TRANS: AAT: ill fortune will dog sinners

CROSS REF: Genesis 4:7 = Cain; Romans 2:10 = good works

NOTE: If ever there were a Universal Principle this is it -- calamity befalls the lawbreakers and the righteous will be ultimately rewarded. But, even in this life dreadful things visit the sinful and the righteous are protected from such plagues that befall the immoral. (Romans 1:24-27) Righteousness is its own reward.

There is a difference between a righteous person and a good person. It is possible to be righteous but not good. Righteousness is a matter of obeying law. Goodness goes beyond this to become moral excellence. It may be illustrated this way: the righteous person sees the speed limit sign and does not go beyond. However, this does not require that the righteous person stopped to aid the hapless traveler. Whereas the good person, also obeying the law, could not pass a person in need without offering assistance.

[The Will and Testament of the Good]

PROVERBS 13:22 -- "One who is good will leave an inheritance to sons of sons, and the wealth of the sinner is something treasured up for the righteous one."

TRANS: LXX: a good man shall leave an inheritance to his children

CROSS REF: Proverbs 17:2 = brothers share; Proverbs 19:14 = wealth; Proverbs 20:21 = greed

NOTE: It seems 2 Corinthians 12:14 and the matter of parents "laying up" for the children ought to be cross referenced. There is an interesting conflict here which reflects the wine in the Old Jewish Bota with that in the New Christian Bota. Though the word "inheritance" occurs 246 times in the Bible. "Inheritance" occurs in Luke12:13 in the context of a warning about covetousness and appears very rarely in the Christian Bible. Jesus clearly taught his apostles (his "little flock") to leave, abandon and forsake their worldly things, even "sell all and give charity" at Luke 12:33 -- with the same spirit of divestiture in his parables at Matthew 13:4-46 -- so it becomes impossible, or at least very difficult, for the Nazarene saint to leave behind an "inheritance" to his children in any worldly sense. A godly inheritance may be a good name with which succeeding generations may be proud of. With Jesus it must be a spiritual heritage bequeathed to the sons of a serious disciple of the Nazarene. Jesus condemns those who refuse to "honor" their parents with those things the sons consider corban or religiously dedicated. (Mark 7:9-12) There could be no grander inheritance than a son having a father reign in the heavenly kingdom and having those blessings which accrue.

[Method Matters Most]

Proverbs 13:23 -- "Plowed ground of persons of little means [yields] a great deal of food, but there exists the one that is swept away for lack of judgment."

TRANS: LB: injustice robs him of his riches

CROSS REF: Proverbs 12:11; 27:18; 28:19

NOTE: The hard and honest work of a poor farmer produces more than enough to eat but the get-rich scheme seduces a man into bankruptcy. The humble worker or craftsman -- working with honest but caloused hands -- will fare better than the slick and business-wise fast-talker.

[Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child] *

PROVERBS 13:24 -- "The one holding back his rod is hating his son, but the one loving him is he that does look for him with discipline."

TRANS: JB: the man who fails to use the stick hates his son

CROSS REF: Proverbs 3:12; 19:18; 20:30; 22:15; 23:14; 29:15; Ephesians 6:4 = spanking

WORD: Hebrew shay’bet (Strong’s # 7626) = branch or stick for punishing

NOTE: This is the "Spanking Proverb" now in much disuse and distaste by a permissive Pepsi Generation -- though more and more wonder if it ought to be reinstituted -- particularly so after the public repentance of the father of "use the rod, spoil the genius," Doctor Spock. The Law of Moses as well as the Proverbs allowed for corporal punishment based on this principle: "Bruising wounds [KJ: blueness of a wound; NEB: a good beating] are what scours away the bad; and strokes [KJ: stripes; NEB: blows], the innermost parts of the belly." (Proverbs 20:30)

"You indulge your child and do not correct him; you permit selfishness and envy and anger to encrust themselves by successive layers, thicker and thicker on his character. The child begins to act the tyrant: he is cruel where he has power and sulky where he has not: he is rude, overbearing, untruthful. The child discovers that he can transgress with impunity. While there should be a strong manly love to wield the rod firmly, there should also be a far-seeing wisdom to judge, in view of all the circumstances, whether and when the rod should be applied. Love will give ample room for the effervescence of a buoyant spirit." (Arnot pages 254-257)

"Spare the Rod, but Note the Consequences" was the title of an article appearing in The Natal Mercury, a South African newspaper, lamenting the modern trend of holding back physical punishment from children at home and in school. Who is responsible for this changed attitude toward spanking? Professor Smythe, a pediatrician at the University of Natal, South Africa, places the blame squarely on child psychologists. "Usually on delving into the roots of an emotional issue," Smythe explains, "one finds the change in attitude starting with psychological dogma. At first violently opposed to any form of physical punishment, then appalled by the consequences of the indiscipline resulting from a creed of no frustrations and no inhibitions." Smythe advocates a balance.

"Extremes of permissiveness are as bad as extremes of punishment," he notes, "but the fact that remediation is easier with the overdisciplined than the underdisciplined child favors leaning on the side of discipline when in doubt." The professor emphasizes that the motive for giving physical punishment should be loving concern for the child's present and future welfare.

Burton L. White, authority on child development, says that your strictness will not cause your child to "love you less than if you were lenient. . . . Even if you spank them regularly, you will find they keep coming back to you." He stresses the child's primary need for overflowing "irrational love." Dr. Joyce Brothers reported on a study of hundreds of strictly disciplined fifth and sixth graders who believed that the strict rules "were an expression of parental love." The Journal of Lifetime Living said: "The child psychologists, wrangling over scheduled versus demand feeding, spanking versus non-spanking, have found that none of it makes much difference so long as the child is loved." Even Dr. Benjamin Spock, author of Baby and Child Care, took part of the blame for the lack of parental firmness and the resulting delinquency. He said blame rested on the experts, "the child psychiatrists, psychologists, teachers, social workers and pediatricians like myself."

England's highly respected "New Scientist" magazine recently reported on a study made to determine the answer. Two groups of preschool children were carefully observed at play. Children in the "new" or "progressive" group were given creative toys and an outdoor play area, but supervision was minimal. Children in the "old-fashioned" group were restricted to an indoor location with less equipment, but their conduct was closely supervised. Those who broke the strict rules of acceptable behavior were confined to a "naughty corner." What did the study reveal? That children playing under the "new" methods were far more aggressive, with behavior ranging from verbal threats to actual physical violence. Among the boys in the "new" group, there were 89 aggressive incidents (56 involving an exchange of blows), compared to only five in the "old-fashioned" group, and these were all merely verbal abuse. The girls in the "new" group had 42 aggressive incidents, while the "old-fashioned" group had none. The study's significance? Explained "New Scientist": "The children in the old-fashioned group were just plain happier than those in the progressive group. . . . Our observations are certainly entirely consistent with the old-fashioned view that children are happier and more secure if they are given an imposed code of conduct and know what the rules are and what punishment to expect from transgression, than if they are raised in a free-range style with no clear guidance to expected behaviour."

The Encyclopædia Britannica says: "Family disciplinary policies may be either too lax, too severe, or too inconsistent. American research has suggested that unsound discipline may be related to about 70 percent of criminal men."

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Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller

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