August 5th 2018 – Proverbs 19:11-14

Good sense makes one slow to anger,
    and it is his glory to overlook an offence.
A king's wrath is like the growling of a lion,
    but his favour is like dew on the grass.
A foolish son is ruin to his father,
    and a wife's quarrelling is a continual dripping of rain.
House and wealth are inherited from fathers,
    but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Proverbs 19:11-14

We resume our readings in Proverbs. 'Discretion' in 11 is translated 'good sense' in RSV. The theme here is magnanimity. Uncontrolled temper bespeaks a spirit that has never been brought under discipline, and to be lacking in control here is also to be lacking in sense. The thought in 12 continues the theme. Even in a king, being angry is a sign of weakness and unpleasantness. How much better to overlook an offence, and be like dew on grass. This latter metaphor suggests fruitfulness, and it is not difficult to see how such an attitude pays considerable dividends in human relationships. Kidner entitles his comments on 13, 14, 'Hell or heaven at home', and this is an apt title. This is grass-roots family life indeed: (The sentiment expressed here is amplified in 27:15, 16). One wonders whether there is a connection implied between the nagging wife and the foolish son. One commentator suggests there is, pointing out that 'where the wife disputes her husband's authority  and takes sides with the children, in opposition to his proper discipline, the effect upon them will be anything but good'. This bears out the importance for true family well-being of father and mother being at one and in unity in the discipline and upbringing of children (see 1:8, 9, 6:20, and comments thereon). Children do not need much encouragement to play off one parent against the other, and this can be nipped in the bud effectively only when there is a united and unified approach to family discipline. In 14b, the RSV replaces the AV's 'and' with 'but', and this serves to make the intended contrast clear; you cannot inherit a good wife as you inherit property from parents or relatives. That must be given by the Lord.