August 9th 2018 – Proverbs 19:26-29

He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother
    is a son who brings shame and reproach.
Cease to hear instruction, my son,
    and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
A worthless witness mocks at justice,
    and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
Condemnation is ready for scoffers,
    and beating for the backs of fools.

Proverbs 19:26-29

The story of the prodigal son readily comes to mind in reading 26. It has been pointed out that Jesus made no mention of the prodigal's mother. Perhaps she had been chased away in the sense indicated here. It may mean that the son's behaviour at home has become so intolerable that she cannot stand to be in his presence any more. One has known mothers to be afraid of their sons like this, and terrified to check them lest they turn in violence against them. The 'reproach' refers to the special bitterness of receiving such treatment from a son. In 27, the RSV omits the AV's 'that causeth', and substitutes 'only' to give a warning against trifling: to receive instructions only to pay no heed to it is moral irresponsibility. Why ask advice, if we have no real intention of taking it? 'Ungodly' in 28 literally means 'worthless', but is generally used of that which is opposed to God. What seems to be in view here is the committing of perjury in a court of law. Fortunately, this is something that is regarded with the greatest seriousness in our legal system, and carries heavy penalties. The second part of the verse seems to imply, to use Kidner's phrase, a spiritual morbidity, a diseasedness of mind and heart that takes pleasure in perversity, for perversity's sake. This is the advanced and abandoned state of evil spoken of by Paul in Romans 1:32, which earns the inevitable judgment of God spoken of in 29. When men come to this stage in the grim progression of evil, they are ripe for judgment, and God will ultimately bring it upon them (cf 29:1).