The Book of Proverbs ~ Chapter 22:13-15 ~ We Should Not Make Excuses to Excuse Ourselves from Life ~ We Are to be Truthful Witnesses, and Not Seduced to Lie ~ Training in God’s Word Removes Sins of the Tongue in Our Lives.

Vol. 17, No. 46 – November 18, 2018

11 18 18 The Word Prov 22 vs 13-15The Book of Proverbs
Chapter 22

Vs. 13

Prov 22:13, “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside; I will be killed in the streets!’”

We have seen in vs. 10-12, and will in vs. 15, pertinent moral instruction, a theme of this unit. The contrast between gracious lips, vs. 11b, and treacherous words, vs. 12b, is exemplified on the negative side in the speech of the sluggard, vs. 13, and unchaste women, vs. 14, that brings to prominence once again the role the sluggard and harlot have had in both Collection I and II, Prov 6:6-11; 2:16-19; 5:3-6; 6:24-25; 7:5-27.

Here, the lazy person makes absurd excuses for not working or participating in society. This verse humorously portrays the sluggard as not going out because he might be eaten by a lion in the streets, cf. Prov 26:13.

Sluggard,” is the Hebrew Adjective ATSEL, עָצֵל used for a Noun here that means, “slow, idle, lazy, sluggish, useless, or slothful.” It is synonymous with the less used word REMIYAH used in Prov 10:4; 12:24, 27; 19:15.

It represents lazy people who always fail because of laziness that becomes moral failure, Prov 6:6, 9. It is primarily used in the Wisdom literature of the OT for lazy individuals and indolent behavioral patterns.

These types crave for things within their souls, yet they get nothing, Prov 13:4, primarily because they take no initiative in life, Prov 19:24; 26:15, do not do their job or tasks on time, Prov 20:24, and will not work, Prov 21:25.

In our verse, we see that they create imaginary excuses so that they do not have to work or tend to their societal responsibilities, Prov. 22:13, and later we will see that their wealth and health deteriorate as a result of not even taking care of their own needs, Prov 24:30-34, yet, they consider themselves wise, Prov 26:13-16. And finally, they irritate those who employ them because of their lack of production, Prov 10:26, “As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes.”

In our verse, the sluggard uses his words to avoid the responsibilities he has in life. “Says,” is the Verb AMAR, אָמַר‎ in the Qal Perfect that means, “to say, to call, or to think.” In our verse, it has the meaning of what he thinks, presented as the spoken words that detail what he is thinking. It pictures the excuses he makes to convince himself that certain things and dangers are lurking outside, so as to avoid doing what is necessary in life.

In this case, the sluggard is deceiving himself into thinking “‘There is a lion (ARI) outside (BE CHUTS); I will be killed (RATSAH) in (BE) the streets (TAWEK RECHOB, in the middle of the square)!’”

RATSAH, means, “to murder, slay or kill.” Here it is in the Niphal (passive) Imperfect (future). Elsewhere it denotes taking innocent human life by another human being either intentionally, murder, or unintentionally, manslaughter, Ex 20:13; Num 35:6, 11, 16, 30. In fact, the Septuagint changes it to “murderers in the street,” to form a better parallelism, possibly because RATSAH is used only of humans in the Bible. Yet, here, it is uniquely used of an animal, probably as a hyperbole and/or a metonymy.

This excuse making sluggard is seen again in Prov 26:13, where there he says, “the young lion is in the road,” and “a loin is in the open square.” It represents excuse making in emotional revolt of the soul to avoid certain situations in life. In that verse, the sluggard repeats himself. In our verse, he explains his excuse in terms of the dread of losing his life.

By absurdly claiming there is a lion in the street that will kill him, he excuses himself from leaving the comforts of his home and his free meals, which others have provided, to venture out into world to perform the hard work that builds a community. Where no dangers or difficulties exist, he imagines them. Where they really are, he exaggerates them to such a degree that they appear to be insurmountable. Any excuse, no matter how ridiculous, serves his purpose to avoid doing what is necessary and right in life.

As my old High School football coach use to say, “Excuses are like rear-ends, everyone has one and they all stink.” Although I have toned down the actual language he used. As such, there is no excuse that truly excuses you from performing the normal things of life. No excuse excuses you from walking in righteousness inside the plan of God for your life. Therefore, the way we speak says a great deal about the way we think; we are not to make excuses that excuse us from life.

But unfortunately, we see from this passage that frivolous excuses satisfy the indolent man’s conscience. And, the irony is that laziness impoverishes and ultimately destroys itself, Prov 10:4; 20:4; 21:25-26, a lion is not necessary.

Prov 10:4, “Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Prov 20:4, “The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.

Prov 21:25-26, “The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, for his hands refuse to work; 26All day long he is craving, while the righteous gives and does not hold back.”

In the application of our verse in Chapter 22, we see the sluggard making excuses as to why he does not have to participate in society, especially inside the legal system to bring the truth to light. In our passage, the Hebrew says, TAWEK RECHOB, “in the middle of the square,” which was an open area near the gates of the city where legal matters where heard and decided. So, this sluggard may be afraid that he will lose in his or someone else’s trial, so he makes an excuse as to why he should not participate.

The assumption here is that truth and justice will not prevail as a result of the sluggard’s avoidance of the situation. A principle is, if you do not stand up for and participate in the truth, the lie will prevail along with injustice.

With the other theme of wealth and poverty, the poverty of the sluggard is used to illustrate the truth that choices have consequences. The purpose is not to describe the origins of all poverty but rather to warn against a life of folly that can lead to poverty. Neither the poor nor the rich are idealized in this chapter, because both stand as equals before their maker, vs. 2. Both can hear the call to wisdom and fear of YHWH, and both can choose to shut their ears to it. Poverty and wealth are extreme situations of life that can lead people away from God, Prov 30:7-9.

Prov 30:7-9, “Two things I asked of You, Do not refuse me before I die: 8Keep deception and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, 9That I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.”

The sluggard is represented here as finding fantastic and preposterous excuses to demonstrate that no idea is too odd or fantastic to him to keep him off welfare. And, the fact is, his life and the community are not in danger from his phantom lion in the streets but from his lazy life-style.

Sluggards also use fear as an excuse for further laziness. They will do anything to avoid doing anything, even proclaiming danger where there is none. People who are gripped by laziness will not attempt to achieve any kind of goals because of their fears. Likewise, people who are gripped by fear will not dare to try to achieve anything in life because of what might fantastically happen to them. As such, they fear the lions of failure, difficulty, getting sick, the opinions of others, etc., etc., etc. The list is endless. God knows about our fears. So, we must always remember the Lord enables us to overcome our fears so that we may serve and live our lives for Him, 2 Tim 1:7.

2 Tim 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, (nervousness, fearfulness, shyness, etc.), but of power and love and discipline.”

The one who approaches life in the strength of faith finds the lions have been rendered powerless to destroy him. Contrast the slothful man of this verse, with Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, one of David’s mighty men, 2 Sam 23:20, who “killed a loin in a snowy pit.”

As such, from a spiritual sense, we could add that this individual constantly makes excuses as to why he does not have to go to church or learn and apply God’s Word in his life. He makes excuses or “fools himself” into thinking that he does not have to serve God, he does not have to worship God, and / or he does not have to apply His Word to his life. This excuse making individual always has something else in his mind that is more important than performing in his relationship with God.

This excuse making is very subtle. He many times will not think he is outright avoiding and rejecting God by his thoughts or actions, and many times will not even think those thoughts directly. But, by the subtlety of making other things more important, even to the point of life and death issues, he places those things above his relationship with God without even realizing it. Therefore, the excuse making sluggard is one full of self-deception that results in scar tissue upon the soul that leads to spiritual blindness, or black out of the soul that is vanity, Eph 4:17-19. And ironically, the sluggard acts like a prophet, that he may palliate, (mitigate the intensity, excuse things that are bad, or alleviate the guilt of) his slothfulness.

The Sluggard will have many problems:

  • As Prov 6:6, 9 told us, they will always fail in the spiritual life, because their laziness results in moral failure.
  • Prov 13:4 showed us that their souls want nothing in terms of Bible Doctrine, and therefore they get nothing.
  • In Prov 19:24 we saw that because they take no initiative to learn God’s Word, they will not fulfill God’s Plan for their lives, Prov 20:4.
  • They will not “do their job” as professional Christian soldiers, ambassadors, and priest in the spiritual life, Prov 21:25.
  • They always create imaginary excuses for why they cannot do this or that, or why they did not do this or that for God, Prov 22:13.
  • Their spiritual prosperity and physical health will deteriorate, Prov 24:30.
  • Due to the arrogance within their soul, they consider themselves wise or a spiritual giant, Prov 26:13-16, when in fact they are not.

In addition, from the context of this chapter, in this satire that depicts a sluggard industrious enough to concoct a far-fetched story in hopes of avoiding life, we see that although few real excuses are as wild or transparent as this one, it reminds us that YHWH can tell whether our thoughts and words come from knowledge or deception, vs. 12.

So, we have seen that speech that mocks in pride is not the gracious speech that wins the king, vs. 10-11; likewise, faithless words and lazy excuses will not please YHWH, vs. 12-13. Those who turn from God’s way will be vulnerable to what is most dangerous of all, words of seduction, which is the theme of our next verse, symbolized by the mouth of the adulteress, a pit, a trap that destroys. Therefore, these two proverbs exemplify two kinds of words by the treacherous; that of the sluggard, vs. 13, and of the harlot, vs. 14. The sluggard will be tempted to find easy money and the harlot offers easy sex.

As such, we see that the way we speak says a great deal about the way we think, and we are not to make excuses that excuse us from life.

Vs. 14

Prov 22:14, “The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; he who is cursed of the LORD will fall into it.”

We have noted the deceptions of the adulteress woman previously in Proverbs and we will see her again, Prov 2:10-16; 5:3-6, 20; 6:24-26; 7:4-5; 23:27-28.

Prov 5:3-6, “For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and smoother than oil is her speech; 4But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. 5Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold of Sheol. 6She does not ponder the path of life; her ways are unstable, she does not know it.”

The first nine chapters of Proverbs repeatedly warn against the seductively flattering words of the strange woman, Prov 2:16; 5:3; 6:24; 7:5, 13-21, which are here likened to a “deep pit.” Prov 23:27, also calls the prostitute herself a deep pit.

As a standalone passage, our verse warns that sexual licentiousness, which appears to be purely self-indulgent, is actually a judgment of God upon those who are under His curse, cf. Psa 81:11-12; Rom. 1:24.

Rom 1:24, “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.”

Yet, in the context of this chapter, the court room scene envisioned, with the wealthy and powerful compared to the poor and powerless, this verse gives us further imagery of that scene with a warning regarding it.

Adulteress” also called “strange woman,” is the Noun ZAR from the Hebrew Verb ZUR, זוּר, which means, “foreigner, alien, different, or unlawful.” It is in the feminine gender and is plural, so we know it is speaking of women. It is used several times in Proverbs for the adulterous woman, Prov 2:16; 5:3, 20; 7:5; 22:14.

This femme fatale, who loomed so large in Collection I, is again represented as a huntress waiting to trap her prey, Prov 6:26; 21:23, especially the youth who is under the power of youthful lusts, 2 Tim 2:22.

The Noun ZONAH is used in Proverbs for the “harlot or prostitute” that is also considered to be a strange woman, Prov 5:20; 6:26; 23:27.

Prov 23:27-28, “For a harlot (ZONAH) is a deep pit and an adulterous woman (NAKHERI) is a narrow well. 28Surely she lurks as a robber, and increases the faithless among men.”

The Adjective ZARAH and its synonym NAKHERI, “foreign or strange,”  Prov 5:20; 6:24; 7:5; 20:16; 23:27, designate a woman who has deserted her place in society. It is a woman who does not uphold the Law of God in her life.

From all of these passages, we see that this woman appears as a specific type of woman, clearly described. She walks the streets and attempts to seduce young men; she is dangerous and totally untrustworthy, for instead of life and happiness she brings disgrace and death.

In addition, Solomon further warned about the adulteress woman in Eccl 7:26, “And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.”

In addition, we see in Scripture that Israel, when it rebelled against God, was called an adulteress, Hosea 3:1, cf. Jer 3:20.

PEH is used here for “mouth,” meaning the speech of the adulterous woman. “Deep pit” is used here and in Prov 23:27, for the alluring tragedy that flows from her mouth. It is the Hebrew Adjective AMUQQA from the root Verb AMOQ, עָמֹק that means, “to be deep or mysterious,” and is joined with the Noun SHUCHAH, שׁוּחָה that means, “pit or pitfall.” Sometimes, SHUCHAH is used as the “pit” for trapping animals. A deep pit connotes danger and death, and refers to that which once it has fallen on someone, he cannot get out from it without assistance. AMOQ is used to add emphasis on the destructive nature the adulterous woman has on the young man. As such, the words of the harlot, (as is the harlot herself), are considered a dangerous and deep pit.

Therefore, the kisses and seductive, deceptive words of an immoral woman are described here as a deep pit or trap. Her advances and words conceal a trap in which her suitors become ensnared. She lures her victims with her flattery, propositions, and promise of reward.

Unlike the sluggard’s fantasy of a man-eating lion roaming the city streets, these harlots are very real and deadly predators in the streets that we are warned to avoid at all costs. By way of analogy and context in this verse, these harlots are those who are trying to convince witnesses or even non-witnesses to a crime to lie when they appear before the judge. With the promise of reward to ensue, we could say they are bribing, blackmailing, or extorting these witnesses. Extortion

On the humorous side, as the sluggard was lyin’ about the lion from self-preservation motivation to avoid the court room, this individual is lured by the mouth of the seductress into the lyin’ inside the court room from self-indulgent motivation. He is tempted to lie by his lust and promise of reward.

In the second half of this verse we see that “he who is cursed of the LORD will fall into it.”

“Cursed” is the Verb ZA’AM, זָעַם that means, “to be indignant, enraged, to inveigh against, (speak out angrily against), denounce, or curse.” The root literally means, “to foam at the mouth.” It is in the Qal Participle Passive, which means they continuously receive the action of being cursed. It refers to either the action or the state of receiving indignation. Such indignation can take the form of a curse, a denunciation, anger, or an accusation. This word may have originally meant “to snap at in anger or to scold strongly.” Usually the verbs associated with the noun ZA’AM have a clear judgment aspect to them. This word was also used of someone when they would violate the terms of a contract, especially an oral contract.

Some think this is the Qal Active meaning those who reject the Lord will fall into the adulteresses trap. Although that may be the case, here it is in the Passive meaning they receive the curse or judgment.

Here, it is “the Lord,” YHWH, יְהָוה‎ who will bring about the curse, because ultimately, YHWH is the righteous Judge in the usages of this verb in, Ezek 21:31; 22:31; Zeph 3:8; Psa 69:24. His rage occurs with the violation of the Covenant. It speaks of a legal environment where enforcement of the curse is also expected by the hearers. And, the Lord’s ZA’AM, (curse), is used for human pain and suffering as a result of His judgment, Jer 15:17; Psa 38:3; 69:24; 78:49; 102:10.

Therefore, we see that this “curse” is really the sentencing of a penalty under the law, when one is found guilty of breaking the law.

Psa 7:11, “God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day.” Cf. Isa 66:14.

“Will fall into it,” is actually, “will fall there.” It is the Qal Imperfect Verb NAPHAL, נָפַל‎, along with the Adverb SHAM, ‏שָׁם‎.

NAPHAL has a wide range of meanings from a simple physical fall to the violence of death in battle. Here it is speaking of the resultant curse that comes from being persuaded to lie or give false testimony in a court room. That means the individual actually perjures himself and is then guilty of his own crime of which he will suffer the penalty thereof. Cf. Lev 6:1-7; Deut 19:18-19.

Deut 19:18-19, “And the judges shall investigate thoroughly; and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, 19then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.”

Many interpret this as falling into the adulteresses temptations, which is step one, but step two is falling under the curse of the righteous Judge, God Himself, in having a penalty fall on them for lying in the court room.

As you know, perjury is one of the Seven Abominable Sins against God, Prov 6:19, and is something we are warned against many times in Proverbs and in the NT, cf. Prov 12:17; 14:5; 19:5, 9; 21:28; 25:18; Mat 15:19, 18; Rom 13:9.

Prov 25:18, “Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.”

Prov 19:5, “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will not escape.”

Prov 19:9, “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will perish.”

So, we see that the “strange or adulterous woman” here is anyone who tempts another to lie, especially in the court of law. As Israel is called an “adulterer” numerous times in the OT for breaking God’s Law, so too the perjurer / fool falls into the pit of the adulterer and will suffer the judgment required by God. The imagery both here and in Prov 23:28, represents the man who falls into the adulteresses clutches, as stripped of everything he has, even of his very life, cf. Prov 5:10-11; 6:32-35; 7:23.

In the spiritual realm, the adulterer is anyone teaching false doctrines, including those with the intent of leading others into those falsehoods. The pit is the lies of deception they are preaching. Those who are gullible of them will suffer the judgment of the sin, human good, or evil they have willingly been led into. To succumb to the adulteress, or to any such folly, is both a sin and its punishment, as God many times makes our own sin our punishment. Prov 21:28, “A false witness will perish, but the man who listens to the truth will speak forever.”

And, as we know, the Word of God is designed to protect us from the seduction and flattery of strange lips, Prov 2:10-16; 7:4-5. That is why our next verse speaks of discipline being necessary to remove any temptations of sin that may enter our souls.

Vs. 15

Prov 22:15, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”

In this Proverb, we will see the significance and importance of teaching God’s Word / Bible Doctrine to those who are unbelievers and immature believers, so that the sins of the tongue, such as lying in a court of law, are far removed from the mentality of their soul and their speech.

As we will see in this passage, various words from vs. 5, “far”, vs. 6, teaching the “NA’AR,” and vs. 8, “rod,” link this proverb with others on training and judgment.

“Foolishness,” is the Feminine Noun IWWELETH, אִוֶּלֶת that indicates “folly or foolishness.” It is a cognate of EWEIL, “fool’, and is a synonym to PETHI, “fool, inexperienced, simple,” vs. 3, and the Adjective NAVAL, Prov 17:7, 17. Of its 24 usages in the OT, it is used 22 times in the book of Proverbs, and twice in the Psalms, Psa 38:5; 69:5. Many of its usages include the concept of various kinds of moral degeneracy. In the context of our verse, it represents primarily perjury and lying, but also includes slander, gossip, maligning, etc.; the various aspects of verbal sins called “sins of the tongue.”

Prov 17:7, “Excellent speech is not fitting for a fool, much less are lying lips to a prince.”

The folly or foolishness of the fool is often characterized as something that is evident to all. The only ones they are fooling are themselves. Whereas, the prudent person is characterized by silent reflection and thoughtful speech, the fool blurts out his folly (lies) to everyone, Prov 12:23. Again, prudent people act out of knowledge, (Bible Doctrine resident within the soul), but fools expose their perjury, Prov 13:16.

Prov 13:16, “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool displays folly.”

This “foolishness” or propensity to lie, is “bound up,” the Qal Participle Passive of QASHAR, קָשַׁר that can mean to “bind or tie,” or to “conspire.” In fact, in 1 Sam 22:8; 2 Sam 15:31; 2 Kings 14:19; 15:30; Amos 7:10, it is used for “to conspire against,” or “to be in conspiracy against.” In these applications, the “to conspire” means to either outright lie or withhold information, which results in the truth not being known.

Amos 7:10, “Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, ‘Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel; the land is unable to endure all his words’.”

2 Sam 15:31, “Now someone told David, saying, ‘Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.’ And David said, ‘O LORD, I pray, make the counsel of Ahithophel foolishness’.”

In the book of Proverbs, the other three times QASHAR is used is in regard to “binding” Bible Doctrine to your soul, Prov 3:3; 6:21; 7:3. Therefore, because the fool did not or does not “bind” God’s Word to his soul, instead the foolishness of the “sins of the tongue” are bound to him. As you know, this begins with negative volition towards God’s Word that results in mental attitude sins.

That is noted in the next few words, “in the heart of Child,” which in the Hebrew is the compound word BELEB-AN’AR. It is made up of the Preposition BE, “in,” the Noun LEB, לֵב, “heart,” (the right lobe of the souls where we store and retain information), and the Noun NA’AR, נַעַר, “child, young man, or servant.”

We noted, NA’AR in vs. 6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” There we spoke about educating the young in the ways of God and dedicating them to a life of holy service unto Him.

Here, we see the folly that is part of the mentality of the young, (we could even say, “immature believer’), because the old sin nature (OSN) is the main force in the mentality of their soul, cf. Eph 2:3.

Eph 2:3, “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”

But, if they are taught and learn God’s Word, there is a counter force now working in their soul to negate the negative influence of their OSN. That is why they need to be trained in the Word of God, because foolishness, the temptations of the OSN, is ruling their soul.

Therefore, whether “folly” refers primarily to a heart that is naive (inexperienced) or rebellious, it is endemic to human beings and must be remedied. This remedy is seen in the second half of this verse, “The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”

“The rod of discipline,” is first the Hebrew Noun SHEBET, “staff, stick, scepter, tribe,” that we noted in vs. 8, regarding the “sower of iniquity.” There, it symbolized the authoritative power of the unjust oppressor and his powerful means to beat down the oppressed. In our verse, it speaks to the authoritative power that “discipline” has to beat down a sinful volition that can lead to “sins of the tongue.” “Rod” does not refer only to corporal punishment, but is a metonymy for any form of discipline.

Discipline” is the Noun MUSAR, מוּסָר‎ that can mean, “instruction, chastisement, discipline, or warning.” This word is used in most of the chapters in Proverbs. It occurs most frequently of the “discipline, correction, or instruction” of wisdom, as a technical term for instruction in the school of wisdom, Prov 1:2, 7. Instruction is characterized by reverence or fear of the Lord, Prov 15:33. 

Prov 1:2, “To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding.”

Prov 23:12, “Apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge.”

Prov 23:23, “Buy truth, and do not sell it, get wisdom and instruction and understanding.”

And remember, the only antidote or corrective to sin is discipline wisely administered, Prov 25:12, out of love and concern for others ultimate well-being, Prov 19:18. Also, since not all children or immature believers are equally rebellious or contentious, parents or those instructing them, need discretion to discipline each as best fits the individual and the situation.

Prov 25:12, “Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.”

We also see in Proverbs, those who hate God’s discipline ignore his commandments and stray far from them, Psa 50:17; Job 36:10; Prov 1:7; 16:22; 19:27.

Prov 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Prov 19:27, “Cease listening, my son, to discipline, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

Prov 16:22, “Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it, but the discipline of fools is folly.”

In Prov 16:22, we also see that the discipline of the “fool,” (one without doctrine in their life), is folly, meaning that any discipline in their life is actually wasted because they do not learn from it. Rather than living the superabundant life of the spiritually mature believer, the fool’s life is wasted not just in the foolishness of their mode of operation, but also being constantly disciplined by God. Instead of being in a place of blessing with impact, they are in a place of discipline and wasted opportunities.

Yet, in our verse, discipline is recommended as an antidote to foolish behavior, (or lying, as is the context of this chapter). Proverbs speaks specifically of parental (or the mature ones) instruction as something to be closely followed, Prov 1:8; 4:1; 13:1, and failure to listen to their instruction results in ignorance, Prov 19:27ff.

As such, the fool is the one who rejects their teaching, instruction, and discipline, Prov 15:5, and those mature ones who spare “the rod,” (authoritative teaching and instruction in the Word of God), actually hate the unbelieving and believing immature ones. But, the one who provides instruction and discipline to the immature ones loves them, Prov 13:24, and, the “rod of discipline” will remove foolishness from the child.

Prov 15:5, “A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible.”

Prov 13:24, “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” 

Our proverb “spare the rod and spoil the child” was probably derived from Proverbs, cf. Prov 10:13; 13:24; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15.

Other similar ancient proverbs include the Egyptian proverbs, “Boys have ears on their back sides,” and “He who is not flogged is not educated.”

The reason the “rod of discipline” is so important, is that it “will remove it (foolishness / lying) far from him.”

Will remove it far from him” is the causative Hiphil Imperfect of the Verb RACHAQ, רָחַק with the Pronominal Preposition MIN in the Masculine, to indicate “from, out of, away from, etc.” In the Masculine, it refers back to the “immature one,” therefore we add, “him.”

RACHAQ, רָחַק means, “to be distant, to be far away, to become far away, to be separated from.” In the Hiphil stem, it has the causative force of “to remove,” and the Imperfect speaks of the future occurrence of this removal. Therefore, it indicates that lying and sins of the tongue, as other sins, become a long way off, distant, and far removed when God’s Word is applied in the soul.

Prov 4:24, “Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious speech far from you.”

Prov 22:5, “Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards himself will be far from them.”

Prov 30:8, “Keep deception and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion.” 

In combining the context of vs.10 and 15, it suggests that one can forgive a young person’s folly, but if it is not driven out (like a mocker), and removed far away from him, it can turn to evil, especially inside the legal system. When that happens, it is not only the young who suffer but also the family and the whole community, especially its poor or weak.

In the context of this chapter, if the rod of discipline drives folly far away from the youth’s heart, it does so to nurture the love of a “pure heart” that will win over the king, as we noted in vs. 11. The king’s love for purity is like that of YHWH, who watches over knowledge, vs. 12. In sum, the discipline of correction will save the youth from the path of the wicked, vs. 5, and make a way for responsible service to king and community, vs. 11.  

Likewise, it was the “immature one” who fell into the trap of the adulterous woman in Chapter 7, and the NA’AR now appears in this proverb that follows hers, vs. 14. Therefore, we see that foolish choices in one area influence others, and only those who stray from YHWH’s way will be susceptible to her seductive danger. Therefore, better is the rod, used for discipline, training, and instruction, than a trap of sin and death, vs. 5, cf. Prov 13:24; 23:13-14; 29:15.

Therefore, the youth’s stubborn insolence and his immoral propensity for laziness, vs. 13, lust, vs. 14, and greed vs. 16, is tightly bound up within his constitution, but the father’s disciplining rod breaks folly’s hold and frees him.

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
# 18-120 – 18-122

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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.

Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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