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Blog - Proverbs 1:8

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Proverbs 1:8

"My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:" (Pro 1:8)


Solomon's son was the intended recipient of this collection of proverbs, this verse being the first of twenty-two appeals that Solomon makes to "my son" throughout the book. If Rehoboam was the son to whom Solomon gave his wise instruction, sadly, it fell on deaf ears, for he "forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him" (2Ch 10:8). Such is often the case with the children of great men, who, not having put in the effort of their fathers, and therefore not appreciating what they have, fail to measure up.

Christians face a similar concern with their children, especially those parents who were converted from a life of sin and error, and thus deeply appreciate the salvation and the knowledge of the truth that they have in Christ Jesus. The children of such Christians, if not properly instructed by their parents, have a high likelihood of not walking in the faith to the same degree, if at all, as their faithful parents. This happened to the generation of Israel that followed those who had experienced the mighty power of God which brought them into the promised land.

Jdg 2:10 - And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

This is why God instructed the fathers in Israel to teach their children the law of God, that they forget not the LORD.

Psa 78:4 - We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
Psa 78:5 - For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:
Psa 78:6 - That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:
Psa 78:7 - That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

This principle is still incumbent upon Christian fathers today who are to "bring [their children] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph 6:4). Though this duty of imparting the law of God to children is primarily given to fathers, Solomon here charges his son to not only "hear the instruction of thy father," but to also "forsake not the law of thy mother" (Pro 1:8). Our society has turned this parental precept on its head with most instruction given to children coming from their mothers, and scant, if any, being provided by their fathers.

Though this verse is directed at a son, it also implies what should be obvious, but is not to this froward generation: fathers and mothers should be instructing and giving laws to their children. In this generation, which a quick stroll down the grocery store aisle will confirm, children are not subject to their parents, but rather "are their oppressors" (Isa 3:12). Is it any wonder that our society is in such a dismal state?

Though addressed to his son in particular, Solomon's warning ought to be heeded by all children who should "obey [their] parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord" (Col 3:20), and "honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" (Eph 6:2-3).

There is yet another important lesson to be gleaned from Solomon's words: heed good counsel, even when coming from a hypocrite. Solomon wisely exhorted his son to "forsake not the law of thy mother;" yet he didn't follow his own advice. In Proverbs 31, his mother (Pro 31:1), warned him to "give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings" (Pro 31:3), but, regrettably, Solomon forsook the law of his mother, for "it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods" (1Ki 11:4), and "him did outlandish women cause to sin" (Neh 13:26). We should follow Solomon's advice, even though he himself did not.


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For all the blogs in this series, click here: Proverbs Commentary.

For the previous blog in this series, click here: Proverbs 1:7.
For the next blog in this series, click here: Proverbs 1:9.

For all the blogs in this series, click here: Proverbs Commentary.