Proverbs 20:20
Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.
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(20) His lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.—See above, on Proverbs 13:9.

20:7. A good man is not liable to uneasiness in contriving what he shall do, or in reflecting on what he has done, as those who walk in deceit. And his family fare better for his sake. 8. If great men are good men, they may do much good, and prevent very much evil. 9. Some can say, Through grace, we are cleaner than we have been; but it was the work of the Holy Spirit. 10. See the various deceits men use, of which the love of money is the root. The Lord will not bless what is thus gotten. 11. Parents should observe their children, that they may manage them accordingly. 12. All our powers and faculties are from God, and are to be employed for him. 13. Those that indulge themselves, may expect to want necessaries, which should have been gotten by honest labour. 14. Men use arts to get a good bargain, and to buy cheap; whereas a man ought to be ashamed of a fraud and a lie. 15. He that prefers true knowledge to riches, follows the ways of religion and happiness. If we really believed this truth, the word of God would be valued as it deserves, and the world would lose its tempting influence. 16. Those ruin themselves who entangle themselves in rash suretiship. Also those who are in league with abandoned women. Place no confidence in either. 17. Wealth gotten by fraud may be sweet, for the carnal mind takes pleasure in the success of wicked devices; but it will be bitter in the reflection. 18. Especially we need advice in spiritual warfare. The word and Spirit of God are the best counsellors in every point. 19. Those dearly buy their own praise, who put confidence in a man because he speaks fairly. 20. An undutiful child will become very miserable. Never let him expect any peace or comfort. 21. An estate suddenly raised, is often as suddenly ruined. 22. Wait on the Lord, attend his pleasure, and he will protect thee.A connecting link between Leviticus 20:9 and Matthew 15:4. The words, "his lamp shall be put out," describe the failure of outward happiness. 20. his lamp—(Compare Pr 13:9; 24:20). Or his mother, Heb. and his mother; which is used for or, Exodus 12:5 Leviticus 6:3, and elsewhere.

His lamp; his comfort and happiness, his name and memory, which are oft compared in Scripture to

a lamp or light; shall be put out in obscure darkness; shall utterly perish; he shall die childless, and with ignominy.

Whoso curseth his father or his mother,.... This is dreadful indeed! a person must be got to a great pitch of wickedness to do this; to curse his parents, one or other of them, that have been the instruments of his being, and by whom he has been brought up and put out into the world; to slight them, despise them, and mock at them, is highly base and criminal, but to curse them is shocking! what can such expect but the curse of God upon them?

his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness; he shall be deprived of his natural sight; see Proverbs 30:17; or the very light of nature shall be extinct in him; and indeed such an one acts as if not guided by it, nor under its influence; or whatsoever favour from the Lord he has enjoyed, it shall be taken from him; his lamp or candle of outward felicity shall be quenched, and burn no longer; see Job 18:5; or his soul, the candle of the Lord, in him, Proverbs 20:27; shall be removed; or he "shall die", not only a corporeal but an eternal death; see Exodus 21:17; "blackness of darkness" (h) as the words may be rendered, are reserved for him in the world to come, and which will be his portion, Jde 1:13.

(h) "in obscuritate tenebrarum", Pagninus, Mercerus; "in nigredine tenebrarum", Michaelis.

Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.
20. obscure darkness] Better, the blackest darkness, R.V. Lit. the pupil (of the eye) of darkness (comp. “in the pupil of night,” Proverbs 7:9, and note): i.e. in the darkest part, as the pupil is of the eye, of darkness. There is a trace of this in the version here of the LXX., αἱ δὲ κόραι τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτοῦ ὄψονται σκότος. In our present Hebrew Bibles, however, the word is corrected in the text to be read into a word which is not found elsewhere, and the meaning of which is uncertain. Vulg. in mediis tenebris.

Verse 20. - This is an enforcement of the fifth commandment, by denouncing the punishment which the moral government of God shall exact from the unnatural child. The legal penalty may be seen (Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9); but this was probably seldom or never carried into execution (comp. Matthew 15:4; Mark 7:10). His lamp shall be put out in obscure (the blackest) darkness (comp. Proverbs 13:9). The expression is peculiar; it is literally, according to the Khetib, In the apple of the eye of darkness, as in Proverbs 7:9; i.e. in the very centre of darkness; he will find himself surrounded on all sides by midnight darkness, without escape, with no hope of Divine protection. "Lamp" is a metaphor applied to the bodily and the spiritual life, to happiness and prosperity, to a man's fame and reputation, to a man's posterity; and all these senses may be involved in the denunciation of the disobedient and stubborn child. He shall suffer in body and soul, in character, in fortune, in his children. His fate is the exact counterpart of the blessing promised in the Law. Septuagint, "The lamp of him that revileth father and mother shall be extinguished, and the pupils of his eyes shall behold darkness." Talmud, "Whosoever abandons his parents means his body to become the prey of scorpions." Cato, 'Dist.,' 3:23 -

"Dilige non aegra caros pietate parentes;
Nec matrem offendas, dum vis bonus esse parenti."
One of the evil generations denounced by Agur (Proverbs 30:11) is that which curseth parents. Proverbs 20:20The following group begins, for once more the aim of this older Book of Proverbs becomes prominent, with an inculcation of the fourth

(Note: i.e., The fifth according to the arrangement of the Westminster Confession.)


20 He that curseth his father and his mother,

     His light is extinguished in midnight darkness.

The divine law, Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9, condemns such an one to death. But the proverb does not mean this sentence against the criminal, which may only seldom be carried into execution, but the fearful end which, because of the righteousness of God ruling in history, terminates the life of such an unnatural son (Proverbs 30:17). Of the godless, it has already been said that their light is extinguished, Proverbs 13:9, there is suddenly an end to all that brightened, i.e., made happy and embellished their life; but he who acts wickedly (קלּל, R. קל, levem esse, synon. הקלה, Deuteronomy 27:16), even to the cursing of his father and mother, will see himself surrounded by midnight darkness (Symmachus, σκοτομήνῃ, moonless night), not: he will see himself in the greatest need, forsaken by divine protection (Fleischer), for Jansen rightly: Lux et lucerna in scripturis et vitae claritatem et posteritatem et prosperitatem significat. The apple of the eye, אישׁון, of darkness (vid., Proverbs 7:9), is that which forms the centre of centralization of darkness. The Syr. renders it correctly by bobtho, pupil of the eye, but the Targ. retains the אשׁוּן of the Kerı̂, and renders it in Aram. by אתוּן, which Rashi regards as an infin., Parchon as a particip. after the form ערוּך; but it may be also an infin. substantive after the form עזוּז, and is certainly nothing else than the abbreviated and vocally obscured אישׁון. For the Talm. אשׁן, to be hard, furnishes no suitable idea; and the same holds true of אשׁוּני, times, Leviticus 15:25 of the Jerusalem Targ.; while the same abbreviation and the same passing over of o into u represents this as the inflected אישׁון ( equals עת). There is also no evidence for a verb אשׁן, to be black, dark; the author of Aruch interprets אשׁונא, Bereschith Rabba, c. 33, with reference to the passage before us, of a dark bathing apartment, but only tentatively, and אישׁון is there quoted as the Targ. of צל, Genesis 19:8, which the text lying before us does not ratify. Ishon means the little man (in the eye), and neither the blackness (Buxtorf and others) nor the point of strength, the central point (Levy) of the eye.

(Note: Vid., Fleischer in Levy's Chald. Wrterbuch, i. 419.)

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