The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
progress: — In these verses you may make out a sort of successive parallel history of two human beings from the cradle to the grave.
I. THESE TWO YOUNG MEN AT HOME. Children at home. Character begins to be developed very soon. Very little boys may sometimes indicate those tempers and dispositions which, upon the one side shall make the father's heart "glad," or on the other, fill the mother with "heaviness."
II. THESE TWO YOUNG MEN GOING OUT (ver. 5). The great lesson from this verse is, the importance of taking time by the forelock, using advantages when we have them. It does not do to neglect advantages; seize upon them, use them, do everything in its season. Two things young men should not do: they should neither anticipate nor procrastinate.
III. THESE TWO YOUNG MEN GETTING ON. They are now men in business for themselves, having their own responsibilities. Here is an infallible rule: "He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich." Two kinds of slackness of hand: he may do the thing half-asleep, carelessly; he may not keep tight hold on the profits. The man who works with vigour and with thought, whose whole soul and mind and heart work, as well as his hand — he understands the price at which his profits are obtained.
IV. THESE TWO YOUNG MEN IN RELATION TO SUCCESS. "Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivereth from death." Two men may get rich — the one by wickedness, trickery, wrong; the other by industry, probity, diligence. "Righteousness" here probably signifies "benevolence," "beneficence." The property of the man who is selfish and covetous will do him no good. Riches may be the means of grace as well as anything else. The beneficent man looks at his wealth as a thing which is to be used for God.
V. THESE TWO YOUNG MEN IN RELATION TO CHANGE. In the alteration of circumstance, in misfortune, what a difference there is between the fall of a man who has a thorough character and that of a man who has not.
VI. THESE TWO YOUNG MEN IN RELATION TO THE END. "Blessings are upon the head of the just, but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked." The wicked here means the flagrantly wicked. When the just man grows old he is crowned with respect and love; but the wicked old man receives "violence." The same people, exasperated, unable to bear him any longer, "cover his mouth" and put him out of the way. There is no spectacle on earth so painful as that of a wicked old man.
VII. NOW FOR THE EPITAPH. "The memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot." The memory of just parents is better than a fortune to the children. The very name of the wicked shall become putrid and offensive. The two great principles which rightly tone the fortunes of the young man are, willingness to learn and uprightness of walking. Everything must be done "uprightly."
Parallel VersesKJV: The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.