Proverbs 15:20

A Wise Son



1. In this section, Solomon is speaking about various ways in which we can improve the quality of our home-lives.

a. vs. 15 – a merry heart brings a continual feast… regardless of the external conditions.

b. vs. 16 – the fear of the Lord is better for a household than great treasures!

c. vs. 17 – Love with a plate of vegetables at the family table is better than a steak dinner with hatred.

d. vs. 18 – the ability to control one’s anger removes strife from the home.

e. vs. 19 – diligence and hard work makes life plain and easy… as opposed to laziness which erects hedges of thorns to obstruct the way.

f. vs. 20 – now Solomon speaks about the joy that is brought into a home by means of wisdom.

2. Note the contrasts also:

a. Wise/foolish

b. Glad/despise

c. Father/mother

d. Son/man

A wise son maketh a glad father:

1. A wise son brings joy and gladness into the home.

2. When a son makes wise decisions in life, he makes his parents proud… glad… joyous.

3. This puts responsibility on the children in the home.

a. They are a vital part of the atmosphere in the home.

b. They can add or subtract from the peace and joy at home by their behavior and by their choices in life.

4. Faithful, good, obedient, wise children are the JOY of their parents.

a. III John 4 – What a joy for parents to see their children grow up and be saved… and to walk with the Lord… and to bring their children up in the things of the Lord. No greater joy!

b. Ps. 127:5 – When they turn out right, HAPPY is the man who has his quiver FULL of them!

c. Prov. 23:15-16 – My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. 16Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.
• In a sense, the joy of a parent is contingent upon the way their children turn out.

d. Prov. 29:3 – Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.

e. Prov. 23:24-25 – not just the father but BOTH parents will rejoice in a wise, righteous son!

f. And parents OUGHT to have joy from their children… seeing that they have poured so much into them!

But a foolish man despiseth his mother

1. The foolish son does not bring joy into the home, but grief, sorrow, worry, and heartache.

a. Often the foolish son was pampered too much and given too much…

b. And after all he received FROM his parents, this only makes his sin in despising his parents all the more sinful and makes it all the more sorrowful to the parents!

c. A foolish son is a grief to his MOTHER…

d. Prov. 17:25 – But he is also a grief to his father!

2. But note the subtle SHIFT Solomon makes here.

a. One would expect that he would contrast gladness with grief or sorrow.

b. This IS the contrast in Prov. 10:1 = glad dad or a heavyhearted mother.

c. Instead, in this proverb, he contrasts gladness with despising.
• Prov. 15:5 – The foolish son is characterized by NOT listening to advice and NOT taking heed to counsel.
• Hence, it is likely that there would be much FRICTION between him and his parents.
• His reaction to this rising tension in the home is scorn. He despises his parents’ counsel and advice—and proves it by not following it!

d. The wise son brings GLADNESS into the home.

e. The foolish son brings HATRED into the home.

f. Note also that Solomon shifted from the father’s reaction to the wise son… to the heart attitude of the foolish son.

g. Instead of making his parents proud of him, and filling them with joy and gladness (that is what LOVE would do)… the actions of the foolish son demonstrate that he DESPISES his mother… his parents.
→ Despise: to hold in utter contempt; to have no respect for; disdain.
→ He SHOULD love his parents and demonstrate it by showing respect. The fool does not. He is not demonstrating love… just the opposite.

h. It is not love to hurt one’s parents. It is not love to bring them grief and sorrow. It is not love to cause them to worry.

i. Love is willing to sacrifice self for others. The fool is not willing to sacrifice self.

j. His only goal in life is to PLEASE himself… regardless of how it affects others… including his parents.

k. And in the process of pleasing himself, he does some very foolish things and makes hasty and unwise decisions.

l. When you make a decision that you KNOW hurts your parents, you are despising them.

m. When you do something you know will grieve your parents—that is not love. That is the opposite of love… it is an act of hatred… it is despising one’s parents.

n. Love is kind, love vaunteth not itself, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth.

o. Love is selfless and thinks of others.

3. Note also that the wise SON is contrasted to a foolish MAN.

a. That is because (apart from repentance) foolish sons turn into foolish men. Wisdom doesn’t always come with age!

b. Notice I didn’t say they grow up to become foolish men. They don’t ever grow up! The folly that is normally associated with youth and inexperience stays with them the rest of their days!

c. Thus, even when they are 30, 40, 50 years old—they are STILL making foolish decisions.

d. And they are STILL a grief to their parents.

e. And their ongoing actions STILL constitute hatred towards their parents… demonstrating they have no concern for their parents’ feelings.

f. And even though their bodies have developed to adulthood, they did not. They are still, foolish, immature, inexperienced, childish, and self-centered… there are a lot of 60 year old teenagers… who never grew up!

g. And the consequences of their folly continues with them the rest of their days… and is a grief to their parents the rest of THEIR days!

h. Prov. 23:22 – Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.
• Any son will do a few foolish things in their youth and inexperience.
• But when that foolish son becomes a man… and retains his folly, there is a point when those foolish indiscretions become HATRED and despising one’s parents…
• Old age for parents should be a time of peace and rest.
• Prov. 29:17 – Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul. (This implies that the son RECEIVES the correction—the problem is that foolish sons do NOT receive reproof!)
• But there is no peace or rest for the parents of a foolish son.
• The son that ends up in prison or an alcoholic, or lives on the street, or becomes a drug addict… will be a grief to his parents the rest of their lives. They will NEVER get over that entirely.
• But those are burdens that parents will carry to their graves.
• That is HATRED for a son to knowingly put their parents through that!
• And this is perhaps why Solomon speaks of the MOTHER here… because the mother is the one whose heart is more burdened by this folly than the father.

i. Folly is a vicious cycle. If it is not driven from a child, it will continue with that child.
• Prov. 22:15 – Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
• Prov. 19:18 – chasten them while there is hope.
• And if it isn’t driven from him as a child, God has other means of driving folly from a man.
• Prov. 30:17 – The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. (Poetic language—but you get the point!)
• Justice WILL catch up to a young fool sooner or later… and when it does, it may not be very pretty either!
• Prov. 19:29 – stripes are prepared for the back of fools. (Punishment… if they don’t get the stripes at home from the rod… the judicial system may have to do it—at the State Pen!

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