Proverbs 23:22-23

Buy the Truth


1. Verses 22-23 constitute the 15th of 30 wise sayings. (Although I might have joined vs. 24-25 together with this saying—since all speak about parental advice.)

22a Hearken unto thy father that begat thee…

1. Hearken:

a. This term is used 1,159 times in the Old Testament and at least 30 times in Proverbs.

b. It means to hear… but also implies to listen and obey.

c. It means to hear with attention or interest, listen to for the purpose of obeying.

2. The son is commanded to hearken to his father.

a. Here the term father is amplified by the expression, “who begat thee.” (your biological father)

b. The expression was added not so much to distinguish “which” father, but to emphasize an important fact: the father who begat you… your biological father more than anyone else wants the BEST for you.

c. Your father wants his son to turn out well… to become a man or a woman that he could be proud of…

d. Thus, your father wants you to hearken to his words of wisdom so that the son doesn’t have to make the same mistakes in life that he made.

e. Generally speaking, nobody wants for a son to succeed in life more than his dad.

3. We have heard this before in this book:

a. Prov. 1:8 – My son, hear the instruction of thy father.

b. Prov. 6:8 – My son, keep thy father’s commandment.

c. Solomon wanted his son to hear his instructions and to KEEP them.

d. He then wrote this book so that his sons would be able to pass this on to the next generation AND so that all other families in his kingdom would benefit from this truth.

e. In a sense, this is the theme of the book of Proverbs: hearken to the words of wisdom and obey!

22b And despise not thy mother when she is old.

1. Despise not:

a. To despise; hold in contempt; hold as insignificant; scorn; deride; i.e., have contempt for; to belittle; to show disrespect.

2. Solomon does not seem to be using the term here in the sense of “hating” one’s mother, but rather showing disrespect for her and her counsel and words of wisdom.

3. Note also that he speaks of a mother who is OLD.

a. This means that the child is either an older child or perhaps more likely, a young adult.

b. In other places in Proverbs the emphasis was on young children listening to their parents.

c. Here the children are older. But regardless of their age, the woman is still their mother.

d. We should never think of ourselves (regardless of how old we are) as beyond learning… beyond the need for advice and counsel.

e. No matter how old you are, your mother and father will always be older than you, except in my case…. my mother got stuck on 39 for decades.

f. Ex. 20:12 – And the command to HONOR thy mother and father still stands.

4. It seems likely that Solomon observed this in real life… as perhaps we all have.

a. Sometimes the elderly are treated quite poorly.

b. Sometimes they are treated poorly even by their own children! This should never be.

c. Some adult children show disrespect for their parents.

d. I had a friend one time who always used to say jokingly, “Everybody says their parents are crazy, but I can prove it!” (He was kidding.)

e. Solomon wasn’t talking about someone joking—he was talking about the real thing… adults who had no respect for their parents.

f. They belittled them and talk scornfully about them. They made jest of the advice from aged parents. (What do they know?)

g. Perhaps they mistreated them.

h. Some even refused to help provide for the needs of their elderly parents by claiming that all their material goods were “corban” (dedicated in a vow to God).

i. Deut. 27:16 – “Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother.” The Law put a curse on such behavior.

j. Prov. 1:7 – Fools despise wisdom and knowledge… even when their own parents are seeking to help them.

23 Buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

1. If we understand this passage to be connected in context to the previous one (as is the case in virtually all the passages in this section of Proverbs), then the TRUTH is to be connected to the advice of one’s aging parents.

a. Listen to your father… and do not belittle the counsel of your mother when she is old.

b. And when they speak, BUY the truth and sell it not!

c. Solomon links wisdom, instruction, and understanding to truth.

2. Buy and sell not.

a. Solomon’s point is that when truth (along with wisdom, instruction, and understanding) are being offered, BUY it!
• Though Solomon had a slightly different setting in mind, there is good application here to getting a good education.
• Education may be costly, but in most cases, it is worth buying.
• It’s worth sacrificing for.
• This is true of gaining truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding in so MANY realms or fields: in gaining an education for your career… and in gaining an education for your spiritual growth.
• It’s worth the price… it’s worth the sacrifice involved.
• And it does require sacrifice to be educated in the things of the Lord: it takes time, energy, sacrifice, effort… but it is worth it. It pays a great dividend from eternity’s perspective.
• Prov. 4:5-8 – Get wisdom and understanding. Of all the things you seek to GET in life, make sure you get this prize! It will do you well for the rest of your days.

b. Solomon’s point in context is that TRUTH (wisdom, instruction, etc.) should be received… take it in… HEARKEN to the words of wisdom and truth.

c. Buying also implies paying a price.
• Even if it is COSTLY to take in the truth… it is well worth it in the end.
• Prov. 2:2-4 – Here Solomon speaks about paying a price to pursue wisdom, knowledge, and truth: the kind of price paid by those seeking gold.
• In the gold rush here in the US, obtaining that gold required leaving all behind in order to obtain it… it involved great sacrifice… paying a price to “buy” it.
• Prov. 16:16 – “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!”
• Sometimes when truth, wisdom, and understanding are presented to us, it requires paying a price – making some costly CHANGES in our lives.
• Then BUY the truth—and make the changes!
• Pay the price whatever it costs to get the truth.
• Jesus warned that the price for following the truth might include friends, reputation, possessions, a job, and even one’s life!
• Phil. 3:7-8 – Paul had truth presented to him and he discovered that the excellency of the knowledge of Christ was worth far more than earthly things: prestige, power, riches, etc.
• But it is still MORE valuable than all that. Buy it regardless of the price.

d. And once you get it, don’t ever SELL it.
• Don’t throw it away…
• Don’t sell it out… don’t turn your back on it.
• Don’t sell it for fear of losing friends or fortune or any earthly thing.
• Don’t let it slip through your fingers through neglect either.
• Don’t let it be snatched away through careless living.
• Keep it… guard it… just like you protect your property—items that you paid a hefty price to buy, you will take care of… protect…
• Items that you buy and realize the VALUE of, the need for, the usefulness of… you won’t sell. You will want to keep them.
• The same is true with truth, wisdom, and understanding.
• When Paul discovered the truth of Christ and the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, he wasn’t about to sell it. He continued to pay a price throughout his ministry.
• Good parents—even aging godly parents—want nothing more than for their children (even grown children) to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. They will continue to desire their kids to “buy the truth.”

3. The point here is that aging parents still have valuable advice and counsel to give.

a. And when they give that advice and counsel, BUY it—and don’t sell it.

b. Young adults should not consider the old age of their parents as a reason NOT to listen to their advice—but just the opposite.

c. Aging parents may not wear the latest styles. They may not be up on all the latest fads or technology.

d. But in the areas of life that really matter—they have valuable advice to give.

e. HEARKEN unto thy father… and don’t despise your mother when she is old.