Proverbs 19:13

A Foolish Son and a Nagging Wife


1. This proverb speaks about every man’s nightmare scenario.

2. Solomon knew the pain of this more than anyone. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. No doubt some of them were nags.

3. And with 700 wives and concubines, it goes without saying that he had many children… not all of whom were wise. Many of Solomon’s sons were foolish.

4. Solomon knew experientially what he describes in this proverb. He knew this calamity well.

The Foolish Son

1. Foolish:

a. fool, stupid fellow, dullard, simpleton, arrogant one

b. The term implies foolish rebellion.

c. This term for fool appears about 50 times in Proverbs. He is a common theme of the book.

d. The foolish son expresses his folly in any number of ways:
• He may be a rebel against authority—and in trouble with the law.
• He may refuse to listen to counsel—and end up eating the sour fruit of his own foolish ways.
• He may spend money foolishly—and always in debt… and thus in trouble…
• He may be lazy—unwilling to study at school; unwilling to work.
• He may be undisciplined—living a carefree life and not taking care of business, only to suffer for it later.
• He may be immoral—living a life of sin… which eventually will catch up to him.

2. A foolish son:

a. It’s bad enough that there are so many fools out there in the world. But it is far worse when one of them is your own son… your own flesh and blood!

b. That makes his folly all the more painful.

c. Nobody WANTS to have a foolish son.

d. However, it is such a common experience that Solomon writes about it over and over again in this book.

3. Eli had foolish and wicked sons.

a. I Sam. 3:13 – The REASON they were foolish was because Eli did not restrain them.

b. The foolish sons were obviously to blame for their vile behavior.

c. However, their father Eli was blameworthy as well.

d. Through a lack of discipline and training children can become what Solomon calls “foolish.” (Vile, sinful, immoral, ungodly).

e. The behavior of his foolish sons became a heavy burden on Eli the rest of his days.

4. However, other men have had foolish sons who DID discipline them.

a. Solomon speaks repeatedly in the book of Proverbs about sons who are well taught and disciplined, yet who do not RESPOND to their training… and they chafe under the discipline.

b. Prov. 1:24-25 – Wisdom was offered, but not received.

c. Prov. 10:17 – Some sons reject reproof and as a result, it causes them to err… to wander from the straight and narrow way.

d. Those sons have to learn the hard way. That process of learning the hard way is a CALAMITY to his father: painful.

e. It happens so very often, that in ONE family, some of the sons (or daughters!) submit to the training and do well. Others reject their training and become fools.

f. A foolish son is not necessarily a reflection on the parent—although parents almost always feel guilty about this… as though it was their fault.

g. The way to deal with that guilt is faith… BELIEVE what the Bible says about such fools.

h. Some become fools because of a LACK of training. Others who are well trained become fools because they REJECTED good training.

5. The TRAGEDY of it all.

a. Sometimes a foolish son is the parent’s fault (like Eli).

b. Sometimes it’s not the parent’s fault. But either way, the pain of a foolish son is the same.

c. It is a CALAMITY for the father.

d. Calamity defined:
• Strong’s: engulfing ruin, destruction
• Theological Workbook of the Old Testament: falling; a downfall, disaster

e. Regardless of HOW it came about, the bottom line is that it is painful for the father to see a son ruin his life.
• The father almost SHARES in his ruin… because in a sense, it has a ruining effect on the father’s life.
• He loves his son and wants the best for him… and what pain to see him suffer—especially when the suffering is due to his own folly… (alcohol, drugs, laziness, rebellion, criminal activity, etc.)
• Prov. 17:21, 25 – Consider the terms Solomon uses to describe the EFFECT of a wayward son on his parents: sorrow; no joy; grief; bitterness.
• Prov. 10:1 – Of course it is painful for the mother too… and Solomon mentions that elsewhere.
• It is a calamity; it is painful; it is heaviness; it is sorrow and grief; it is bitterness…
• Having a wayward son is like an open wound…
• We would do well to avoid PRYING and DIGGING into the open wounds of others.
• Even if our intentions are good, (prayer) our actions may be extremely painful to others.
• Nobody wants to have to keep on repeating the agonizing details of the awful condition of his wayward son!
• A foolish son is painful to his father.

The Contentious Wife

1. Contentious defined:

a. Strong’s: “brawling” twice, strife, contention.

b. Dissension, quarreling, disputing.

c. This term is used 9 times in the Bible, and ONLY in Proverbs.

d. 5 out of 9 times this term appears in the Bible it is used of a contentious, argumentative woman. (I’m not drawing conclusions; I’m just stating the facts:>)

e. Of course men can be contentious too.

2. Consider who wrote these Proverbs. Of all the Bible writers, only Solomon used this term… and most often he used it of a contentious woman.

a. Keep in mind this man had 700 wives and 300 concubines!

b. He had MORE than his share of nagging women.

c. The circumstances of Solomon’s life should mitigate a bit the fact that it was used so often about women.

d. Nagging wives was a subject Solomon knew all too well.

3. Polygamy was not God’s idea… and it was never a good idea.

a. Because it is not God’s plan, it is fraught with difficulties… and brings nothing but trouble to the home.

b. Imagine the in-house fighting that occurred with 700 wives! The jealousy, envy, selfishness, mischievousness, the backstabbing, the lying, gossip, slander, and bitterness that occurred in that home must have been unbearable!

c. No wonder Solomon felt like running away into the wilderness at times!

d. Prov. 21:19 – It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

4. The contentious woman is the wife who is constantly AT her husband for everything.

a. She does not allow him to have any peace.

b. She is constantly correcting him… pointing out his faults… reminding him of his failures… shortcomings… sins…

c. She remembers every tiny detail of every argument they have ever had… and she never fails to bring them all up… over and over again…

d. She has a “to do” list a mile long and badgers him over the things that he hasn’t yet done…

e. She nit picks every little thing he does or says…

5. This Solomon likens to a constant DRIPPING of water…

a. This likely had reference to a leaky roof. (Many of the roofs of common folks were made of sod—and would leak and drip when saturated from a heavy rainstorm.)

b. In fact, the sod roofs often leaked long after the storm was over!

c. The nagging wife is like the constant dripping of water…

d. We might liken it today to a leaky faucet—that endlessly drips is irritating and drives you crazy. That’s the point.

e. A nagging wife drives her husband crazy,

f. A nagging wife can wear her husband out with her nagging, as dripping water over time can wear out rocks!

g. If dripping water can wear out rocks, the nagging of a wife can certainly wear out the patience of her husband.

h. If the roof is continually leaking—it will eventually cause the house to ROT.

i. The continual dripping of a wife has been the ruin of many marriages. Some men get to the point where they can’t stand it any more and take off for the wilderness!

j. Knowing how damaging nagging can be to a relationship… how unbearable it can become for the husband… ladies would do well to take heed to Solomon’s warning here…

k. This proverb is more than simply stating facts. The facts are given as a warning… and appropriate action is expected to be taken where needed.

l. When someone tells you that faulty wiring can burn your house down, it is more than a fact. It is a warning—to take care of any faulty wiring you might have.

6. Solomon paints a sad picture here: a nightmare scenario for any man.

a. His son is behaving like a fool, which is like an open wound that continually causes pain….

b. And his wife is a nag… like continual dripping water…

c. This poor guy needs a break! He’s getting it from all sides.

d. If you know someone in this situation—PRAY for him. He needs it!

e. We don’t need to know all the gory details, but we can all pray for grace and strength. The Lord knows the situation.

f. If you are IN a situation like that, the Lord is sufficient. Come to the throne of grace daily—moment by moment…

g. And if you are CONTRIBUTING to this kind of a situation (a wayward child or a nagging wife), then take this proverb as a warning…

h. Your actions have a deep and lasting effect on others.

i. Your actions COULD become the downfall of a family.

j. Take heed all around!