A Generation of Disrespectful Rebels
1. In verses 11-14, Agur lists four things that are deadly to any nation or society.
a. Vs. 11 – They curse their parents.
b. Vs. 12 – They are pure in their own eyes.
c. Vs. 13 – They are proud.
d. Vs. 14 – They devour the poor.
2. The author simply notes the FACT that such things exist.
a. He does say what to do about it.
b. He doesn’t offer advice or counsel.
c. He doesn’t give any commands.
d. He doesn’t even really denounce it.
e. He simply states “what is.”
f. Of course there is an implied denunciation of these things, though not stated.
3. He repeats the expression, “there is a generation.”
a. He uses this expression to denote the fact that such a class of people exist. Such a segment of society exists.
b. He doesn’t seem to be speaking about any particular generation in time (like the 1960’s generation, generation X, or the Millennials).
c. Rather he uses the expression to identify the fact that at any given period in history, there has always been such a class or category of people.
d. That is because the things he describes are part of human nature. It has been repeated generation after generation.
e. The evil traits Agur describes have existed ever since the fall. It is nothing new. He simply wants us all to know that it exists: it was true of my generation and of many generations before that. And it still exists. Even today, “there is a generation” like this.
f. Ecc. 1:9 – “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
g. What Agur states in this proverb doesn’t apply to every young person—but there is a segment of society that fits the bill.
Vs. 11 – There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.
The first negative trait that Agur describes is that which might be called “parent abuse” today.
They Curse Their Father
a. There is a connection between vs. 10 and 11 by the usage of this term “curse.”
• In vs. 10 it was a servant cursing.
• Here it is an ungrateful child cursing.
b. Curse defined: Despise; bring into contempt; make light of; lightly esteem; slight; dishonor; revile.
c. I Sam. 17:43 – Used to show great contempt for and anger against someone. “And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. 43And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed (same term) David by his gods.”
2. The Scriptures are pretty clear about the respect that children should give to their parents.
a. Col. 3:20 – “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.”
b. Eph. 6:2 – “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise.)”
c. Lev. 19:3 – “Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.”
d. Lev. 19:32 – “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.”
e. Prov. 16:31 – “The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.”
f. These passages are not ambiguous or difficult to understand.
g. God’s plan is for children to honor their parents; for the youth to respect the elderly; for old age and wisdom to be admired.
h. And it stands as a rather blatant rebuke to our culture that in this generation, purely pagan cultures (as in Japan or even in the much less sophisticated tribal cultures of jungle regions) seem to demonstrate much more respect for parents and the elderly than our own culture—which is supposedly heavily influenced by Christianity—the truth.
i. In this respect, those pagan cultures are much closer to this important Biblical concept—God’s plan for society—than our own society. Shame on us!
j. Job 32:6-7 – In ancient times it was common knowledge among the youth that they should respect their elders. Elders were not always perfect, but they did have wisdom to share.
• “And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion. 7I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.”
• “The multitude of years should teach wisdom.” Everyone knew that in those days.
k. But for some strange reason, we have reversed what the Bible says.
• Instead of honoring the “hoary head” (elderly), we honor the youth. We glorify youth.
• We gear our society around trying to “connect with the youth,” trying to “understand” the youth, trying to “appeal to the youth.”
l. This is exactly backwards.
• The youth should try to understand their elders.
• The church is to be led by “elders” not the youth. That is because those with a multitude of years should teach wisdom. The youth should try to “understand” the older, more mature, and wiser men.
• The youth should try to “connect” with their elders.
» Titus 2:4 – Young Christian women should connect with older Christian women who were to “teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
» Titus 2:6 – The older men were to exhort the young men in all the issues of life they may face.
3. The Scriptures are pretty clear about the consequences of a lack of respect that children give to their parents.
a. 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.”
b. Prov. 20:20 – “Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.”
c. Lev. 20:9 – “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.”
d. Deut. 21:20-21 – “And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”
e. Deut. 27:16 – “Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.”
f. Note that the Law not only required severe penalties, but that the Law required the community to participate in the execution of it—and required the community to be in agreement with it, by saying, “Amen.”
g. “Cursing” or “demeaning” one’s parents is not treated mildly in the Scriptures. God observes everything.
They Do Not Bless Their Mother
1. Agur states that “There is a generation that… doth not bless their mother.”
a. They may not curse their mother (which evidently would be an even more depraved expression of rebellion), but they don’t bless her either.
b. The point is that they SHOULD bless their mother.
c. In Prov. 31:28 we read about what children should do with respect to their mothers: “Her children arise up, and call her blessed.”
d. Agur’s point is that there is a generation (a class of young people) who don’t bless their mothers.
e. They don’t thank her; they don’t praise her; they don’t appreciate her or her labors in the home; they don’t even seem to care about her.
f. The fact that they don’t curse her does not mean that they respect and honor her as the Law of Moses and the law of decency required.
2. Agur’s point in the proverb is that such things DO exist.
a. In a culture like his that emphasized showing respect and honor to the aged, it might seem incredible that such a thing could exist—but it does.
b. Charles Bridges quote: “Solon (a pagan ruler) was asked why he made no law concerning parricides (children who kill their parents) and he replied that he could never conceive of anyone ever being so impious or cruel.”
c. God knows human nature better. He knows exactly what our fallen natures are capable of: the heart is desperately wicked!
d. Agur, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote that such a generation exists. There is a segment of society so depraved that they do treat parents with contempt.