Wisdom’s Journey: Proverbs 19:18

Terri Gillespie Wisdom’s Journey Through Proverbs

Today’s Blog: Balance?

TODAY’S PROVERB: Discipline your son while there is hope. Do not set your heart on his death. Proverbs 19:18, TLV

Over the years I’ve read this proverb and made my assumptions that it was another iteration of “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” (Proverbs 13:24). However, this particular verse is a bit more complex — and open to other interpretations.

Discipline is the foundation of childhood, and grows with us into adulthood. Spanking has become controversial, and while I’m not intimidated by the controversy, it’s not what I intent to discuss here.

The complexity of this proverb is in the second sentence. I was surprised to discover that commentators and scholars are split on its interpretation. While most lean toward the “spare the rod, destroy the child,” they don’t eliminate another interpretation.

This literal translation of the Hebrew is said to be “do not lift up thy soul.” Meaning, a caution to not chastise in anger. It’s not too far of a step into, “do not abuse your child.”

Interesting. For every over-indulgent parent, there are those who are so angry the punishment turns to abuse.

The balance . . .

It’s important to remember that raising up Godly human beings is not so much about taming rowdy and sinful behavior — or creating a quiet home. Truly, it’s a partnership with our children’s Creator. He’s given us a wealth of insights into good parenting and poor parenting. He’s provided instruction in Proverbs, the Commandments, in Yeshua’s teachings, the Epistles, etc.

And then there’s the issue of the heart. Ours, our children’s.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they will not become discouraged.”


Just as our Heavenly Father sees us as individuals, seeks to help us be all He created us to be, encourages and disciplines us when we need it, we as parents should do the same. It’s not a cookie-cutter process. This takes prayer and faith and intention.

Our most precious resource and treasure are our children. What if we treated them as such? What if we helped parents, instead of criticizing them. Think of raising up new generations on fire for the LORD — young people unique in their calling — how exciting that would be.

May our children receive all they need to be, to be who God created them to be, my friends.

Proverbs 19:18 Tree of Life Version – TLV, #tlvbible#tlvproverbs