Proverbs 17:21-24
Prov 17:21 (KJB)
He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.
Sorrow - Grief
One of the strongest principles in family life is that the children do affect the parents. Here we read that one who brings a fool into the world will have much grief or sorrow. A father normally takes pride in his son as he sees him attempting to make his own mark in the world but one who has a fool for a son will have no joy concerning that child. This verse might be a verse of effect and the cause may be the fact that the parents never disciplined their children. Maybe the father made many foolish decisions in his life and his son followed in those footsteps. This resulted in the son adopting the foolish ways of the father or it could mean that the son had befriended some fools and learned their ways. Either way, a fool or a person of wisdom is trained in one of those tracks. King David obviously did not discipline his sons and they were fools. (2 Sam 18:33 KJV) And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! 2 Samuel 18:33 reveals how Absalom lost his life in his rebellion against his father. If he would have been disciplined, he may have been more obedient. Then Amnon, the other son had raped his half sister Tamar. (2 Sam 13:11 KJV) And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister. Both of these situations were effects and not causes. The cause was no discipline and the effect was the death of both of these sons of David.
Prov 17:22 (KJB)
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
Merry - Joyful
Medicine - Cure
Broken spirit - Defeated or dejected spirit
Drieth - Wither
A person that is truly joyful will actually have a better chance of experiencing physical healing. It is because of their optimistic outlook, they tend to heal faster. On the other hand, a person who suffers from chronic depression or discouragement will be like a person whose bones have withered. If the bones whither, then the person loses all ability to stand up and be active. Of course, this is speaking figuratively that those who are pessimistic on life will always seem to be in some type of depression. This verse has a definite focus on salvation. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and only the saved will have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The soul which was dead before salvation will be cured or made whole when a person becomes saved. (1 Pet 2:24 KJV) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. Our souls were healed when we became saved and that was like a medicine. The unbeliever only sees the things in this world and as a result of such limited sight, they become withered or dejected because all they see is what this world has to offer. Once they believe they have experienced all the world has to offer, then there is nothing else and many become despondent and even take their life. The unbeliever does not realize it but the Gospel is the only true medicine this world has, because its cure is eternal.
Prov 17:23 (KJB)
A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.
(Micah 3:11 KJV) The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us. The book of Micah was written about 200 years after Proverbs was penned. God condemned the practice of giving or receiving a bribe. Micah condemned the practice as the heads of Israel were granting their judgments in favor of receiving the bribe. They probably thought that they were getting away with it and that nobody had seen them but to their chagrin, the Lord sees every transaction. (Isa 29:15 KJV) Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? The Bible declares these people as wicked and this is why when the wicked rule, the people are in distress. The wicked are for sale and so is their integrity.
Prov 17:24 (KJB)
Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
Before him - Face or facing toward
Wisdom to a person who is saved, that has understanding, is always before him because he knows how to understand and seize it. The wise man recognizes this wisdom and adds it to his spiritual repository. The wise man continues to become wiser because they live to appropriate true wisdom. On the other hand, the fool does not recognize true wisdom and that is why he is restless in the area of always searching for something he thinks is wisdom and that will satisfy him. The Proverb states that he is looking to the ends of the earth which means he will never find stability or peace in his search because he is always on the go. When he encounters true wisdom, he does not recognize it and rejects it. This verse also has a tremendous spiritual teaching. The true Gospel is always recognized by the one who is already saved and they continue to grow in it as they grow in grace and knowledge. The unbeliever does not see the Gospel as having true spiritual value so they will go to the ends of the earth and search false religions. How many have gone to India on so-called “spiritual pilgrimages” or who have adopted false religions like Buddhism or Hinduism taught by Gurus which have migrated to this country. The fool searches all these out hoping to find something to cling to and all the while he had, right in his backyard, but rejected the Bible tract he was given and thus causes him to continually look to the ends of the earth.