Its a rich feast, too dense to consume, the courses start to pass by in a blur. But the consequences of missing these messages are dire: snares of death, destruction.
The most famous in this chapter is I suspect: ‘Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.’ The words that launched 1000 fascist households. I mean, I’m a relatively laissez-faire parent, but I discipline my children, its inevitable, they are idiots.
Most of the proverbs are contrasting couplets… this is good, that is bad. The ones that aren’t take you by surprise – ‘A person’s riches may ransom their life, but the poor cannot respond to threatening rebukes.’ – sucks to be rich, but also sucks to be poor. Brutal!
‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.’ Its a subtle one. So many of the proverbs are about avoiding instant gratification, playing the long game. They aren’t actually contrasting statement, it isn’t an argument against deferring hope. Its expressing empathy for how hard it is, but saying that its worth it when the longing is fulfilled.
And that is the meta message of this chapter, don’t go for the easy win, take it slow, bit by bit, and you’ll get the rewards in the long run.
Speaks to me as I settle into the expectation of a secure, but not high, income, and start to discipline our spending. Impulse buys, begone! ‘Whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow…’