"He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father"
This is a contrasting proverb that puts two very different actions in juxtaposition. It is always instructive what the proverb says but also what the proverbs contrasts, connects, compares, or condemns.
he who keeps the law is a discerning son
The word keep is nasar in the Hebrew, which means to watch over, to protect, to keep in view.
The word law is the Hebrew word torah, which is the body of revealed law, usually compressed into its enduring moral components to the Ten Commandments.
It may be helpful to just add a note of explanation to a New Testament understanding of the law. Traditionally there has been a realization that there are four aspects to the whole of the Mosaic Law: the moral law, the civil law, the sacrificial law, and the ceremonial law. Each of these components are part of the revelation given to Moses and the Jewish people. When Jesus the Christ came, He completely fulfilled all aspects of the Law and was the perfect man. He was the fulfillment of the Law. Our approach to God comes through His fulfillment of the Law. Therefore, our keeping of the Law is through Him in the New Testament. So the Law has not been set aside; it has been fulfilled in Christ. But are there any lasting aspects of the law that impact the Christian and Christian society? Yes.
The moral law or the Ten Commandments are still the moral and ethical boundaries that each person should not cross. We should follow the moral law because it clearly shows us how to live personally and collectively in harmony, but we do not follow the Ten Commandments to try and earn favor with God. All our favor with God was earned through Jesus Christ. As we love Him and follow Him, we please God. The civil law – the outworking of the Ten Commandments – boundaries to a governmental level; the information. This portion of the law still needs to be lived out in order to produce a peaceful and secure society.
The sacrificial law – which is the law regarding the sacrifices – was fulfilled in Christ as the perfect sacrifice. We look at those laws to understand the depth of Christ's sacrifice, but we do not perform them.
The ceremonial or ritualistic law was also completely fulfilled in Christ. These are the laws that were designed to make the Jewish people a unique people, clothing, food, etc. laws. Jesus himself lifts these laws off His followers, as He is the perfect fulfillment of the righteous man. When the reality is present, one does not stare at shadows.
So to sum up... In the New Testament, Jesus perfectly keeps the Law and is the only reason that Christians can come into the presence of the Almighty, but the moral law or the Ten Commandments are still applicable as outside edges or boundaries to the righteous life. We are to be guided by the Spirit of Christ to do acts of goodness inside those boundaries.
The word translated discerning in this verse is the word bin, which is usually translated understanding. It means perception, understanding, the ability to distinguish between, seeing connections.
This verse section of the proverb states that the person who stays within the boundaries of the Ten Commandments is a person who realizes the connection between staying within God's moral boundaries and a great life. Some people, on the other hand, never perceive that connection. They just think that bad stuff just happens to them instead of the fact that they keep wandering outside of God's moral boundary structure or have chosen to live out there.
If, as you read this devotional, you find yourself outside of the boundaries of the Ten Commandments, then admit that is where you are. Ask God to forgive you through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and allow the Spirit of Christ to guide you to a lifestyle and choices that will be inside of the Ten Commandments and doing good for others.
Here is quick review of the Ten Commandments. You are outside of God's moral boundaries:
If you have placed something or someone as more important in your life than God.
If you have worshipped an idol of another religion or an idol of the one true God.
If you have cursed or sworn using God's name.
If you have failed to worship God at least one day during the week.
If you have refused to add value to the God-given authorities in your life.
If you have been violently angry with another person to get your own way – especially to the point of murder.
If you have taken someone else's possessions, relationships, or resources deceptively or fraudulently or in an unfair manner.
If you have distorted the truth or outright lied to benefit yourself.
If you have refused to be content with what God has already given you and fixated on wanting the blessings God has given someone else.
but he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father
On a number of levels this is an interesting proverb.
The word companion is the word rea which means friend, neighbor, companion, close associate, friend. It is the word used in Leviticus 19:18 in the second great commandment: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. In this instance it seems to be a close association between people.
The word translated glutton is the Hebrew word zullut which means worthless, vile, squander. Glutton is an inference based upon three verses where the word appears: Deuteronomy 21:20; Proverbs 23:20-21; 28:7. The word deals with a type of lifestyle that goes beyond how much food one consumes. It is more about the fact that this person produces nothing. They are worthless and twist everything to a selfish purpose. They are perverted consumers and do not add to the society or their families. These would be people who just consume; this is where the idea gluttony comes from. The point of the verse and the word is more about the lifestyle choices of worthlessness than about how much you eat. You could eat huge amounts of food and even be overweight and not be this word for if you are productive and loving and engaged in the promotion of the public good, you would be righteous not worthless. This worthless type of person feeds off the work of others; parties with other's money; moves from party to party and feast to feast; consuming, rarely if ever producing; addicted to pursuing personal pleasure.
The word humiliates is the Hebrew word kalam which means shame, ashamed, dishonor, reproach. This is wounding of the reputation through public humiliation.
Note that Solomon is pointing out in this proverb to the young person that you humiliate your father when you are close friends with this worthless party animal. He does not say that you humiliate your father when you do it yourself, although this is a given. He is trying to catch the young person and get them thinking before they get that far. DON'T HANG OUT WITH THIS KIND OF PERSON.
Parenting is seeing a problem before it is a problem. Parenting is asking, “How can I steer my child away from danger before it comes so they do not have to experience it first-hand?” Too often, in parenting today, we wait until the child is in trouble before we act. No, influence the choices they are making early. Get them to see that just hanging out with these people is humiliation.