A prudent servant will rule over a disgraceful son and will share the inheritance as one of the family.
This verse is about two different guys: “a prudent servant” and “a disgraceful son.” While not necessarily in an enviable situation, the servant is called “prudent.” It suggests the smarts to learn, grow and change.
The son, on the other hand, is and does “disgraceful” things. From his position of privilege – sons stood to inherit everything their father owned – he could experience and accomplish so much.
Sadly, from his advantages in life, this son didn’t seem to learn anything. It seems he probably caused plenty of difficulties for everyone.
The result of our wise saying is that this servant winds up with the responsibility to “rule over” the disgraceful son. He also ends up with an “inheritance as one of the family”
The son, on the other hand, does not seem to lose his sonship inheritance, but would apparently have to share part of it with the servant. Even worse, he finds himself ruled over by this prudent servant.
It doesn’t do us much good in life to see ourselves as victims. This servant didn’t see himself that way and made the most of his opportunities.
The son’s change of situation was the result of his own disgraceful choices – so he wasn’t a victim. But he did have to live with the consequences of those choices.
It’s an age-old story…people going in different directions – based on their own choices. We all fit somewhere in this proverb and we can each chose to do something about it, if we want to!