The father-son relationship is important throughout Proverbs. Over 25 times, a message is specifically directed from dad to one or more of his boys.
This wise saying discussed that relationship and, as usual it’s the son’s thinking and behaviors that’s in focus.
The first line discussed “a discerning son” or a “son with understanding.” It’s reasonable that such a contemplative guy “heeds instruction” — he’s apparently learned much from others and will continue to do so.
The second son is also connected — “a companion of gluttons!” While we always think of food with “gluttons,” the term actually relates to the lack of appreciation for and abuse of anything.
Consequently, this son “disgraces his father.” He neither appreciates the things he has (“glutton”) nor the people in his life (“his father”).
This wise saying offers a couple of insights for me.
The first has to do with the company we keep. Both sons operated in the context of others and, in each case, those folks had a significant impact in both boy’s lives.
Secondly, I am not — as English poet, clergyman and politician John Donne once wrote — “an island entire unto itself.” My choices affect others…generally those who know me best and love me most!