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Parental Principles, Teachings, and Rules are to Guide and Protect the Child
Proverbs 6:20-22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
20 My son, My child, keep the commandment of your father,
and forsake not the teaching of your mother.
21 Bind them on your heart continually;
tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, she will lead you;
when you lie down, she will watch over you;
and when you awake, she will talk with you.
My son, My child, keep the commandment of your father: Here the Hebrew noun commandment (miṣ·wā(h)) is an authoritative direction or instruction, given as a prescription from the one with the authority or power to a person under the authority or control of another within an organization or a family. – 1 Sam. 13:13; 1 Ki 2:43.
And forsake not the teaching of your mother: The sense of forsaking (Heb. nā·ṭǎš) is to abandon, to leave behind. The son would be very foolish to abandon such warm loving communication and instruction from the mother, which are the building blocks of a balanced attitude toward life.
Bind them on your heart continually: Bind … heart is a figurative way of saying “Remember their words always” (ERV), “Keep their words with you always” (GNT), or “always keep it in mind.” (CEV)
Tie them around your neck: Tie … neck is a figurative way of saying “keep in mind everything they tell you” (TLB), “Let [commandments and teachings] be as if they were tied around your neck” (ICB), or “and never forget it.” (CEV) The neck in Bible times was where beautiful and precious ornaments were worn, such as the necklace, so you should display by way of your conduct the commandments of the father and the laws (teachings) of the mother prominently. The importance of the discipline and authority of the father and the mother (and more significantly the value of God’s commandments and laws) is being emphasized by tying them around the neck.
When you walk, she will lead you: Here she is referring to the father’s commandments and the mother’s teaching, with walk suggesting that the son or child, or student, the one learning is behind the one who is guiding or leading, that is, the father’s authoritative direction or instruction and the mother teachings, as well as God’s commandments and laws.
When you lie down, she will watch over you: Again, she is referring to the father’s commandments and the mother’s teachings, with lying down suggesting that the son or child, or student, the one learning is being protected (watched over) at their most vulnerable times in life by the commands and instructions of the father and the teachings of the mother.
And when you awake, she will talk with you: Once more, she is referring to the father’s commandments and the mother’s teachings, with when you awake suggesting that the son or child, or student, the one learning is being guided at each new stage of their life by the commands and instructions of the father and the teachings of the mother. Here talk is not verbal communication between two people but refers to instruction, advice, or counsel that the young one receives from the parent, or that faithful servants receive from God.
Here with verse 20 through chapter 7, we begin a journey of counsel and insight that is penned to help the young overcome or avoid sexual immorality. Throughout the Bible, obedience to parents is coupled with subjection to God. The parents of the ancient Israelites were obligated by the Law to teach their children. Moses encouraged fathers, “these words that I am commanding you today shall be on your heart. And you shall recite them to your children, and you shall talk about them at the time of your living in your house and at the time of your going on the road and at the time of your lying down and at the time of your rising up.” (Deut. 6:6-7) The mother had an impact on her children as well. While she contributed to their guidance and direction, it was under the headship of the Father, she would enforce the family law. In fact, in the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, the reader will discover that the main educational influence is the family.
The Word of God should be deeply embedded within the heart of the child from the beginning, which will only happen if the parent(s) are consistent with their message. The significance of the correction and parental authority of the parent(s) (as well as God’s Word) is stressed by the exhortation to ‘tie them upon your neck,’ where beautiful and precious jewelry was worn. (Pro. 1:8, 9; 3:1-3; 6:20, 21) When the young child is walking, that is “to go about; to go to and fro” through life, she (the commandments and instructions of verse 20), will lead the child (Deut. 6:7) When the child lays down each evening, one his parents should close out his day in prayer with him, which will become a lifelong practice. A parent can share some of God’s Word with their child after he awakes, before the start of their day. In this way, God’s Word, the commands of the father, and the instruction of the mother will lay a foundation that will help the child to walk with God for life.