24 Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
25 The righteous eat to their hearts’ content,
but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry.
Love and hate are feelings, but they are also actions. Discipline may be painful, for parent and child alike, but it is also an act of love. Though it takes time, the feeling follows the act, and love grows between parent and child through discipline. “A wise son brings joy to his father,” as he becomes a man worthy of respect and capable of love. “But a foolish man,” whose childhood folly was left unchecked, “despises his mother.” Here too feeling follows act, but the opportunity for love has been squandered, and there is neither love nor respect between child and parent.
“The righteous eat to their hearts’ content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry.” Both harvest what they have sown, one in diligence and the other in deceit. The righteous are satisfied with what they produce, but the cravings of the wicked are never fulfilled. This is as much a matter of the heart as it is of the stomach, one is filled with gratitude and the other with resentment. Gratitude drives the righteous to pursue what is good, while the wicked become slaves of their own perverse cravings.