The Meaning of Proverbs 15:20 Explained

Proverbs 15:20

KJV: A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.

YLT: A wise son rejoiceth a father. And a foolish man is despising his mother.

Darby: A wise son maketh a glad father; but a foolish man despiseth his mother.

ASV: A wise son maketh a glad father; But a foolish man despiseth his mother.

What does Proverbs 15:20 Mean?

Verse Meaning

The full thought behind this verse seems to be, "The wise son honors and gladdens his father, the foolish laughs at and saddens his mother." [1] It may imply that the fool is callous toward his mother. [2]

Context Summary

Proverbs 15:18-33 - Words In Season
Learn to be slow to anger. This paragraph describes the even temper which is blessed to live with and blessed to die with. Temper is said to be nine-tenths of Christianity. What best proves a Christian is an even temper. It is told of a Japanese gentleman, who was led by a tract to renounce the use of intoxicants and to accept Jesus Christ, that the immediate effect on his temper was so great that his wife, who had often suffered from his uncontrollable fits of anger, said, "If this is the result of Christianity, I want to become a Christian." When the missionaries afterward visited the place, they found her and ten other persons awaiting baptism.
As these proverbs suggest, the quickest method of overcoming and eradicating the wrong is, in the power of God, to cultivate the right. By this we shall tread the way of the wise that goeth upward toward the heavenly life of the angels, and we shall be saved from a hell of misery. See Proverbs 15:24, r.v. Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3:1. [source]

Chapter Summary: Proverbs 15

1  A gentle answer turns away wrath

What do the individual words in Proverbs 15:20 mean?

A son wise makes glad a father but foolish a man despises his mother
בֵּ֣ן חָ֭כָם יְשַׂמַּח־ אָ֑ב וּכְסִ֥יל אָ֝דָ֗ם בּוֹזֶ֥ה אִמּֽוֹ

בֵּ֣ן  A  son 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: בֵּן 
Sense: son, grandson, child, member of a group.
חָ֭כָם  wise 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular
Root: חָכָם  
Sense: wise, wise (man).
יְשַׂמַּח־  makes  glad 
Parse: Verb, Piel, Imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: שָׂמַח  
Sense: to rejoice, be glad.
אָ֑ב  a  father 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: אָב  
Sense: father of an individual.
וּכְסִ֥יל  but  foolish 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Noun, masculine singular
Root: כְּסִיל  
Sense: fool, stupid fellow, dullard, simpleton, arrogant one.
אָ֝דָ֗ם  a  man 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: אָדָם 
Sense: man, mankind.
בּוֹזֶ֥ה  despises 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular
Root: בָּזָה 
Sense: to despise, hold in contempt, disdain.
אִמּֽוֹ  his  mother 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular construct, third person masculine singular
Root: אֵם  
Sense: mother.