Proverbs 30:17

17 “The eye that mocks a father, that scorns an aged mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures.

Read Proverbs 30:17 Using Other Translations

The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.
The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.
The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother’s instructions will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures.

What does Proverbs 30:17 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Proverbs 30:17

The eye [that] mocketh at [his] father
At his advice, admonitions, and instructions; looks upon him with scorn and disdain, and treats him as a weak, silly, old man: here Agur returns to the first generation he had observed; and despiseth to obey [his] mother;
her orders and commands: or, "the obedience of his mother" F19; her discipline and instruction, having no regard to it. The word is rendered "gathering" in ( Genesis 49:10 ) ; and Jarchi interprets it of the gathering of wrinkles in her face: and so the Targum, Arabic, and Syriac versions render it, "the old age of his mother"; despising her as an old foolish woman; see ( Proverbs 23:22 ) ; (qhl) , in the Ethiopic language, signifies to "grow old", from whence the word here used, by a transposition of letters, may be derived; and Mr. Castell F20 observes, that the royal prophet, among others, seems to have taken this word from the queen of Sheba; the ravens of the valley, shall pick it out, and the young eagles
shall eat it;
it signifies, that such persons shall come to an untimely end, and an ignominious death; either be drowned in a river, when floating upon it, or cast upon the banks of it, the ravens that frequent such places, and are most cruel and voracious, should feed upon them: or they should be hanged on a tree, or be crucified F21, where birds of prey would light upon them; and particularly pick out their eyes and eat them, as being softest and sweetest to them; therefore first aim at them, and of which birds, and especially ravens, are very fond F23; and is a just retaliation for their scornful and disdainful looks at their parent. This may figuratively design the black devils of hell, the posse of them in the air, who are sometimes compared to the fowls thereof; to whom such unnatural and disobedient children shall become a prey; see ( Matthew 13:4 Matthew 13:19 ) .


F19 (Ma thqyl) "obediantiam matris", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis; "doctrinam", Vatablus, Tigurine version; "disciplinam", Castalio; "obsequium matris", Schultens.
F20 Lexic. col. 1960.
F21 "Non pasces in cruce corvos", Horat. Ep. 16. ad Quinctium, v. 48.
F23 "Hic prior in cadaveribus oculum petit", Isidor. Origin. l. 12. c. 7. "Effossos oculos vorat corvus", Catullus ad Cominium, Ep. 105. v. 5.
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