Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.
Here are two sins. Robbing a father or mother is a very wicked crime, for the child is already in debt to them for his whole life. But to minimize or mock such a heinous sin is even worse. God shall judge such perverse fools with the severity He judges murderers.
The LORD God commanded, “Thou shalt not steal” (Ex 20:15; Deut 5:19). Stealing was punished by multiple restitution depending on the circumstances. If a man could not pay, he was sold as a slave to pay it off by hard labor (Pr 6:31; Ex 22:1-4). He was not given a private room at a boarding house, fed three square meals a day, and allowed to play basketball and read magazines all day, as in most modern prison systems.
But to steal from a father or mother is a very aggravated case of theft. A child is already in perpetual debt to parents for having conceived, carried, birthed, trained, and provided for him (I Tim 5:4). It shows a dead conscience and a perverse soul. The natural obligation to cherish parents is rejected, and ingratitude is added to injustice. There is no limit to the wickedness that such a base person will degenerate to in his profane greed.
The history of the patriarchs is often the sad story of horrible sins. In light of this proverb, you can see Rachel stealing her father’s idols, hiding them from his search, and deceiving him with false propriety (Gen 31:19,34-35). Is it any wonder she died shortly thereafter in much pain, and quite prematurely, with the birth of her second son (Gen 35:16-20)?
But this proverb’s profane sinner is not content stealing from parents. He also ridicules the seriousness of the crime. He presumes that what they have is his, and he need not feel any guilt for taking it for himself. He would be offended to be called a thief and robber, but the Lord counts him as a wicked man and will deal with him accordingly (Pr 21:7).
While domestic crimes may be minimized in some circles, since they are merely family matters, they are not minimized in God’s holy word. Base men might reason that it is not much of a crime, since children are heirs of the family estate anyway. They are simply taking early what they will have in the end. But God and Solomon righteously classify this despicable person as the companion of a destroyer.
What is a destroyer in this context, and what does comparing a person that steals from his parents mean? A destroyer here may range from a common highway robber or house thief to an arsonist (who maliciously destroys property) or murderer (who maliciously destroys life). The point being made is that stealing from your parents does not at all mitigate the crime but rather aggravates it in the sight of God and men.
How can a person rob his father or mother? He can literally steal their assets, whether it is money from a mother’s purse or a credit card from a father’s wallet. He can take tools, food, jewelry, furnishings, pictures, or many other things without permission. If purloining from a master is condemned, how much more small thefts from a parent (Tit 2:9-10)? Every wise reader will confess any such sin to his Heavenly Father and make full restitution to his parents, even if the crime occurred decades ago.
How can a person rob father or mother? He can abuse family assets like house and cars; he can neglect caring for the things given to him by his parents; he can squander the money given to him for his future; he can party at college instead of doing his academic best; he can waste his parents’ estate by riotous living; he can run up debts his father must pay; he can ruin his father’s credit by not repaying loans on a timely basis; he can rob his father’s good name by his foolish conduct!
How can a person rob father or mother? He can be lazy at home, costing his parents extra effort and/or expense. He can be slothful academically, getting himself behind schedule at securing a transferable skill, costing his parents more now and later. He can be less than his best professionally, requiring parental assistance in the future that other young men earn themselves. These are examples of how a child may waste parents (Pr 19:26).
How can a person rob father or mother? He can withhold the honor, service, and support they deserve in old age. God considers stinginess at such a time to be a denial of the Christian faith and worse conduct than an infidel (I Tim 5:8). Let the noble example of Joseph nourishing his father Jacob in Egypt be your guide (Ge 45:9-13; 47:11-12,27-28).
In Jesus’ day, wicked Jews promised or willed their assets to the temple in order to keep from supporting their parents. The blessed Lord condemned them for their false piety and charged them with violating God’s plain commandment to honor parents (Matt 15:1-9). Even though the stated purpose was giving to God, it did not matter in Christ’s judgment.
God is not mocked by such fools! They will be severely judged. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7). “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23). “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” (Pr 30:17). Amen! There is a God in heaven that does not cater to willful children!
Our Lord Jesus Christ was in subjection to His parents while a child (Luke 2:51). And He diligently provided for His mother, even while expiring on the cross (John 19:26-27). He never robbed them of a thing, and He highly honored them for their relationship to Him. Let every reader consider this noble example and fulfill it perfectly with his own parents.