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I Have Paid a High Price
Proverbs 5:12-13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
And you say, “How I hated discipline: Here hated (שָׂנֵא sane) has an emotion ranging from disliking intensely, abhor, detest, loathe, open hostility, antipathy or aversion towards a person or thing, but in other places it can have the weaker sense of being “set against,” also being toward a person or thing. Discipline (מוּסָר musar) is repeatedly mentioned throughout the book of Proverbs. In the Scriptures, discipline often carries the sense of correction, admonition, rebuke, or chastisement. It is the practice or methods of teaching and enforcing acceptable patterns of behavior: correction, admonition, or modification, whether it is self-discipline or the discipline of another. According to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, it “denotes the training of the moral nature, involving the correcting of waywardness toward folly.” (Garland and Longman 2008, 48) Do we need this training? Whether we are disciplining ourselves or are being disciplined by another, grasping the counsel within the Scriptures and then applying it in our lives moves us to become better servants of God. If we are to move over from inherited death to life, we need discipline. – Prov. 1:3; 3:11; 5:12
And my heart despised reproof: Here the Hebrew term (נָאַץ naats) for despise has the meaning of looking down on with contempt, to scorn, reject, spurn, strong dislike, which matches hatred from line 1. Here reproof (תּוֹכַחַת tokachath) has the sense of an act or an expression of criticism or disapproval, even condemnation. It is speaking strong words of disapproval, which may also include punishment. – Ps 39:12; Prov. 1:23, 25, 30; 3:11; 5:12; 6:23; 10:17; 12:1; 13:18; 15:5, 10, 31, 32; 27:5; 29:1, 15; Ezek. 5:15.
I did not listen to the voice of my teachers: The Hebrew term (שָׁמַע shama) means to listen, to hear, to pay close attention, and respond, heed, or obey on the basis of having heard. In other words, you did not obey the words of the instructions from the teacher, or you did not pay attention to the words of the teacher.
Or incline my ear to my instructors: The Hebrew (נָטָה natah) incline is when one leans their ear in the speaker’s direction so that they can hear better. This is simply a more literary way of saying be attentive or pay attention. You need to carefully listen to the instructor and heed his words.
Regret is all you have left, so you start in with the “only If” or “why did I not.” You ask yourself, why did I reject corrective counsel? Why did I not listen to my teachers? Why did I not take the instructors’ words seriously? Why did I allow the strange woman to have her way with me? Why have I ruined my life? It is all too little too late, as I have failed to heed the voices of reason and logic. My life has been one of regret where had I listened to the teachers and instructors instead of stubbornly discarding their counsel, life would not have been one disaster after another. My conscience has condemned me late in life, and my long hatred for the instructors and teachers is regretful. I have failed to obey my teachers, instructors, and father.