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Document Details :
Title: 'He Who Torments His Father and Drives Away His Mother is a Son Who Causes Shame and Brings Disgrace' (Prov 19:26)
Subtitle: Violation of the Widowed Mother's Rights - Social and Legal Aspects
Author(s): JACOBSEN, Lea
Journal: Bibliotheca Orientalis
Volume: 75 Issue: 5-6 Date: 2018
In the Book of Proverbs the son is warned against harming parents living together and the validity of the warning is understood also when one of them is no longer alive. However, one verse 'He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother is a son who causes shame and brings reproach' (Prov 19:26), deals with a son who acts violently toward his parents during their lifetime and after the father's death harms his mother even more intensely because of her new status as a widow. In this article I suggest reading this verse as 'He who does violence to his father and chases away his [widowed] mother is a son who causes shame and brings reproach'. Such a reading sharpens the author’s rebuke of the son by expressing his lack of conscience and greedy behavior towards his parents. The son exploits his father’s weakness, takes over his assets and acts to expand his control after the father’s death, also over his widowed mother’s property to which she is entitled. In order to achieve this goal, he makes her life miserable and causes her long and endless anguish that leaves her no choice but to flee in destitute.