Stripes that wound scour away evil, And strokes reach the innermost parts. Proverbs 20:30
Physical punishment . . . here is a topic that brings out the most strident opposition in a lot of people. When it refers to children some call it child abuse - and when it comes to the punishment of those who break the law the phrase "cruel and unusual punishment" is used. So what exactly is God's take on the idea of corporal punishment and some kind of physical response to disobedience and criminal activity?
There are two levels to understand this Proverb - that of the physical and the responsibility of parents and the state - and a purely spiritual level and how it relates to our growth in a relationship with the Lord. I'll begin with what is being addressed most clearly here - which is the response of parents and governing officials to disobedience and crime.
Our justice system has turned away from the biblical view of crime and punishment. We try to rehabilitate criminals without thought that they need to acknowledge that they've stepped over a very serious line in their behavior. The results are not encouraging at all. We have overcrowded jails and prisons where repeat offenders abound. We've gotten to the point where we have more people interested in the rights of the criminals than in the rights of those they infringed upon with their godless behavior. Our prisons therefore have revolving doors on them - and with the present focus, there are few who are rehabilitated while incarcerated. Put our current record next to one of a modern state that practices physical punishment for a crime. Several years ago a young American citizen was arrested from a crime in one of these states. He was convicted and sentenced to a caning. People in the United States, especially among liberals, went ballistic. Yet the facts should be viewed without all the hysteria. Their crime rates are much lower than ours. What they see currently and have seen in the past is that truly stripes and strokes do scour away evil in the heart. They do reach the innermost parts of a person. They are a very powerful deterrent to crime and disobedience.
The spiritual level is little diffeerent. God disciplines those He loves and, according to Hebrews 12, He scourges every son He accepts. How does God deal with His own children? He disciplines them with scourgings - stripes and strokes that scour away the evil of our hearts and make us think twice about being disobedient again. We are fallen beings and have a sad tendency to ignore God and His commandments and turn instead to what our flesh cries out for constantly. The way God deals with this is to bring us into discipline. Anyone who has ever experienced this discipline knows that it is stern but loving. There is no doubt that God loves us when He disciplines us - but He is dead serious about it too. He knows what is at stake - and is wanting to deter us from walking in rebellion and sin. These things will hurt us - and in some cases even destroy us - therefore He takes it very seriously a trip to the proverbial spiritual woodshed. But do not ever be mistaken . . . God does these things because He loves us. The same should be said for parents and for a society that crafts effective physical punsihments for those who break the law.
Physical punishment and corporal punishment may be unpopular with the liberal elements of our society - but in all honesty, they are wrong. Yes there need to be limits put in place - there needs to be a humane way to practice the death penalty - and there should be wisdom in a parents administration of discipline. Yet there also should be a full acknowledgement that the sinful nature of man will not respond to a call to reform alone. It is in the best interests of a family - and indeed a society to practice physical and corporal punishment. How do we know? The Word of God informs us.
A wise king winnows the wicked, And drives the threshing wheel over them. Proverbs 20:26
If a leader of a nation is wise - he will know that leaving the wicked alone to do what they want will ultimately be very bad for that nation. To do otherwise is to leave a group of people who have no regard for law or for any kind of self-restraint for the good of others around them. The wicked do not care if their actions cause problems and suffering for others - they just have a will to do what they want to do. This is why we the king is told that he needs to winnow the wicked and drive a threshing wheel over them. Let's take a look at what these two pictures reveal to us.
The word "winnow" is an agricultural term. It means to separate the wheat from the chaff in processing grains. The word came from the word for wind - because often the process for this involved beating the wheat on a threshing floor - and then tossing it into the air where the wind would blow away the chaff and the wheat kernels would fall to the floor where they would be gathered to make flour for bread. Because of this process, the word winnow came to mean other processes used to separate what is worthless from what is of value. That is what it means in our proverb today. The wise king uses the law to winnow the wicked in his society. He establishes and enforces law in order to separate the worthless elements from society. This makes for a law-abiding culture which can prosper. If he does not winnow out these elements of society - there will be a very detrimental effect on the culture. People who lie and are untrustworthy in life - will be this way in business. Some might wonder why this is important - until they see the kinds of things we have seen in the financial world where stock brokers bilk people out of their entire life savings by setting up a ponzi scheme to take other people's money. Dishonesty and a lack of integrity actually will cost a society . . . actually billions of dollars . . . which we've actually seen.
The king is also encouraged to drive a threshing wheel over the wicked as well. Whereas the word winnow has a separating aspect to it, the word does not bring to mind much violence. This is not the case with the threshing wheel. This was a heavy stone wheel that was pulled by oxen or horses (or in Samson's case, by a man) that would roll in a circle over wheat or corn that was put in its path. As the heavy wheel rolled over the grain it would crush the grain separating the wheat from the chaff. This was then further "winnowed" by letting the wind blow away the chaff as the grain fell to the floor. The picture though here with the threshing wheel was a violent one. It involved punishment and a crushing process. Thus a wise king will set up law so that it punishes the wicked for their actions. This will further eliminate the elements of a society that are evil and wicked - while preserving the godly who will submit to the law.
At this point I must make a point - especially because of the day in which I am writing this post. We currently have a very foolish president in the United States. I say this because he has recently made it clear that he has no respect for the laws of our land - or the Constitutional process by which they are established. He has chosen in recent months to disregard laws concerning the sale, distribution, and use of mariuanna. He has decided in dictatorial fashion that this is not good for us - and has decided on his own (with no act of congressional approval - or the approval of the courts) to not enforce the law. Almost every study ever done on the long-term affects of this drug is that it is a gateway drug to more serious and harmful involvement in the use of illegal drugs. He has also decided not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act - because he sees it as unfair. This is even though the law was passed with overwhelming support - and was signed by a fellow Democrat. He has unilaterally decided to also give amnesty to illegal aliens who have come into our country illegally (Yes that was bad grammar, but felt the need to emphasize the word illegal - meaning not legal - or said another way - breaking the law). These are just three things he has done - unfortunately the lack of any respect for the law is rampant in his administration. He has effectively made himself a law unto himself - choosing enforcement options at his own whims - with a complete disrespect for any kind of constitutional prccess. This is foolishness - and will damage our nation in the end. The populace will follow his example - and will also have a disregard for the law as well - except the parts they agree with - and want to keep. As a result there will be a rapidly growing wickedness that will at first creep into our society - but then later will flow into it like water from a broken dam. Pray with me for our president. Pray that he will be wise - and will see the wisdom in enforcing the laws as given - not just as he wants them to be at the time. Pray that he will see the wisdom of enforcing all our laws - regardless of whether he personally likes them or not. Oh, also pray one other thing - that the people of the United States will have wisdom this November to not re-elect anyone who does not show respect for our laws - and our constitution.
He who curses his father or his mother, His lamp will go out in time of darkness. Proverbs 20:20
How does your relationship to your dad and mom relate to whether you are filled with the Holy Spirit or not? Some might consider this a strange question, yet from what we read here in Proverbs 20, it is anything but strange. We read here of someone who has decided to curse his father or his mother. There is no love for parents in this person's heart. There is no respect or honor for theim either - even though God's Law states plainly that we are to honor our father and mother. If there is no honor for them - then there will be a very serious grieving of the Holy Spirit. But from reading this particular proverb some may raise their eyebrows thinking, "There is no where in this proverb that mentions the Holy Spirit by name, so how can this refer to the work of the Spirit of God in the believer?"
What is the "lamp" in this passage? In order to understand this we need to look at other passages that refer to this "lamp" in the Bible. The lamp, as used here, is the same word as used for the lamp in the Tabernacle and the Temple. It was the only light available in the Holy Place to see. It illumined two things - the altar of incense and the altar of showbread. The altar of incense represents the believer's prayer life - and the altar of showbread represents the Word of God in our lives. Prayer and the Word are wonderful things, in and of themselves but, if we are going to get all we can out of them - need the Holy Spirit to illumine and empower them. There is a light from that lamp that allows us to see through the darkness and makes the Word and prayer powerful and meaningful. This lamp represents the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We read in Proverbs 20:27 the following, "The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his being." We learn here that the spirit of man is where the "lamp of the Lord" (i.e. the Holy Spirit) wants to light up our lives and help us to see and pierce the darkness that is around us. When God's lamp is shinig within by the Holy Spirit - we are directed in the Word and granted power to pray effectively. We can see - even in the dark. When the Holy Spirit is grieved or quenched due to our sin - the light diminishes and we are walking in the dark spiritually.
As we return to our proverb we see now that the Holy Spirit is grieved when we curse our father of our mother. We are being disobedient to God and to His Word when we do this. Thus the lamp goes out. In time of darkness, we find that we do not have the light of life within us. We see nothing because we are no longer illumined within by the Spirit of God - the lamp of the Lord. Since this speaks of our parents - there is also a warning here for us. Family - especially your father and mother - are the ones who will step up when you are facing the deepest crises of your life. They are the ones who are the last line of defense. If we curse them and disobey God, we are going to have the lights turned out. We will find that there will not be the work of God going on in our hearts to help us see spiritually. The Lord is very serious about this.
In the book of Malachi - the last prophecy given is that of the work of God in revival. That work though, is when God turns the hearts of the fathers to the sons - the hearts of the sons to the fathers - lest God smite the land with a curse. Thus we see that the work of the Spirit of God - the illumination of the Word of God - the light of life within the people of God WILL affect the way that we live with our families. We can guarantee that if we disregard family - especially father and mother - we can just about guarantee that we ourselves will be disregarded. The lights will turn off and everything will go dark. That is not something that we want - but if we treat father and mother with disrespect - it is what we will get.
a roaring lion and a rushing bear Is a wicked ruler over a poor people. Proverbs 28:15
Oppression of the poor by a wicked ruler - that sounds like a modern day headline in one of our newpapers - or in a report that we would read online. Unfortunately oppression has been going on every since the fall of man - and the beginning of politics. When the sinfulness of man combined with the treachery of politics - it was not going to be long before men learned how to oppress the poor and helpless for their own benefit.
We read in today's proverb that a wicked ruler over a poor people is like a roaring lion or a rushing bear. A roaring lion scares the other animals in the forest. The lion roars to establish his territory and his authority. Thus when a wicked ruler acts like a roaring lion - he is establishing that he has the power and authority over the poor ones he is oppressing. We've seen it again and again in history. The powerful oppress and dominate the poor - even resorting to attacking them with the army to establish their power. They will use the secret police to kidnap them and torture them to silence anyone's opposition and threat to their power. It is a sad thing to see - but unfortunately it will continue until the day that Jesus Christ comes to establish a kingdom based upon justice and righteousness.
Those who dare to stand against such a wicked ruler will find themselves quickly attacked and often silenced for good. They may be thrown into prison - or summarily executed for their boldness to oppose the ruler - or threaten their absolute stranglehold on power. However it is done, the poor quickly learn to hide any desire for freedom and justice, because these things can cost them their lives. This is why it is so vital for those who have the freedom to choose their leaders, to choose wise and godly ones. To do otherwise will cost us far more than just a wrongly cast vote - it could cost us our freedoms - and in some severe cases - even our lives.
When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, But when the wicked rise, men hide themselves. Proverbs 28:12
The Bible does not know anything about a political environment where issues of godliness and righteousness are not considered. Since God is sovereign over all things - He is also sovereign over all political entities. So, even though our worldly wisdom counsels us never to mix politics and religion - God knows no such artificial division.
Our proverb today tells us that when the righteous triumph, there is great glory. When godly men rule a nation according to God's ways and laws - that nation will be blessed. We read in the psalms that the nation is truly blessed whose God is the Lord. Too many consider the righteous ruling to be an oppressive thing. Yet we see that it is not godly men who oppress but sinful ones. Sin brings bondage and injustice to a society - whereas godliness brings justice and truth to bear on all that happens there. Solomon gave a godly judgment when the two women were fighting over whether the child was there child or not. But in the end, it was not pure justice that let Solomon know the truth - it was which woman was willing to show mercy. Godly rulers will know both how to administer justice and how to show great mercy.
But when the wicked rise in power - men hide themselves. Consider the history of the despots who have ruled over the affairs of men. Godless men make the populace fear for their lives. They are terrified of a man who knows nothing except his own immediate self-interest. They cringe when his mode of justice knows little beyond swift and terrifying judgment. Very seldom is there mercy manifest. Consider Daniel and his judgment for praying to God rather than to the king. For his supposed crime he was thrown into a lion's den. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were cast into a firey furnace because they refused to worship the image of the king. These men were not shown mercy - but were judged swiftly without it.
Over time who segments of the population hide from the king - terrified not just of his justice, but of his anger. There were wicked kings who killed men for being sad in their presence. Others were murdered because the king either did not like them - or thought that they might be an adversary in the future - whether it was true or not. They hide themselves because a wicked king or ruler is untrustworthy in his judgment. They don't know what might come next - or who might be killed for just looking a little suspicious.
The wise man desires a righteous man to triumph. Such a man is far easier to understand - because his decisions will be made on the basis of justice and righteousness. He will judge based upon truth - and it is truth that does not change. You see it again and again in the books of Kings and Chronicles. It is far better to have a righteous king who speaks, lives, and judges according to the truth - than it is to have a wicked king who will ultimately rule on his own authority alone.
The fury of a king is like
messengers of death, But a wise man will appease it. Proverbs 16:14
The knock on the door resembled more like someone trying to break it down. As he drew near to open, Daniel knew that this was no friendly visit by the sounds coming from the other side of the door. He could hear the sounds of a chariot - and the all too familiar sound of armor and swords striking each other. This was a military visit - and it did not sound as if it would be positive. As he reached for the handle of the door Daniel said to himself, "Calm Daniel, respond with calm and confidence in your Lord." As the handle moved to open the door a prayer also went up to heaven, "God, please help me respond wisely."
As the door opened Daniel was astounded by what he met. It was a military escort - and it had come for him. Daniel knew things were bad when he saw Arioch, the commander of the king's bodyguard leading the way. "The king had commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be executed," was the announcement that Arioch made at Daniel's doorway. "I am sorry Daniel, but I must put you in chains and escort you to the executioner immediately."
"Why is this decree so urgent, Arioch?" Daniel replied. "Have we done something wrong - for when I last knew - all was well with the king and the wise men." Arioch then told Daniel of the dream - and the command from the king that the one who interprets the dream must also be able to first tell the king what the dream was. When the wise men present balked at this - and tried to bide their time - the king became furious and commanded that this be done to all the wise men.
Daniel sent a quick prayer to heaven again, "HELP LORD!" Then a passage from the writings of Solomon came to mind, the fury of the king is messengers of death, but a wise man will appease it. "Give me wisdom Lord to appease this request."
"Arioch," Daniel spoke, "would you first take me to the king that I might request a time when I may come and declare the dream and the interpretation to him?" From the look on Arioch's face Daniel knew that he was wary of this request.
"Daniel, my friend," the captain said, "He is furious right now - and not in any mood for delays or schemes. He is very disturbed about this dream and wants an interpretation."
Daniel was amazed at his own boldness and faith as he answered, "Then that is what I shall give to him."
As Arioch took him to the king Daniel continued to pray for favor and for God's power to appease a very angry king. He also knew that when he returned to his home, he would have to call Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah to prayer as well that God would grant him the ability to know the king's dream and its interpretation. "This will be a true test of our faith - and of our trust in Jehovah to protect and keep us here in Babylon," Daniel would say. "Yet He has been faithful so far to offer us His gracious protection."
The king or whatever the supreme leadership position is called in any state - holds with it a tremendous amount of power and authority. When that person is furious - it is not a good thing for the ones at whom his anger and rage is directed. To approach him with respect, honor, and wisdom is absolutely necessary. Depending on the laws of the region - that anger could mean death. That is why examples like that of Daniel - where a gracious, submissive, appeal to authority and God's provision is definitely in order. We can thank God for this godly example, for it gives us hope in what otherwise might be a hopeless situation. The wise will learn from it - and repeat it as they go into every situation trusting God and relying on the wisdom of His Word to not only guide them - but also go before them to appease anger and wrath - and make a way for grace and peace to prevail.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, for they will drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted. Proverbs 31:4-5
Mixing authority and alcohol is a very bad thing to do. As Bathsheba gave her counsel to Solomon her son, she made clear to him that this was the case. She said clearly to him that is was not for kings to drink wine or to desire strong drink. These two terms, wine and strong drink both describe alcoholic drinks. Wine refers to the fruit of the vine - grapes - but in the form of them squeezed and made into wine of a lower alcohol level. Strong drink refers to drinks that are much stronger - probably something akin to whiskey or some type of grain alcohol. It was usually used to get drunk quickly - and in some cases was used medicinally to act as a type of pain killer.
Solomon is told that it is not right for a king to drink these things. The reason that she gives to him for this prohibition is that if he does, there is a chance that he will drink and forget "what is decreed." This is a reference to the Word of God. For Israel, the Word of God was also the place where their civil law was found. But either way the concern was that while in a drunken state, he might forget the civil law - or the law of God. When he did, he would then forget the rights of the afflicted. These are the less fortunate, the poor, and those who look to the king to defend their rights.
Drunkenness causes us to function apart from wisdom. When a man is drunk he does not think normally. The alcohol leads him to excess in regard to his emotions. It can also have a deadening effect when it comes to his normal moral restraints. This is why it is not wise to mix drink and authority. When you do, the person in authority is more likely to abuse it - because he will not be thinking properly so as to make godly judgments.
Righteous lips are the delight of kings, And he who speaks right is loved. Proverbs 16:13
One of the things that helps us understand the book of Proverbs is context. When we read this proverb, we need to grasp again the idea of context here. We know that not all kings love lips that speak what is right. Not even all kings listed in the Bible felt this way - in fact far fewer appreciated truth in their people - than those who ruled from a standpoint of falsehood. But when we remember the previous verse - we see why this passage is here. Since a divine decision is in the king's lips - those who realize their power that derives from God will love those who advise them to be truth speakers.
Many a king has been destroyed by ungodly advisors. Those who are merely sycophantic suck-ups will come to the king and speak whatever is easiest to him. The problem with this is that often a king has to make rulings that don't make everyone happy. He will have to establish law that will help reign in the natural, selfish and self-centered nature of men. Without righteous laws - the kingdom will implode due to the inwardly explosive nature of sin. More than implode - his kingdom will collapse from the lack of character that comes from not dealing with sin in our lives. The fall has made us prone to ungodliness - not godliness. Thus a godly king who speaks and hears the truth is a wonderful thing for any nation to have. Such kings are bred in a hothouse of truth - not in a darkened mansion of lies and flattery.
Since my guess is that none of us are kings who read and study this verse, what implications and instruction does it have for us? First, it reminds us of the importance of who we consider our counsellors. Do we love those who speak the truth to us? If we do not, we will be liable to having fair weather friends who only say to us what is pleasing at the moment - and who do not warn us of when we are lacking character and godliness in our lives. That can prove disastrous to us if we are not careful. Second, we should look at and examine what kind of friend we are to others. Earlier when I spoke of the kind of leeches that suck-up to those around them - was I speaking of the way you are with your friends. Do you love them enough to speak the truth to them? Are you willing to possibly have your friendship cooled for a period because you are a "TRUE FRIEND" who lets them know when sin is leading them down a bad path? This is where we can take the general truths of a passage and apply them to our own lives. Granted I figure that few of us will ever be pulled into the inner circle of a major ruler or government official. But if we do, it is my hope that we will be so used to being the right kind of friend that little will change in regard to how we speak the truth in love for their benefit.
My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother; Proverbs 6:20 How does a father and a mother work together to rear their children for the Lord? That is a good question to ask, and one that is often overlooked as we kind of stumble along in the paths of parenthood. But believe it or not, the book of Proverbs has a proverb that instructs us on this matter - and does so very well. We would be wise to listen to this counsel - and begin to pattern our parenting upon its precepts. Here in Proverbs 6:20, we have an interesting statement made that gives a role to both the father and the mother in giving wisdom to their children. The first thing we read here is that a son should observe the commandment of his father. Observe here is the Hebrew word "natsar" which means to watch, to guard, or to keep. The word had several uses, but came to us from the military world where the idea of watching was prominent. When a soldier was put on watch - it was his duty to scan the horizon and be ready at an instant to warn the troops of a sneak attack - or a full scale assault. Were he to fall asleep at his post - the entire regiment would be at risk of being overrun and destroyed. The word was then carried over into the idea of ehtics and watchfulness over God's or other's commands. Here is spoke of a watchfulness for the purpose of being faithful to the command - as well as an ethical watch over one's own behavior so that the command was carried out with careful obedience. The son is called to have this kind of watching when it came to his father's commandments. As you can imagine, the word "commandments" is the normal word "mitsvah" which is the most common word for a commandment or a statute given to someone. It is the word used of the 10 commandments - and the same word used most often to speak of God's law. It is also part of the word for "barmitzvah" that speaks of the ceremony at age 13 when a Jewish boy was considered a man. He was considered such because he was taking on the full responsibility of the Law of God. Barmitzvah literally means, "son of the law" or "son of the commandments." The father calls his son to obey the commandments that he gives him. If a man is wise - he will make his commandments very similar to those God gives us. Flood a boy with too many commandments and he will lose heart trying to remember and keep all of them. But when we give a child limitations and wise standards by which to live - he will be far more secure. Just a warning though to the father who thinks that he can "christianize" his kids by the way he rears them. The Law was meant to show us that we are sinners. No matter how wonderfully you rear your children, they will still have to come to Christ to be saved and redeemed from their sinful, rebellious ways. Yet, a wise man will knows the value of setting godly standards for his children. A son would also be wise - very wise if he takes his father's commandments and seeks to govern his behavior by them. Most young people (and by the way I definitely include myself in my younger years) have a basic disdain for their parents commandments. That is a perfect way of seeing how sin and how the fall have affected our lives. Wisdom tells us that those older than us are also usually wiser than us. The only time a child can say that he is as wise as his elders is when he loves God's Word and seeks to know it with great passion. Then Psalm 119 makes a promise that God's Word makes him wiser even than his elders. (Just a brief word of wisdom though - if you do know the Word very well - you will also approach your elders with it with humility and grace - not with arrogance and a sense of superiority - that kind of attitude pretty much shows that you've descended back into foolishness again.) The mother's role is given next. This verse says to us that the son also should not forsake the teaching of his mother. The word forsake means just that - to forsake or to reject something. Here it refers to the "teaching" of his mother. The word "teaching" here is the Hebrew word, "torah." It meant something that was taught - but more along the lines of giving specific instruction or direction to someone. So we see an interesting thing here. The father gives the basic commands to his son, but the mother then works with him to see how they are applied to everyday situations and in everyday life. She takes the basic law given by the dad - and adds additional instruction and help
in seeing how to walk in those commands each day. Since the father usually has to go to work and be gone throughout much of the day, the mother then takes over the work of instructing and helping the sons and daughters grasp and understand how it is the father desires for them to live. She makes his commandments into practical choices and works hard to teach those choices to the children.
What is fascinating to me as I look at this verse is that this is how Jewish religion is set up. They have the Law (mitzvah) which is given by God the Father. They also have the instruction (the torah) which is given by the rabbis who teach the Law to the people. They took this very concept and used it to set up their entire teaching system that they use with their people. This works wonderfully - until the rabbis begin to have their teaching pervert the actual Law upon which it was based. This is true also in families where mother and father are not on the same page in rearing their children. Either the dad or mom is too strict - or too lenient, and the other decides to modify what they view as an unrealistic view by changing things themselves. This leads to chaos in the child's mind - and the unique ability to play one parent against the other. Regardless - the result is usually bad.
The wise son is the one who listens well to his parents - and who takes both the command of the dad - and the teaching of the mom - and uses it to make wise decisions in life. May we be so blessed as to have fathers that will lead wisely and godly - moms that will teach according to his commandments - and children who in turn will know the right way to walk because they have heard it from their parents.
The eye that mocks a father And scorns a mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it out, And the young eagles will eat it. Proverbs 30:17This proverb is one of those that seems a little harsh when you first read it - especially if you've ever been disrespectful to your parents. Your average kid might say, "You mean to say that if I scorn my parents, I'm doomed to have scavenger birds peck
my eye out and eat it?" Since we know that not every rebellious child and teenager has had his eyes destroyed by a flock of ravens and eagles - we know that this passage has more to teach us than just a scary warning that probably would not work on kids anyway. But just what is this proverb trying to show us?
The key comes in understanding why a bird - especially a scavenger would have any interest in an animal's eyes. You see both of the birds mentioned in this passage are scavengers. That means that they both eat dead things. But one practice that ravens have as they approach carrion is that they need to be sure it is dead. That can mean the difference in having a meal and being one to the raven. Therefore when a raven suspects an animal to be dead - he goes straight for the eye. The raven lands near the animal and sees if the animal makes any movements. Then when the raven detects that things are clear for the most part - he subjects the animal to the ultimate test as to whether it is alive or dead. He pecks at the animal's eye. If an animal does not move to protect the eye, it is dead. As the raven picks out the eye of the animal - it assures him that the animal is dead. Often early in the meal that follows, a larger predator - which is where the young eagle comes in - will arrive and take over the meal from the raven, who wisely knows when he is outmatched.
Now, let's take what we've learned from nature - and apply it to what is said in this passage. When a young person feels his oats enough to begin mocking his own father and mother it is a very dangerous sign. The reference to the raven and the young eagle is not a direct threat - but rather a reminder. He is spiritually dead. This is not so much a threat of future aviary retribution - but of the spiritual reality of where this young man or woman is. God promises us that the one who honors his mother and father will live long on the earth. Great blessing is in store for the child who learns about respect, honor, and submission in subjection to his parents. These are vital lessons to learn if he or she is going to be successful in life - and after life is over. These come through properly relating to one's parents. If we don't learn them in the home - we will face learning them out in the world where the cost to learn them is far higher than it is with mom and dad.
One last thing that we need to note here is that we are not talking about open rebellion here - but the "eye" that mocks father and mother. This is as much a look as it is an action. I remember my mother telling me not to look at her in that tone of voice. It was a little bit of a joke - but not really. She knew, and so did my father, when my eyes were revealing what was really going on in my heart. The eyes are the window to the soul - and reveal much of what is truly going on in our hearts. Thus we need to be careful to not only watch our words concerning our parents, but also the way our eyes function as well. Quite often we might be obeying in our outward members - but our eyes reveal another story altogether. Remember then, that when the scavengers come looking for the dead - they come looking for those who are dead in their eyes. When a wise man seeks to determine whether someone is spiritually alive or dead - he can learn much in how a person treats their parents.