(Proverbs 23:10 KJV) Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
Being “fatherless” (3490) is considered a tragedy. Is there a similar sense about being motherless? Not in the NASB under that word although “widow” is sometimes juxtaposition against it. In those days women did not have the freedom and independence of modern Western culture. If they did not marry or their husband died life could become very hard. There was no sympathy in society for the widow or the orphan. Their fate was unpleasant unless someone stepped in as a protector.
This is probably where the concept of god-parents developed. As I understand it, god-parents are people who pledge to step in if some tragedy should strike the parents. Here, Proverbs is simply saying don’t take advantage but I think our responsibility as followers of Jesus goes beyond that. We need to remember how often we are told to care for the widow and the orphan.
This takes on renewed importance in our modern culture. We are facing an epidemic of absentee fathers. Men are deserting their God-given responsibilities to be providers and protectors. Women are being left to do it alone and with all due apologies to Murphy Brown, it is a tough row to hoe.
So? Men, spend extra time with fatherless children. Women, encourage you men to do this and don’t be jealous of the time it takes. Be salt and light in your corner of the world.