I wonder if this is a proverb written late in life. Did Solomon already see that his sons were on track to divide the kingdom? Did he see the results of his lack of discipline? The other option is that he is reflecting on how his father raised his sons and how they even tried to kill their father.
Either way this comes across as a command. We are to use force in teaching our children right from wrong. It isn’t just a matter of teaching them to behave properly in public. It isn’t just to civilize them. It is to keep them from going to Hell. Of course this is not a license to pointless beatings. As in all things we see the balance as shown by the apostle Paul.
(Ephesians 6:4 KJV) And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.I find that the juvenile delinquents in my classes have no problem with being kicked out when they misbehave. They know they have messed up. It is the sheltered, pampered child that thinks they are entitled to do whatever they want with no consequence.
So? Children need to be shown the boundaries and impressed with the importance of proper behavior. They need to be taught cause and effect. Eternity is in the balance.