At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children:Proverbs 13:22
And the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
Before getting into a discussion of this particular proverb, we need to remind ourselves again about the nature of proverbs. Proverbs are not axioms in geometry, where you might say something like “triangles have three sides, yea, four sides only are to be found in a rectangle.” Proverbs are generally true, and true enough to steer by them in day-to-day decisions. A bird in the hand really is worth two in the bush. But there are exceptions here and there.
That said, we have two related but distinct statements made here. The first is that a good man leaves an inheritance for his grandchildren. It is an obligation of parents to seek to lay up material wealth for their children and grandchildren. I emphasized the word material here because there is a Gnostic streak in many devout evangelicals, an impulse that wants to rush straight to making this proverb a limited spiritual truth. We are taught in Scripture to be wary of material wealth, but not in the way that is common in our circles. “Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children” (2 Cor. 12:14). So if parents have sacrificed material wealth for the sake of Christ and the gospel, they may be content that they are in fact leaving a spiritual inheritance for their grandchildren. But if they are frittering away their substance in an undisciplined manner, and calling it “spiritual,” it is time for them to reevaluate.
The proverb also pushes in the opposite direction. It is not fitting for sinners successfully to store up treasure for up-and-coming sinners. The wicked can appear to thrive for a time (Ps. 37:35), but read on to the next verse (v. 36). When the just come into wealth that was first collected by the unrighteous, the just ought not to have any qualms about it. It is the way it ought to be.