“for there is.” Although many versions treat the Hebrew as a temporal phrase, “Discipline…while there is hope,” the Hebrew text does not seem to support that interpretation (Waltke; Proverbs). Furthermore, the Hebrew word muth (#04191 מוּת), death, is in the hiphil aspect, which is a causative action in the active voice, “to put to death.” There are times when children are such a disappointment that parents give up on them, and in the OT culture a child who was ruining the family could be executed (Deut. 21:18-21). Here is an exhortation to parents not to give up on even unruly children, but to exert an effort to discipline them and bring them back to a right path.
“do not be intent.” The Hebrew contains an idiom, and literally reads, “lift up your soul.” To lift up the soul to something is to desire it or to aspire to it. No parent would desire for their child to die. Thus, this verse is a type of hyperbole in which if a parent does not have the godly love and resolve to discipline a child, it is as if the parent were wanting the child to die. A child who is not disciplined will become a fool and a disgrace (Prov. 22:15; 29:15).
“on causing his death.” The Hebrew reads more literally, “to kill him,” but that is easily misunderstood, perhaps leading to the thought that the father purposely kills his son. The Hebrew infinitive is translated with a causal force to show that the father’s lack of disciplining his son leads to the son’s death.