|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:4. Flatterers, especially false teachers, are welcome to those that live in sin. 5. Those that laugh at poverty, treat God's providence and precepts with contempt. 6. It is an honour to children to have wise and godly parents continued to them, even after they are grown up and settled in the world. 7. A fool, in Solomon's Proverbs, signifies a wicked man, whom excellent speech does not become, because his conversation contradicts it.
Verse 6. - Children's children are the crown of old men (comp. Psalm 127; Psalm 128). (For the term "crown," comp. Proverbs 16:18.) Thus St. Paul calls his converts his "joy and crown" (Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:19) In the East a large number of children is considered a great blessing, being a guarantee of the stability of the family. Thus writes Euripides ('Iph. Taur.,' 57) -
Στύλοι γὰρ οἴκων παῖδες εἰσιν ἄρσενες
"Male children are the pillars of the house." The glory of children are their fathers. A long line of good or celebrated ancestors is the glory of their descendants, and brings a blessing on them (see 1 Kings 11:13; 1 Kings 15:4). Hereditary nobility, based on descent from some eminent progenitor, may be a source of not unseemly pride, and a spur to a life worthy of such excellent ancestry.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Children's children are the crown of old men,.... Ancient parents. Grandfathers with the Jews are called old men, as Buxtorf (d) observes. A numerous progeny was reckoned a great blessing to a man; to have his table surrounded with children, as olive plants; to be encircled with a large family was a crown of glory (e); and to live to see children's children, a large number of grandchildren, was still a greater glory; and especially, as Jarchi observes, when these children, or children's children, were walking in a good way, in the good ways of religion and godliness, they trained them up in. Christ is the Ancient of days, the everlasting Father; and it is his glory, as Mediator, to see his seed, to have a numerous off spring; and which will endure for ever, as the days of heaven: ministers of the Gospel are spiritual fathers; and those who have been converted under their ministry wilt be their joy and "crown of rejoicing" at the last day, 1 Thessalonians 2:19;
and the glory of children are their fathers; who are wise, as Aben Ezra observes; and righteous, as Jarchi: if they are wise and good men, it is an honour to their children that they descend from them; nor are they ashamed to own their relation to them, but glory in it, as the Jews did in Abraham, saying, "We have Abraham for our father", Matthew 3:9, Luke 3:8, but, on the contrary, if their fathers are foolish or wicked, their children are ashamed of them, and do not care to acknowledge their descent from them; and such parents, who are an honour to their children, their children should be careful to tread in their steps, that they reflect no dishonour on them; particularly as it is our great honour and glory to have God for our father, to be his adopted sons and daughters, we should be followers of him as dear children, and be obedient ones.
(d) In Lex. Talmud. col. 684. (e) "Te felix natorum turba coronat", Claudian. de Raptu Prosperp. l. 1. v. 109.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. Prolonged posterity is a blessing, its cutting off a curse (Pr 13:22; Ps 109:13-15), hence children may glory in virtuous ancestry.
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