Proverbs 1:9
For they shall be an ornament of grace to your head, and chains about your neck.
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(9) Ornament of grace.—Given by Wisdom. (Comp. Proverbs 4:9.)

Chains about thy neck.—The reward of Joseph (Genesis 41:42) and of Daniel (Daniel 5:29).

1:7-9 Fools are persons who have no true wisdom, who follow their own devices, without regard to reason, or reverence for God. Children are reasonable creatures, and when we tell them what they must do, we must tell them why. But they are corrupt and wilful, therefore with the instruction there is need of a law. Let Divine truths and commands be to us most honourable; let us value them, and then they shall be so to us.To the Israelite's mind no signs or badges of joy or glory were higher in worth than the garland around the head, the gold chain around the neck, worn by kings and the favorites of kings Genesis 41:42; Daniel 5:29. 9. On the figures of Pr 1:9, compare Ge 41:42; So 1:10; 4:9. This will make thee amiable and honourable in the sight of God and of men; whereas the forsaking of those good counsels will make thee contemptible. For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head,.... The instructions and laws of parents being attended unto and obeyed by children, render them more lovely and amiable than any beautiful ornament whatever that can be put upon their heads;

and chains about thy neck; be that unto them as chains of gold are to the neck, beautify and adorn them; so good works, done in obedience to God and parents, are ornaments of great price, and preferable to any outward adorning whatever; see 1 Timothy 2:9. The allusions are unto, and the metaphors taken from, those things which are most pleasing and acceptable to children, as fine top knots and golden chains.

For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.
9. ornament] Rather, chaplet, R.V. στέφανον, LXX. See Proverbs 4:9, where the same phrase chaplet of grace occurs, with crown of glory, as its equivalent in the parallel clause of the verse.

chains] not of bondage, but of honour and ornament. Genesis 41:42; Daniel 5:29; Song of Solomon 4:9; Jdg 8:26.Verse 9. - For they (shall be) an ornament of grace unto thy head. The sentiment here expressed is put forward as an inducement to youth to observe obedience towards the instruction of the father and the law of the mother, and the meaning is that, just as in popular opinion ornaments and jewels are supposed to set off the personal form, so obedience towards parents in the ways of virtue embellishes the moral character (Bayne, Cartwright, Holden). An ornament of grace; Hebrew, לִוְיַת הֵן (liv'yath khen); literally, a wreath or garland of grace. We meet with the same expression in Proverbs 4:9, "She [i.e. wisdom] shall give to thine head an ornament of grace." The Hebrew לִוְיה (liv'yah) is derived from the root לָוָה (lavah), "to wind a roll" (Delitzsch) or "to be joined closely with" (Gesenius), and hence signifies an ornament that is twisted, and so a wreath or garland. Gejerus and Schultens translate the phrase by corolla gratiosa, i.e. "a crown full of grace," and so meaning conferring or producing grace, just as the expression, "the chastisement of our peace" (Isaiah 53:5), means the chastisement bringing or procuring our peace. So again a "precious stone," in Proverbs 17:8, margin, "a stone of grace," is one conferring gracefulness. The marginal reading, "an adding" (additamentum, Vatablus), conveys, though obscurely, the same idea; and this sense is again reproduced in the Vulgate, ut addatur gratia capiti suo ("in order that grace may be added to thy head"). The LXX. reads, στέφανος χαρίτων. And chains about thy neck. Chains; properly, necklaces; עֲנָקִים (anakim), plural of עֲנָק (anak), "a cellar or necklace;" the κλοιός χρύσεος, or "golden collar," of the LXX., and torques (i.e. twisted neckchain) of the Vulgate. There is a very apposite parallel to this verse in Proverbs 6:20, 21 (cf. Proverbs 3:3; see also Judges 8:26). The gold chain round the neck was a mark of distinction, and was conferred on Joseph by Pharaoh when investing him with authority and dignity (Genesis 41:42), and on Daniel by Belshazzar in the same way (Daniel 5:29; see Song of Solomon 4:9). The mere adornment of the person with gold and pearls, without the further adornment of the moral character with Christian graces, is deprecated both by St. Paul and St. Peter (see 1 Timothy 2:9, 10, and 1 Peter 3:3, 4). Neck, גַּרְגְּרֹת (gar'g'roth) only occurs in the plural (Gesenius). (See Proverbs 3:3, 22; Proverbs 6:21.) In the following, 2a is expanded in Proverbs 1:3-5, then 2b in Proverbs 1:6. First the immediate object:

3 To attain intelligent instruction,

   Righteousness, and justice, and integrity;

4 To impart to the inexperienced prudence,

   To the young man knowledge and discretion

5 Let the wise man hear and gain learning,

   And the man of understanding take to himself rules of conduct.

With דּעת, denoting the reception into oneself, acquiring, is interchanged (cf. Proverbs 2:1) קחת, its synonym, used of intellectual reception and appropriation, which, contemplated from the point of view of the relation between the teacher and the learner, is the correlative of תּת, παραδιδόναι, tradere (Proverbs 9:9). But מוּסר השׂכּל is that which proceeds from chokma and musar when they are blended together: discipline of wisdom, discipline training to wisdom; i.e., such morality and good conduct as rest not on external inheritance, training, imitation, and custom, but is bound up with the intelligent knowledge of the Why and the Wherefore. השׂכּל, as Proverbs 21:16, is inf. absol. used substantively (cf. השׁקט, keeping quiet, Isaiah 32:17) of שׂכל (whence שׂכל, intellectus), to entwine, involve; for the thinking through a subject is represented as an interweaving, complicating, configuring of the thoughts (the syllogism is in like manner represented as אשׁכּל, Aram. סגול, a bunch of grapes), (with which also סכל, a fool, and חסכּיל, to act foolishly, are connected, from the confusion of the thoughts, the entangling of the conceptions; cf. Arab. 'akl, to understand, and מעקּל). The series of synonyms (cf. Proverbs 23:23) following in 3b, which are not well fitted to be the immediate object to לקחת, present themselves as the unfolding of the contents of the מוּסר השׂכּל, as meaning that namely which is dutiful and right and honest. With the frequently occurring two conceptions צדק וּמשׁפּט (Proverbs 2:9), (or with the order reversed as in Psalm 119:121) is interchanged משׁפּט וּצדקה (or with the order also reversed, Proverbs 21:3). The remark of Heidenheim, that in צדק the conception of the justum, and in צדקה that of the aequum prevails, is suggested by the circumstance that not צדק but צדקה signifies δικαιοσύνη (cf. Proverbs 10:2) in the sense of liberality, and then of almsgiving (ἐλεημοσύνη); but צדק also frequently signifies a way of thought and action which is regulated not by the letter of the law and by talio, but by love (cf. Isaiah 41:2; Isaiah 42:6). Tsedek and ts'dakah have almost the relation to one another of integrity and justice which practically brings the former into exercise. משׁפּט (from שׁפט, to make straight, to adjust, cf. שׁבט, Arab. sabita, to be smooth) is the right and the righteousness in which it realizes itself, here subjectively considered, the right mind.

(Note: According to Malbim, משׁפט is the fixed objective right, צדק the righteousness which does not at once decide according to the letter of the law, but always according to the matter and the person.)

משׁרים (defect. for מישׁרים, from ישׁר, to be straight, even) is plur. tantum; for its sing. מישׁר (after the form מיטב) the form מישׁור (in the same ethical sense, e.g., Malachi 2:6) is used: it means thus a way of thought and of conduct that is straight, i.e., according to what is right, true, i.e., without concealment, honest, i.e., true to duty and faithful to one's word.

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