Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
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Proverbs 22:6. Train up — Hebrew, חנךְ, initiate, or instruct; a child in the way he should go — Or, according to his way, that is, in that course or manner of life which thou wouldest have him to choose and follow. Or, as some render the clause, in the beginning of his way, that is, in his tender years, as soon as he is capable of receiving instruction, the Hebrew על פי דרכו, signifying, literally, in the mouth of his way, and the mouth being often put for the beginning or entrance of a place or thing. And when he is old, he will not depart from it — Namely, not easily and ordinarily. The impressions made in his childish years will remain, unless some extraordinary cause occur to erase them. “Instruct a child,” says Bishop Patrick, “as soon as ever he is capable, and season his mind with the principles of virtue before he receive other impressions, and it is most likely they will grow up with him; so that when he is older he will not forsake them, but retain them as long as he lives.”

22:1 We should be more careful to do that by which we may get and keep a good name, than to raise or add unto a great estate. 2. Divine Providence has so ordered it, that some are rich, and others poor, but all are guilty before God; and at the throne of God's grace the poor are as welcome as the rich. 3. Faith foresees the evil coming upon sinners, and looks to Jesus Christ as the sure refuge from the storm. 4. Where the fear of God is, there will be humility. And much is to be enjoyed by it; spiritual riches, and eternal life at last. 5. The way of sin is vexatious and dangerous. But the way of duty is safe and easy. 6. Train children, not in the way they would go, that of their corrupt hearts, but in the way they should go; in which, if you love them, you would have them go. As soon as possible every child should be led to the knowledge of the Saviour. 7. This shows how important it is for every man to keep out of debt. As to the things of this life, there is a difference between the rich and the poor; but let the poor remember, it is the Lord that made the difference. 8. The power which many abuse, will soon fail them. 9. He that seeks to relieve the wants and miseries of others shall be blessed. 10. Profane scoffers and revilers disturb the peace. 11. God will be the Friend of a man in whose spirit there is no guile; this honour have all the saints. 12. God turns the counsels and designs of treacherous men to their own confusion. 13. The slothful man talks of a lion without, but considers not his real danger from the devil, that roaring lion within, and from his own slothfulness, which kills him. 14. The vile sin of licentiousness commonly besots the mind beyond recovery. 15. Sin is foolishness, it is in the heart, there is an inward inclination to sin: children bring it into the world with them; and it cleaves close to the soul. We all need to be corrected by our heavenly Father. 16. We are but stewards, and must distribute what God intrusts to our care, according to his will.Train - Initiate, and so, educate.

The way he should go - Or, according to the tenor of his way, i. e., the path especially belonging to, especially fitted for, the individual's character. The proverb enjoins the closest possible study of each child's temperament and the adaptation of "his way of life" to that.

6. Train—initiate, or early instruct.

the way—literally, "his way," that selected for him in which he should go; for early training secures habitual walking in it.

Train up, or, initiate or instruct, a child in the way he should go, Heb. in or according to his way, i.e. either,

1. According to his capacity. Or rather,

2. In that course or manner of life which thou wouldst have him choose and follow. Or, as one learned man renders it, in the beginning of his way, i.e. in his tender years, as soon as he is capable of instruction. Heb. in the mouth, &c. The mouth is oft put for the beginning or entrance of any place, as Genesis 29:2 Joshua 10:18 Proverbs 8:3 Daniel 6:17. Will not depart from it, to wit, not easily and ordinarily. The impressions made in childish years will remain, as hath been observed by all sorts of learned writers. But this, as many proverbs of like nature, are not to be understood as if they were universally and necessarily true, which experience confutes, but because it is so for the most part, except some extraordinary cause hinder it.

Train up a child in the way he should go,.... As Abraham trained up his children, and those born in his house, in the way of the Lord, in the paths of justice and judgment; which are the ways in which they should go, and which will be to their profit and advantage; see Genesis 14:14; and which is the duty of parents and masters in all ages, and under the present Gospel dispensation, even to bring such who are under their care in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, Ephesians 6:4; by praying with them and for them, by bringing them under the means of grace, the ministry of the word, by instructing them in the principles of religion, teaching them their duty to God and man, and setting them good examples of a holy life and conversation; and this is to be done according to their capacity, and as they are able to understand and receive the instructions given them: "according to the mouth of his way" (s), as it may be literally rendered; as soon as he is able to speak or go, even from his infancy; or as children are fed by little bits, or a little at a time, as their mouths can receive it;

and when he is old he will not depart from it; not easily, nor ordinarily; there are exceptions to this observation; but generally, where there is a good education, the impressions of it do not easily wear off, nor do men ordinarily forsake a good way they have been brought up in (t); and, however, when, being come to years of maturity and understanding, their hearts are seasoned with the grace of God, they are then enabled to put that in practice which before they had only in theory, and so continue in the paths of truth and holiness.

(s) "super os viae suae", Montanus; "ad os viae ejus", Schultens. (t) "Quo semel est imbuta recens servabit odorem testa diu", Horat. l. 1. Ep. 2. v. 69.

Train up a child {d} in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

(d) Bring him up virtuously and he will continue so.

6. in the way he should go] Lit. according to his way. The injunction contemplates not only the broad principles of education, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, which are the same for all, but their adaptation to each particular case, in a careful study of individual character and capacity, and with a thoughtful regard to future course of life: “his way.”

Verse 6. - Train up a child in the way he should go. The verb translated "train" (chanak) means, first, "to put something into the mouth," "to give to be tasted," as nurses give to infants food which they have masticated in order to prepare it for their nurslings; thence it comes to signify "to give elementary instruction," "to imbue," "to train." The Hebrew literally is, Initiate a child in accordance with his way. The Authorized Version, with which Ewald agrees, takes the maxim to mean that the child should be trained from the first in the right path - the path of obedience and religion. This is a very true and valuable rule, but it is not what the author intends. "His way" must mean one of two things - either his future calling and station, or his character and natural inclination and capacity. Delitzsch and Plumptre take the latter interpretation; Nowack and Bertheau the former, on the ground that derek is not used in the other sense suggested. But, as far as use is concerned, both explanations stand on much the same ground; and it seems more in conformity with the moralist's age and nation to see in the maxim an injunction to consider the child's nature, faculties, and temperament, in the education which is given to him. If, from his early years, a child is thus trained, when he is old, he will not depart from it. This way, this education in accordance with his idiosyncrasy, will bear fruit all his life long; it will become a second nature, and will never be obliterated. The Vulgate commences the verse with Proverbium est, taking the first word substantively, as if the author here cited a trite saying; but the rendering is a mistake. There are similar maxims, common at all times and in all countries. Virg., 'Georg.,' 2:272 -

"Adeo in teneris consuescere multum est." Horace, 'Epist.,' 1:2, 67 -

"Nunc adbibe puro
Pectore verba, puer."
For, as he proceeds -

"Quo semel est imbuta recens, servabit odorem
Testa diu."
Thus we have two mediaeval jingles -

"Cui puer assuescit, major dimittere nescit."
"Quod nova testa capit, inveterata sapit."
Then there is the German saw, "Jung gewohnt, alt gethan." "What youth learns, age does not forget," says the Danish proverb. In another and a sad sense the French exclaim, "St jeunesse savait! si vieillesse pouvait!" All the early manuscripts of the Septuagint omit this verse; m some of the later it has been supplied from Theodotion. Proverbs 22:66 Give to the child instruction conformably to His way;

   So he will not, when he becomes old, depart from it.

The first instruction is meant which, communicated to the child, should be על־פּי, after the measure (Genesis 43:7 equals post-bibl. לפי and כּפי) of his way, i.e., not: of his calling, which he must by and by enter upon (Bertheau, Zckler), which דּרכּו of itself cannot mean; also not: of the way which he must keep in during life (Kidduschin 30a); nor: of his individual nature (Elster); but: of the nature of the child as such, for דּרך נער is the child's way, as e.g., derek col-haarets, Genesis 19:31, the general custom of the land; derek Mitsrâyim, Isaiah 10:24, the way (the manner of acting) of the Egyptians. The instruction of youth, the education of youth, ought to be conformed to the nature of youth; the matter of instruction, the manner of instruction, ought to regulate itself according to the stage of life, and its peculiarities; the method ought to be arranged according to the degree of development which the mental and bodily life of the youth has arrived at. The verb חנך is a denominative like עקב, Proverbs 22:4; it signifies to affect the taste, חך ( equals חנך), in the Arab. to put date syrup into the mouth of the suckling; so that we may compare with it the saying of Horace, Ep. i. 2, 69: Quo semel est imbuta recens servabit odorem Testa diu. In the post-bibl. Heb. חנּוּך denotes that which in the language of the Church is called catechizatio; חנוך (לנער) ספר is the usual title of the catechisms. It is the fundamental and first requisite of all educational instruction which the proverb formulates, a suitable motto for the lesson-books of pedagogues and catechists. ממּנּה [from it] refers to that training of youth, in conformity with his nature, which becomes a second nature, that which is imprinted, inbred, becomes accustomed. Proverbs 22:6 is wanting in the lxx; where it exists in MSS of the lxx, it is supplied from Theodotion; the Complut. translates independently from the Heb. text.

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