Proverbs 17:6

An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs
Charles Bridges

"Children's children are the crown of old men,
and the glory of children is their father."

This proverb has its limitation. What a crown of thorns to each other are an ungodly progeny and graceless parents! Little glory indeed did Rehoboam and his son add to their fathers. And little was the godly Hezekiah dignified by his reprobate parent. Gehazi brought shame, not glory, to his children.

But in the ordinary course, gracious children and parents reflect honor upon each other. Such parents rejoice in the number and growth of their children. Such children regard their father's name as their glory. Joseph was indeed a crown to his aged father, as was Jacob himself the glory of his child, even in a heathen nation. A good root makes the branches to flourish by virtue of the lively sap that it sends up. And flourishing branches win praise to the root for the pleasant fruit which they bring forth.

The Old Testament promise--"length of days"--was enhanced when accompanied with the blessing of children; yet even more when crowned with the increase of children's children. The true blessing, however, could only be known when children, early brought up into God's covenant, were trained in his ways, and "declared them to their children, that they might set their hope in God" (Ps. 78:5-7). Happy was the man who had his quiver full of such children. Happy the children thus crowned with the example of such fathers!

Abraham was the honorable, though delusive, boast of his seed. David was the glory of his children, preserving to them the throne of Judah for seventeen generations. And may not godly parents under a larger dispensation of grace, educating their children by example no less than by precept, not look for a godly seed--the children of the covenant who shall acknowledge infinite, eternal obligations to parental faith and godliness?

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