The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The beauty of old men is the grey head.—As suggesting the possession of experience and wisdom. It is the fault of the aged, therefore, if they do not receive the honour due to them, and this arises from their not having so spent their youth and middle age as to make their old age venerable.Proverbs 20:29. The glory of young men — That wherein they glory as their privilege above old men; is their strength — Namely, of body, and vigour and courage of mind; their fitness for action, their ability to go through business, and overcome difficulties which the aged and weak cannot grapple with. Their strength is their glory, provided they use it well, namely, in the service of God and their country, and not of their lusts; and that they be not proud of it, nor trust to it, remembering that it may soon become weakness, and that while they retain it, its being made a comfort to themselves, and useful to others, depends entirely on the blessing of God. And the beauty of old men is the gray head — That which makes old men venerable is their gravity and experience, which qualify them to give counsel in matters of doubt and difficulty, which are important. The design of this proverb is to declare the peculiar advantages which persons of different ages possess, and the mutual need which they have one of another; and thereby to excite them to mutual love and assistance, and to make every one contented with his own age and condition; and neither to envy nor despise his brother, for the difference of his age and situation in life, as is very usual among men.Genesis 2:7, the higher life, above that which he has in common with lower animals, coming to him direct from God. Such a life, with all its powers of insight, consciousness, reflection, is as a lamp which God has lighted, throwing its rays into the darkest recesses of the heart. A still higher truth is proclaimed in the Prologue of John's Gospel. The candle, or lamp of Yahweh, derives its light from "the Light that lighteth every man," even the Eternal Word. The glory of young men; that wherein they glory as their privilege above old men.
The beauty of old men is the grey head, i.e. their old age, expressed by the outward sign of it, wherein they glory as their peculiar privilege, as a testimony of their piety and God’s blessing, and as a token of their great experience and wisdom. The design of this proverb is to declare the several advantages of several ages, and the mutual need they have one of another, and thereby to engage them to mutual love and assistance, and to friendly converse, and to make every one contented with his own age and condition, and not to envy nor yet despise his brother, or the difference of their ages, as is very usual among men. Jeremiah 9:23;
and the beauty of old men is the gray head; an index of wisdom and prudence; see Job 12:12. The design of the proverb is to show that both have their excellencies and usefulness, young men and old men, and should not despise one another; nor either of them be despised in a commonwealth, both being useful in it, the one for strength, the other for counsel; and so in the church of Christ; see 1 John 2:13.The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 29. - The glory of young men is their strength. That which makes the ornament (tiphereth) of youth is unimpaired strength and vigour, which can only be attained by due exercise combined with self-control. The moralist (Ecclesiastes 11:9) bids the young man rejoice in his youth, and let his heart cheer him in those happy days, but at the same time remember that he is responsible for the use which he makes of his powers and faculties, for for all these things God will bring him to judgment. The Greek gives a needful warning -
Μέμνησο νέος α}ν ὡς γέρων ἔσῃ ποτέ
"In youth remember thou wilt soon be old." Septuagint, "Wisdom is an ornament to young men." But koach is bodily, not mental, power. The beauty of old men is the grey head (Proverbs 16:31). That which gives an honorable look to old age is the hoary head, which suggests wisdom and experience (comp. Ecclus. 25:3-6). On the other hand, the Greek gnomist warns -
Πολιὰ χρόνου μήνυσις οὐ φρονήσεως.
"Grey hairs not wisdom indicate, but age."
And deceitful balances are not good.
A variant to Proverbs 20:10, Proverbs 11:1. The pred. לא־טוב (Proverbs 17:26; Proverbs 18:5; Proverbs 19:3) is conceived of as neut.; they are not good, much rather bad and pernicious, for the deceiver succeeds only in appearance; in reality he fails.
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