Proverbs 17:6

Children and Their Fathers


1. Here Solomon gives us another gem of wisdom.

2. This portion of the proverb basically says that old men usually glory in their grandchildren… and children usually glory in their fathers.

3. This is a simple and basic truth or fact of life.

4. Remember, these are proverbs… little nuggets. They do not cover every possible situation.

5. Here Solomon tells us how things OUGHT to be.

6. In the real world, it is not always the case, but this is to be the NORM.

6a Children’s children are the crown of old men;

A. Crown defined

1. Strong’s: a crown or wreath…

2. Dict. of Bib. Lang. = a precious metal adornment worn on the head often as a symbol of rulership or high status.

3. The term is most often used in a figurative sense, as it is here.

a. A literal crown was a symbol of honor and glory.

b. Hence, the term came to be a figure of speech describing anything a person might glory in or rejoice over… something someone is proud of… in a good sense.

c. Prov. 16:31 – the hoary head is likened to a crown of glory (something to glory in… rejoice over…)

d. Prov. 12:4 – a virtuous woman is a crown to her husband… someone he glories in and rejoices in.

4. Psalm 128:3-6 – it was considered a great honor to live long enough to see your children’s children.

a. This is especially so when your children’s children are still walking in the ways of the Lord.

b. III John 4 – no greater joy than to see one’s children walking in the truth.

c. This is doubly so when you see your children’s children STILL walking in the truth. What a delight!

5. The old men – patriarchs of their families delighted to see their grandchildren

a. They delighted to see them carry on the family name… the family reputation… to continue the tribe… the family business… to maintain the family farmland…

b. They especially rejoiced to see wisdom manifested in their children and grandchildren.

c. Ecc. 2:18-20 – Solomon thought it a cause for despair if you had no one to leave your life’s work to… and worse to leave it to a fool.

d. Thus wise children and wise grandchildren were especially delightful to old men… to grandpa! Something to glory in! A crown! It topped his long life with happiness and contentment.

e. Ps 127:3 – the fruit of the womb are a REWARD… this refers to ALL the fruit from the womb… children… grandchildren… and great-grandchildren!

f. These passages speak of one’s heritage… family… tribe… nation… etc.

6b And the glory of children are their fathers

B. GLORY defined:

a. Strong’s: beauty; splendor; glory; honour; boasting.

b. The state or quality of giving high attribution or status to someone.

c. The state or quality of being legitimately proud of a person or circumstance.

d. Prov. 20:29, “‘the glory’ of the young is their strength.”

e. It speaks of that which one honors and is proud of… glories in…

1. Children normally are proud of their fathers… they glory in their fathers.

a. They will certainly have days when they don’t get along, but over all, children normally delight in their fathers.

b. Fathers were to be honored by their children. That was one of the commandments.

c. It was expected… even commanded… but it should be natural affection.

2. Deut. 12:25, 28 – it was to the BENEFIT of a child to have a father who obeyed God’s law.

a. When dad obeyed the law, things would go well for dad, but also for his children after him!

b. Children benefit from a godly parent.

c. A child should rejoice to have such a father.

d. The godly lifestyle of the father should produce an atmosphere that puts his child in a distinct advantage over many other children… whose parents are not godly.

e. Thus, children benefit from it—for generations to come.

f. The opposite is true as well. Children bear the sins of their fathers up to the third and fourth generations. (some behaviors seem to be taught and passed down for generations—abuse; violence; alcohol; etc.)

g. Children should GLORY in having a father who loves the Lord.

3. Ex. 22:22 – It is an awful thing to grow up without a father.

a. Therefore, God took special care of the fatherless in the Old Testament.

b. In many passages we see God standing up for the fatherless in the Old Testament… and pronouncing judgment against those who hurt them or took advantage of them.

c. To be fatherless was considered an awful curse; to have a father was a delight… that was the norm.

d. Today, we have thousands of young boys and girls growing up without a father—for various reasons: parents are divorced; dad is in prison; drug or alcohol problems; death; etc.

e. Children WANT to glory in their fathers… in their parents.

f. As a church family, we should take under our wings young people who come to us who are fatherless. That is an expression of godliness. They are missing out on that which other children GLORY in: having a dad!

4. Normally, children delight in their fathers. It’s natural.

a. This should be the case not only for children to delight in their parents when they are young, but also when their parents are aging.

b. It is NOT good for a child to consider caring for an older parent to be a burden.

c. Parents should be loved and honored in their old age too.

5. In a sense, this passage speaks of a good kind of pride (glorying) that relates to our heritage.

a. The old men referred to a grandfather or other patriarch… an ancestor.

b. Children’s children often referred to descendants in general (not grandchildren in particular).

c. Hence, the passage speaks about a normal, natural sense of respect and delight one takes in his family, his tribe, his earthly heritage.

d. In our politically correct world today, we are almost afraid to mention that we have a heritage.

e. That thinking is foreign to the Bible.

f. It is something we should glory in.

g. In fact, our heritage and nationalism will be maintained during the glorious kingdom!
• All nations will be there… under Christ… regenerated… and exulting and glorying in their uniqueness…
• This is something God built into His creatures… the capacity to grow and develop a unique culture… all UNDER Christ.

h. The kingdom is not one monolithic, amalgamated culture… a one world blob of humanity.

i. In the Kingdom national identity and national cultures remain intact. Evidently the politically correct police will be put in jail…

j. In the Kingdom, instead of pretending that the nations of the world don’t have any cultural differences… instead of fighting over our differences, we will be appreciating and rejoicing in our differences and diversity… as we do today in the Body of Christ.

k. We will be glorying in our heritage… and praising God for His wisdom in making the whole world of mankind… with such great diversity.

The Unstated Assumption:

1. The assumption is that family members glory in their patriarchs and in their children when they are rightly related to God and each other.

a. When that is the case, and godliness rules, children are a crown to their fathers.

b. When that is not the case, children can be a crown of thorns to their fathers. (There are many such cases in the Bible: Rehoboam was no glory to Solomon; Manasseh was no glory to godly Hezekiah.)

2. Deut. 6:2 – God’s word is to be taught and passed down from generation to generation.

3. There is to be no generation gap between generations.

a. The various generations appreciate each other… that’s the way it OUGHT to be.

b. This is good for our country; in our homes; and in the church

c. The older generation—grandpa is to be revered and honored by the young ones. The youth can be a delight to grandpa too—relive his youth… make him feel young again…

d. We don’t follow the Biblical pattern for family very well in our country… and it is to our great loss.