Vol. 11 No. 6 June 2009
Louis Rushmore, Editor
“The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31 NKJV). The words “silver-haired head” come from a single Hebrew word that occurs 19 times in the Old Testament. It means, “old age,” and the Hebrew word is often translated “gray head” or “gray hairs.” Especially three verses in which this Hebrew word appears commend the elderly and offer worthy goals for all of us.
“You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:32). From this verse, we learn: (1) Respect for the elderly and God go hand-in-hand (Barnes); (2) God is honored in honoring the elderly (Keil and Delitzsch); (3) Respect for true wisdom on earth precedes respect for divine wisdom (Wycliffe); and (4) The society that does not respect the aged is headed for spiritual ruin (Coffman).
“The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31). From this verse, we learn: (1) Silver hair (i.e. gray, white) is a crown of glory for the aged – conditional upon righteousness (Wycliffe, Coffman); and (2) Not always, but unrighteousness often leads to a premature death, so righteousness often results in long life (Keil and Delitzsch).
“The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray head” (Proverbs 20:29). From this verse, we learn: (1) Older men do not and cannot rely on their former agility and strength, but if they have any strength, it is in their experience-proven wisdom (Clarke); (2) The strength of young men is better directed if they seek the counsel of older men (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown); (3) The strength of old men derives from their youthful duty in former years (Keil and Delitzsch); and (4) It is as much folly for the young to pretend to be wise already as it is for the old man to attempt to rely on youthful strength instead of acquired wisdom (Coffman).
As we close, please note: (1) One might erroneously conclude that living a good moral life, then, is all that is necessary to be pleasing to God; (2) In addition to a good moral life, we mortals must do what Jesus instructed immediately preceding his Ascension: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved…” (Mark 16:16); and (3) Likewise, the apostle Peter by divine inspiration included in the first Gospel sermon the same message: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38). Let us all complete our earthly journey – white-haired and truly righteous!