The Meaning of Proverbs 17:6 – On the Beauty of Grandchildren

Chris —  July 1, 2013

The meaning of Proverbs 17:6 tells us that grandchildren are jewels that adorn their grandparents.Proverbs 17:6 reads, “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.” The point is that grandchildren are beautiful jewels that grandparents wear like strings of pearls.

In leading funeral services I have often found myself comforting grandchildren by telling them what a treasure they have been to their grandparents. Looking down from the pulpit to the tear filled eyes of grieving grandchildren. My heart hurts for them.

On many such occasions, I have commented on the meaning of Proverbs 17:6. I say something like the following:

For the grandchildren, my heart goes out to you. There is something your grandma would want me to say publicly to you based on the meaning of Proverbs 17:6.

Proverbs 17:6 tells us that grandchildren are the crowned of the aged. That means that for your grandma, you were like a beautiful crown. She “wore” you around and you are far more beautiful than crowned jewels. So the Bible tells us: “Children’s children are a crown to the aged.”

There are queens in the world who wear diamonds or rubies that are worth more than the value of all our homes combined. You know that your grandma didn’t have a crown like that. But what she had was far more valuable than diamonds or rubies.

For their part, most grandparents find it easy to agree with  Kitchen’s (375)  comment on Proverbs 17:6:

The elderly man (Proverbs 16:31) finds a ‘crown’ of reward and honor in being surrounded by grandchildren (Gen 48:11, Psalm 128:5-6). His life has mattered, it continues on, in a sense, through succeeding generations. He has not only raised up godly sons and daughters, but he has raised them to raise up the same kind of children. There is hope for the future!

We should not miss that the relationship flows both ways. The meaning of Proverbs 17:6 also encourages us that, “the glory of children is their fathers.” Nothing so adorns children, and brightens their lives, like godly fathers and mothers.

Kitchen (376) goes on to warn that it is not necessarily the case that grandchildren are a blessing to their parents, any more than fathers necessarily bring glory to their children.

 He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy. Proverbs 17:21 ESV.

 A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him. Proverbs 17:25 ESV.


Bound Together by Chris BraunsOne of the reasons I wrote my book, Bound Together: How We Are Tied To Others in Good and Bad Choices, was to encourage people who have family members making poor choices. In the introduction to chapter 8, “A Red Rope for Hurting Families,” I wrote:

How do you comfort someone who has a family member making poor decisions? For the nearly twenty years as a pastor, I have been prayerfully considering how to answer that question. What does a pastor say to a mother or father whose adult son is homeless because of drug addiction? Or to parents whose children have been arrested for a felony? Or to those whose children have denied the faith? What do you say to the father of a prodigal who has despised his family and travelled to a far country to squander his inheritance in riotous living (Luke 15:1-30)?

How does a pastor comfort a man who has found his unrepentant wife in bed with another man? How do you counsel a wife when her husband tells his her that she must accept his infidelity as a way of life?

If you are going through the pain of a wayward child, an unfaithful spouse, or some other broken family relationship, my heart goes out to you. I’m not sure that there is any category of pain worse than family pain. I’ve watched people battle cancer, heart disease, and paralysis. I’ve seen others lose jobs and careers. Yet, is has been my experience personally, and my observation as a pastor, that there is something uniquely devastating about the pain of a rebellious family member.

Even if you have not endured the pain of a loved one turning away from Christ, you have undoubtedly seen the varied emotions of those whose family members have let them down. Some are angry. Husbands blame wives and wives blame husbands. Others point an accusing finger at the youth group or church where they or their child never connected. Some beat themselves up and are utterly devastated feeling that they have failed those they love the most. Others toss in bed wondering where their son or daughter or husband or wife will spend eternity.

Many who have family members making decisions with eternally negative consequences simply live in denial. They don’t even ask for prayer. They refuse to face the reality that their loved one will spend eternity apart from Christ. Who among us can think very often of that possibility for people we love? Yet it is there.

I approach this chapter humbly. I haven’t arrived at a definitive solution for how to minister to those who have family pain. There will not be complete resolution to that problem until Christ returns.  But this is an area of ministry where the principle of the rope becomes very practical. If you are in pain over a loved one, I pray you will find some comfort here.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I often encourage grieving grandchildren with the meaning of Proverbs 17:6, but I never leave the funeral message simply with that point. It is always my goal to point grieving people to the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, because those who know Christ will meet again very soon, gathered around the throne of the Lord Jesus Christ – – in His presence – – all of us jewels who reflect His glory.


Be Sociable, Share!

13 responses to The Meaning of Proverbs 17:6 – On the Beauty of Grandchildren

  1. Heidi Underhill July 1, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Good post!! Cute kid:-)

  2. I love this post and the excerpt from the book. It is obvious that you have a lot of compassion and understanding for people facing family difficulties. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Lucy, Thanks so much for commenting. I am a pastor so I do have a heart for those who are hurting.

  4. I was just trying to complete my 30 days guide to better understand the prescription for children and was ending with Proverbs 17:6. I was looking up a few things on this verse and your article came up. Nothing is ever by accident, God is my guide (when I allow him to guide!). I’ll never forget the counseling session where I was told my daughter may not choose Gods way and I needed to prepare my heart for that. NO WAY, I have promises from God’s word, I believe in the power of prayer, I believe God’s word for my children. I will wait to get the crowns on earth (those grandkids), and working on crowns to give my heavenly father. I must agree, family troubles seem to hurt in such a different way than medical issues, and even financial. God will give you the words for those who come to you. Thanks for the article

  5. You are very welcome Eva. Your response this morning was very encouraging and one I needed to hear! Thank you so much for stopping by.

  6. Thank you for you words of wisdom, I think I’ll go back and read Bound Together again, The challenge is always how to reach the relative without pushing them away. RHYB

  7. oops, it’s Book, not Bood

  8. Thank you Rebecca! Great to hear from you! I’ve thought of your recently. I pray you and the cat are well (and also Ray).

  9. this is a very good post, I am working on a will just have a life insurance for my children and grandchildren, some say leave more to the grandchildren and less to the adult children I need help in this.

  10. Chris, this is a timely post. Our Tammy, John’s wife, bid goodbye in this life to her Granddad, WH. There are grieving grandchildren and great grandchildren. Your words brought them comfort. Thank you.

  11. Marge, I’m sorry to hear this. I pray that the Lord will give all of them strength.

  12. I’m searching for scripture meaning to help me with my beautiful daughter who is now 18, for a couple of years now she has stopped believing that God exists and on a big spiral downwards.. Alcohol, drugs, different men.. Toxic friends.. She got into law school after high school and dropped out, the pain I feel is excrusicating.. I feel that although she is alive in flesh she is dead.. I’m feeling like a complete failure and am now questioning the way I parent, I have 3 boys still growing up.. Please pray for her in Jesus name.

  13. Anne-Marie, I am so concerned for you. I would encourage you to spend time in the Psalms. Keep praying. It’s not over yet. And be sure and be part of a growing church.