What does Proverbs 1:9 mean?
ESV: for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
NIV: They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
NASB: For they are a graceful wreath for your head And necklaces for your neck.
CSB: for they will be a garland of favor on your head and pendants around your neck.
NLT: What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.
KJV: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.
NKJV: For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.
Verse Commentary:
Verse 9 likens our parents to a garland or a pendant. This custom of adorning oneself with jewelry has not changed much in thousands of years. Jewelry is a status symbol and serves as an item of beautification. Solomon gives a clear picture that parents (more specifically the instructions of parents) are not to be despised. Instead, they should be seen as treasures.

The wise instructions of a parent, like fine jewelry, are often obtained at great cost. They have history, value, and can even be passed along to future generations. Further, those who actively use the wisdom of their parents will see it reflected in their lives. Other people will notice the wise choices, wise behavior, and wise words, just as someone will notice the fine jewelry a person puts on. In terms of wisdom, this is far better than jewelry, since wisdom can be spread to others who see it and learn from it.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 1:8–19 is a warning against foolishness and the allure of sinful behavior. Solomon begins this warning by appealing to his children to honor their parents' teaching. As any parent knows, it’s often best to outline a negative behavior before stating the consequences of that behavior. The example used seems extreme, but it is meant to point towards an obvious conclusion.
Chapter Summary:
Proverbs Chapter 1 provides a clear description of the purpose of the book. It is stated plainly who wrote the book, the lineage of Solomon, and to whom he was writing. Solomon gives four distinct purpose statements in the opening verses. The essence of these is to explain why he is writing the book as well as the source of his inspiration. Solomon concludes with a warning against sinfulness and a personal plea for his children to act wisely.
Chapter Context:
Proverbs Chapter 1 is clearly born out of Solomon’s life history. Solomon held himself back from no earthly pleasure, he had everything he could ever desire, and in the end he saw the foolishness of his actions. Chapter 1 is Solomon’s reflection on his own life, how he had all the wisdom of God available to him, and yet chose to follow after foolish desires. Other chapters detail the advice which this experience allows Solomon to give.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
Accessed 4/23/2024 8:53:35 PM
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