The Hoary Head

by: Bill Bratt


Most of us have been taught to honor our elders, the ladies and gentlemen who are beyond middle age, and perhaps are retired.

The book of Proverbs offers an important concept possessed by the elderly: "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness" (Proverbs 16:31 KJV).

The book of Proverbs also tells us that young men have strength for their glory: "The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray head" (Proverbs 20:29).

The word "hoary" is defined as: "gray or white with or as if with age."

Other Bible translations translates the word "hoary" as: gray hair or silver-haired. We hate to admit it, but the gray, silver and white hair comes with old age.

Letís notice what this proverb says: "The hoary head is a crown of glory IF it be found in the way of righteousness." The word "glory" can be defined as: "something that secures praise and honor." Glory also denotes great beauty, splendor and magnificence.

In our old age we are blessed with gray, silver or white hair which is a crown of splendor and glory.

Notice that the next word in this verse is: "IF." This is a conditional statement. The clause that follows tells us the condition that "the hoary head is a crown of glory." Old age may be the "crown of glory " or reward of a good life when the aged one is found "in the way of righteousness."

What is "righteousness"? King David revealed in his longest psalm in the Bible: "For all Your commandments are righteousness" (Psalms 119:172).

Luke records in his gospel account the story of John the Baptistís parents, Zacharias and Elizabeth:

"And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless"

(Luke 1:6). How were they righteous? By keeping Godís Commandments.

Now letís notice an example of a "hoary head": "Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; {37}and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day" (Luke 2:36-37). Notice the righteous example of this lady who was of great age, she "served God with fastings and prayers night and day".

To be "righteous" is to be "right with God" and to be "right with God" is to "keep His Commandments."

We all will eventually be a part of the older generation and will be "hoary headed." For us to have that "crown of glory" we must set a right example, be righteous and keep Godís Commandments.