Proverbs 3:16

16 Long life[a] is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor.[b]

Proverbs 3:16 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 3:16

Length of days [is] in her right hand
Wisdom is here represented as a queen, as indeed she is above all kings and queens; see ( Proverbs 8:15 Proverbs 8:16 Proverbs 8:18 ) ; holding in one hand, instead of a sceptre, "length of days"; and in the other, instead of a globe, riches and honour: the allusion is thought by some on this clause to be to an ancient custom of numbering things, and the ages of men, by the hand and fingers, beginning with the left hand, and when they came to a hundred went to the right F26; so that in that might be truly said to be "length of days", few arriving to that number: or rather the reference is to what Solomon received of the Lord, who, asking wisdom, had not that only, but a long life, and riches and honour; see ( 1 Kings 3:11-14 ) . Some think that only temporal blessings are here meant, and, because health and long life are preferable to wealth and honour, the former are said to be in the right hand, and the latter in the left; but seeing in the preceding verses the advantages of wisdom are superior to silver, gold, and precious stones, it can hardly be thought that she should be represented as only having temporal blessings in her hands to bestow on her followers. Others are of opinion that spiritual and eternal blessings are the right hand ones, being the principal; and temporal blessings are the left hand ones, as being the less valuable, ( Matthew 6:33 ) ; but to me they seem all of one sort, all spiritual and eternal ones, even those of the left hand, by comparing this passage with ( Proverbs 8:18 ) . By "length of days" is meant "length of days for ever and ever", ( Psalms 21:4 ) ; or eternal life, a life of vision or enjoyment of God; a life of perfect knowledge, holiness, and pleasure; being free from all the imperfections, difficulties, and distresses of the present one, and which will last for ever; this is in the hand of Christ, not the promise and grant of it only, but the thing itself, in consequence of his asking it of his Father: and which he has in a covenant way, and so has a right and power to bestow it: and it being in his hands shows both the valuableness and the security and safety of it; and also that it is to be had from him, and is in his gift, and in no other; and is a pure gift of his grace; wherefore happy is the man that finds Wisdom, or Christ, since he finds and has eternal life in him; [and] in her left hand riches and honour;
by "riches" are meant not temporal riches, for these are not always to the wise, nor to the children of Wisdom, nor of Christ; and all that have these are not happy, nor are they durable: but spiritual riches are intended, the riches of grace; of pardoning, justifying, and sanctifying grace, and of all supplies of grace; and also the riches of glory, which are solid and satisfying, immense and unsearchable, lasting and durable: and by "honour" is designed not the honour which comes from men, or the honour of this world; for such who find Christ, and are possessed of him, and profess him, have but a small share of this, being, generally speaking, accounted the faith and offscouring of the world; but yet they are the children of God, and so have that name which is better than to be the sons and daughters of the greatest monarch; they are the spouse of Christ, and so his queen that stands at his right hand in gold of Ophir; they are made kings and priests unto God, and shall reign with Christ for evermore; this honour have all the saints, and is what is in the hands of Christ to give, and does give, to all that believe in him: or "glory" F1, as the word signifies; the glory of God, eternal glory; this as well as grace is Christ's gift, ( Psalms 84:11 ) .


F26 Vid. Nebrissens. Quinquagena, c. 16. & Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier l. 1. c. 14. to which Juvenial refers, when speaking of Nestor, "----suos jam dextra computat annos", Satyr. 10. v. 249.
F1 (dwbk) "gloria", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Cocceius, Schultens.

Proverbs 3:16 In-Context

14 for she is more profitable than silver, and her revenue is better than gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels; nothing you desire compares with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant, and all her paths, peaceful.
18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, and those who hold on to her are happy.

Footnotes 2

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