For 10¢ a day you can enjoy ads
free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 22:1

A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Character;   Holiness;   Name;   Reputation;   Thompson Chain Reference - Good;   Name;   The Topic Concordance - Wealth;  
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Pardon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Egypt;   Proverbs, Book of;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Name;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Poor;   Silver;  

Clarke's Commentary


A good reputation. The rich and the poor. The idle. Good habits

formed in infancy. Injustice and its effects. The providence of

God. The lewd woman. The necessity of timely correction.

Exhortation to wisdom. Rob not the poor. Be not the companion

of the froward. Avoid suretyship. Be honest. The industrious

shall be favoured.


Verse Proverbs 22:1. A good nameשם shem, a name, put for reputation, credit, fame. Used nearly in the same way that we use it: "He has got a name;" "his name stands high;" for "He is a man of credit and reputation." טבא toba, καλον, [Arabic] hamood, and bonum, are added by the Chaldee, Septuagint, Arabic, and Vulgate, all signifying good or excellent.

Is rather to be chosen than great riches — Because character will support a man in many circumstances; and there are many rich men that have no name: but the word of the man of character will go farther than all their riches.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Children and adults (22:1-16)

People vary in reputation and status, but they should respect one another as being equally God’s creatures (22:1-2). Wise people will act with caution and humility. They will bring up their children in a way that prepares them for the experiences they will face in the life ahead (3-6). Those who borrow will fall into the power of the lenders, and this can lead to unjust treatment of the poor by the rich. Such oppression will be punished, but generosity will be rewarded (7-9).
When people are trying to work together as a group, harmony and understanding are essential. It is better to get rid of, than to tolerate, the person who makes trouble. A sincere person is an asset (10-11). God wants people to act according to truth and knowledge. He has no pleasure in the lazy who make excuses or the immoral who seduce others (12-14). Wise parental discipline can correct childish foolishness. Adult greed can lead to persecution of the poor and bribery of the rich, but in due course it will be punished (15-16).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:1". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Proverbs 22:1

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, And loving favor rather than silver and gold."

"Riches are greatly esteemed in the world; and, wisely managed, they serve many valuable purposes; but they do not contribute as much to genuine tranquility and happiness of life as do the esteem and love of one's neighbors. Paul's qualifications for elders did not require them to be rich, but to have a good name among Christians and even among the heathen."[1]

Copyright Statement
Coffman's Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:1". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Omit “good.” The word is an insertion. To the Hebrew, “name” by itself conveyed the idea of good repute, just as “men without a name” (compare Job 30:8 margin) are those sunk in ignominy. The margin gives a preferable rendering of the second clause of this verse.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Smith's Bible Commentary

Chapter 22

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold ( Proverbs 22:1 ).

The good name, so important, so valuable. Good reputation, so important. "Rather to be chosen than great riches. Loving favor rather than silver and gold."

The rich and the poor meet together ( Proverbs 22:2 ):

Where? In the eyes of the Lord.

for the LORD is the maker of them all ( Proverbs 22:2 ).

You know, God can't be impressed with your bank account. We all meet together when we stand before God. The rich and the poor, we're all alike. We meet together. There's a common ground. Whenever we stand before the Lord, we're meeting on common grounds. Except, as I understand the scripture, the poor man has maybe a few advantages. "How hard it is for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven" ( Mark 10:24 ). That is, how hard it is for those who trust in riches. The danger of riches is always that tendency and temptation to trust in your riches. I've learned that I can buy my way out of problems with my money. I learn that I can use money to influence people or to control people. And I'm used to, then, the manipulation of people because of my financial prowess. Poor person doesn't have any of those problems. When you stand before the Lord, the rich and the poor meet together.

The prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hides himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished ( Proverbs 22:3 ).

The prudent man. Now we see the evil that is going to result from a life of sin, and we hide our self in the provisions that God has made through Jesus Christ. We hide from that day of judgment. But the simple, they're going to pass right on into it and will be punished.

By humility and the fear of the LORD [or reverence of the Lord] are riches, honor, and life ( Proverbs 22:4 ).

Now, "He that follows after righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness and honor." Here, "By humility and the reverence of the Lord are riches, honor and life."

Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse: and he who keeps his soul shall be far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it ( Proverbs 22:5-6 ).

This particular passage of scripture has been the center of great controversy. There are many people who, with an aching heart, looking at their children who are rebelling from the things of the Lord, and their hearts filled with wonderment as to how the child could turn so far from God. But yet, God has declared, "Train up a child." Of course, it does involve that responsibility of training the child. The Hebrew word is one that we translate kanakais, it's a systematic form of training.

But what did you train your child to be? What was your primary purpose for your child? What was your goal for your children? What did you want for them above everything else? You say, "Well, I wanted them to be successful. I wanted them to be happy. I wanted them to have a successful career. I wanted them to have a good education." Well, they are purely pagan goals and ideals for your children. They're totally un-Christian. The primary goal that we should have for each of our children is that they walk with the Lord. That they learn to know God and serve God and walk with Him.

And that is not undervaluing education. I think that it's great. I think a person should avail himself the opportunity of every educational advantage he can receive. But that should never be our goal. Our goal should be that our children will walk with the Lord. And I'd rather have them walking with the Lord and be an ignoramus and work in some very menial work than I would to have them have their Ph.D.'s and be agnostic or atheistic or blasphemous against God.

Not all of our children graduated from college. I have to confess a disappointment that they did not take full advantage of all of the natural God-given intellectual capacities that they had in going to college. And yet, we've learned to commit this completely into the hands of the Lord. The fact that they went to college or graduated from college or not doesn't really make any difference to me. I'm thankful they're walking with Him. That's what's important. It could be that in college their minds could have been twisted. It could have been that their values could have been destroyed. The true values. I would much rather that they be walking with the Lord than to have their Ph.D.'s.

"Train up a child." What is the goal that you have? That's important. If you're training a child to be successful, he may be successful. But he also may be a successful infidel. "Train up your child in the way he should go, when he's old, he will not depart from it."

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail. He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor ( Proverbs 22:7-9 ).

God's mark upon generosity. "He that has a bountiful eye shall be blessed when he will give to the poor."

Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease ( Proverbs 22:10 ).

It's amazing what one scorner can do in bringing strife and contention. So, cast out the scorner. Here at Calvary Chapel, actually, we have requested many scorners not to come back. That's usually Romaine's job, and he does it quite effectively. But it's valuable. You know, it's a healthy body that can purge its system of the poisons. And when a body is no longer strong enough to purge itself of its poisons, that body is going to die.

In the New Testament it says to get rid of the leaven for, "a little leaven will leaven the whole lump" ( Galatians 5:9 ). So cast out that leaven. Same thing here. Cast out the scorner and you can get rid of so many problems. The contentions and all will cease.

He that loves pureness of heart, for the grace of lips the king shall be his friend. The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor. The slothful man says, There is a lion outside, I'll be slain in the streets ( Proverbs 22:11-13 ).

Any excuse to keep from going to work. And, again, as Benjamin Franklin said, "The man who is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else."

The mouth of a strange woman is a deep pit: and he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall in it ( Proverbs 22:14 ).

Verse Proverbs 22:15 . Again, as far as the correction of our children.

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it from him ( Proverbs 22:15 ).

Solomon, no doubt, observed his father David's mistake. David was an extremely poor disciplinarian. And as a result of his being a poor disciplinarian, his sons rebelled against him. It is spoken of one of David's sons that he never once punished him or did anything to antagonize him. He just left him alone. And that son grew up to hate David and rebelled against David. Of course, Absalom also rebelled against his father. David was just a poor disciplinarian.

So many times we have the false concept. "Well, I don't want, you know, I don't want to break this bond between my child and I. I won't punish him. I'll just let him go." And that laxity, lack of discipline. "The foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of instruction will drive it far from him." A child left to himself will bring reproach to his parents.

He that oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he who gives to the rich, shall surely come to want ( Proverbs 22:16 ).

Now at this point, the whole thing of the Proverbs begin to change a bit. We've had proverbs for a long period that more or less are isolated singly and stand alone. Sometimes you have a couplet, two of them together. But now the whole procedure of the Proverbs change, and we now have longer proverbs. That is, they take two, three, four verses in the proverbs that we now follow. You'll notice this definite change, and rather than just little four-liners, they now expand on a particular thought.

Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart unto my knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I may make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? ( Proverbs 22:17-21 )

So that whole paragraph now is the one idea of just hearken to the instruction that I'm going to give to you. Keep it. And basically the instruction is to teach you to trust in the Lord.

The next two verses form one thought.

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them ( Proverbs 22:22-23 ).

Again, God taking up the cause of the poor person. Twenty-four and twenty-five make up one thought.

Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest you learn his ways, and get a snare in your soul ( Proverbs 22:24-25 ).

Twenty-six and twenty-seven are together.

Be not thou one of them that strikes hands, or of them that are surety for debts. For if you have nothing to pay, why should they take away your bed from under thee? ( Proverbs 22:26-27 )

How many people who have you known signed as a surety have been stung. So it's a warning against signing as a surety for someone else. Co-signing on this loan for me, friend, be careful.

Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set ( Proverbs 22:28 ).

Now this, of course, came as a law in the book of Deuteronomy where they were prohibited from removing the landmarks. The landmarks have been established by God. Property ownership and the limits of that property ownership. "Remove not the landmark." I think of it in a spiritual sense. The landmark is the guidelines, and in a spiritual sense, unfortunately, we are living in the day when many men have sought to remove the spiritual type of landmarks or the foundational truths of the Word of God. And what confusion has ensued when men start playing around with the foundational truths of Christianity. Questioning the authority of the Word of God. Questioning the deity of Jesus Christ. And men starting to remove these landmarks. Confusion results.

You see a man that is diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men ( Proverbs 22:29 ).

Or in the Hebrew, obscure men. "

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:1". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

"In our modern, hedonistic, pleasure-seeking culture, character and reputation have a way of being ignored if not actually denigrated. True value must be seen, however, not in what one has but in what he or she truly is. A good name is an asset whose currency is unaffected by the boom or bust of the material world." [Note: Merrill, p. 495.]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:1". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.

Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

A [good] name [is] rather to be chosen than great riches,.... The word "good" is not in the text, but is rightly supplied, as it is by the Targum, Septuagint, and Vulgate Latin versions; for it is not any name that is more eligible than riches; nor is it a need name among any sort of persons; for to have a good name with some turns to a man's reproach rather than to his credit; but a good name among good men, a name in the house of God, which is better than sons and daughters; a new name, the name of the children of God, which no man knoweth but he that receiveth it; this is to be preferred to a multitude of riches: it is not to be procured by them, and is where they are not, or are lost, but this continues; see Ecclesiastes 7:1;

[and] loving favour rather them silver and gold; favour with God and man, especially with God, whose loving kindness is better than life, and all the enjoyments of it: or, as it may be rendered, "grace [is] better than silver and gold" p; the grace of God through Christ, the grace of Christ, in whom all fulness of it dwells, the grace of the Spirit of Christ; faith is more precious than gold that perisheth; and if a man would give all the substance of his house for love it would be contemned; the Spirit and his grace are not to be purchased for money.

p חן טוב "gratia melior", Munster, Tigurine version, Junius Tremellius, Michaelis so Schultens.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:1". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

      1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

      Here are two things which are more valuable and which we should covet more than great riches:-- 1. To be well spoken of: A name (that is, a good name, a name for good things with God and good people) is rather to be chosen than great riches; that is, we should be more careful to do that by which we may get and keep a good name than that by which we may raise and increase a great estate. Great riches bring great cares with them, expose men to danger, and add no real value to a man. A fool and a knave may have great riches, but a good name makes a man easy and safe, supposes a man wise and honest, redounds to the glory of God, and gives a man a greater opportunity of doing good. By great riches we may relieve the bodily wants of others, but by a good name we may recommend religion to them. 2. To be well beloved, to have an interest in the esteem and affections of all about us; this is better than silver and gold. Christ has neither silver nor gold, but he grew in favour with God and man,Luke 2:52. This should teach us to look with a holy contempt upon the wealth of this world, not to set our hearts upon that, but with all possible care to think of those things that are lovely and of good report,Philippians 4:8.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 22:1". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.