Proverbs 22:1 Dissected & Defined
“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.”
Dissected & Defined
Good is to be sufficiently perfect in comparison to another. Chosen means selected. Silver and gold is an old English monetary system. Today it would be termed as “great wealth.”
This verse is self-explanatory. However, the “underlying meaning” is not found in its explanation, but in society’s unwillingness to apply it.
The Value of Reputation
There are few things that can tarnish someone’s reputation as much as money. There are few things that people value more than money and reputation is seldom one of them. For these two reasons, this extremely wealthy man told us that his reputation was more valuable than his wealth.
Consequences of a Soiled Reputation
Solomon learned this the hard way. He was a man that once had a reputation so good that the best things people said about him only represented half of the great things he had accomplished. He ended his life with a soiled reputation. Solomon is mentioned as much for his wisdom and riches as he is for his polygamy and misery.
What do you think led to this? Did his wisdom lead him to marry many and be mired in misery? Of course not! It was his money! It tarnished his reputation. Though he had a great start, as he waned in years, he chose great wealth over a great witness. He later tells us that when he “…looked on all the works that [his] hands had wrought, and on the labour that [he] had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit…” (Ecc. 2:11).
Vexation means little provocations. He said all he had accumulated through self-effort led to nothing more than constant irritations and provocations in his spirit. No profit means to break even—no gain or loss.
A final mathematical equation in the life of Solomon was this: