Proverbs 25:7

For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.
– Proverbs 25:7

Humility and patience are better than promoting oneself and later being humiliated. The king or prince determines the places of their people. If you grasp for a higher place, you will likely be shamed when someone higher in standing arrives and you must give place to him. Jesus alluded to these wisdom principles in Luke 14:8-10. At first glance, the proverb may seem mere helpful advice to avoid social embarrassment. With further reflection, wisdom teaches there are more important matters than one’s social standing, whether real or perceived.

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Proverbs 25:6

Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:
– Proverbs 25:6

Verses 6-7 continue the theme of kings and courtiers. The presence of the king in this verse obviously continues the link with the previous. These two verses form a better-than saying concerning humility. To be put … forth or stand … in the place of great men is to be promoted. The warning here is against self-promotion, as wisdom elsewhere teaches is distasteful (Proverbs 25:27; 27:2). Since the “heart of kings is unsearchable” and therefore their favor never secure, caution and discipline are advised (Proverbs 23:1-8).

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Proverbs 22:4

By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honor, and life.
– Proverbs 22:4

The beginning by expresses a consequence. The condition is humility and fear of the Lord. The result, or reward, is riches, honor, and life. The word for humility means condescension, modesty, or meekness. The word is set opposite haughtiness in Proverbs 18:12. Pride brings destruction, but true honor is preceded by humility (Proverbs 11:2; 16:5, 18-19; 29:23). Fear and humility are the necessary conditions for acquiring wisdom (Proverbs 2:5; 8:13; 9:10). The rewards of wisdom are elsewhere expressed in these terms (Proverbs 3:16; 21:21).

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Proverbs 18:12

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honor is humility.
– Proverbs 18:12

To be haughty is to be lofty, or exalted, at least in one’s own eyes. Self-conceit primes one to be brought low (Proverbs 16:18; 26:12; 29:23). The second phrase appears in another proverb where humility is coupled with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 15:33). Wisdom brings honor, but that path leads through humility (Proverbs 3:16).

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Proverbs 16:19

Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
– Proverbs 16:19

This proverb continues with the thought of the previous one. Pride precedes destruction and, therefore, it is better to be humble. The word for humble means low and the word for lowly means poor. To divide the spoil with the proud is to share in the product of their wicked schemes and oppressions (Proverbs 1:8-19). Being oppressed by the proud is better than oppressing with them. Even if being poor, being humble more prepares one for God’s blessing (Proverbs 15:33; James 4:6).

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Proverbs 15:33

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.
– Proverbs 15:33

Proverbs begins with the root issue of acquiring wisdom. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). There is no wisdom without the fear of the Lord. Fools do not want the fear of the Lord and therefore do not acquire wisdom, though they try to get it other ways (Proverbs 17:16). The word for instruction means discipline, or training. So the fear of the Lord is not only the beginning of the way of wisdom, but it is the whole course. Acquiring wisdom requires humility, and that is the only way to the honor wisdom brings (Proverbs 3:16). The contrast is pride that refuses reproofs and goes on to destruction (Proverbs 18:12; 29:23).

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Proverbs 12:9

He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better then he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.
– Proverbs 12:9

This is one of the proverbs that deals with reality versus appearances. Despised here refers to someone of mean standing in the community. They have humility of circumstances. The fact they have a servant illustrates they have some means, though modest, through honest work and gain. To be better means to be better off, or in a better state than another. In this case, the first is better than the one who boasts and promotes himself to be seen as wealthy, powerful, etc. when he is poor in reality. Jesus spoke of this sort of humility when he taught that we should let another honor us if honor is indeed due us rather than taking honor to ourselves (Luke 14:8-11).

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Proverbs 11:2

When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.
– Proverbs 11:2

The word for pride indicates a high arrogance, or hubris. It speaks of one who must have his own way, and Proverbs points out the end of that way is shame, or disgrace, and elsewhere destruction (Proverbs 16:18; 18:12). The word for lowly means humility and it is the way of wisdom. Humility with wisdom is better than great riches (Proverbs 16:19). Humility always precedes any true promotion (Proverbs 15:33).

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Proverbs 6:3

Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
– Proverbs 6:3

Solomon employs the language of urgency and immediate action. If you have found yourself in this situation, get out of it as soon as possible. Deliver means to tear away and answers to the image of being ensnared in the previous verse. Humble has the thought of trample. It is a picture of lying down on the ground and being walked on. The point is to humble yourself to whatever extent necessary. To make sure means to urge and implies strenuously. Solomon does not advise trickery or deceit, but he does implore to lower yourself however far necessary and to pursue urgently the release from your hasty suretyship.

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