Proverbs 26:12

Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.

– Proverbs 26:12

This verse is the last proverb in this group about fools. To be wise in one’s own eyes, or in one’s conceit, is to be proud and right by your own judgment. It is a mark of folly as it is set contrary to the “fear of the Lord” in Proverbs 3:7, which is the very beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). It is not describing the naïve simpleton of low information, but rather the knowledgeable proud who is obstinate in his self-confidence. Being proud of his knowledge makes him harder than a fool.

 


 

 

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 21:24

Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.
– Proverbs 21:24

The wording of this proverb is awkward. The word for name indicates the reputation or character of a person by figure. The scorner, or scoffer, is at the far end of the spectrum of fools in Proverbs. They are not simple or ignorant, but proud and haughty, which means they obstinately refuse wisdom (Proverbs 9:7-8; 13:3; 15:12). The word for wrath means outburst of passion. The scorner is marked by arrogantly pouring out his anger. He is ripe for judgment (Proverbs 16:18; 18:12; 19:29).

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Proverbs 21:4

An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
– Proverbs 21:4

The text of this proverb is difficult. The Hebrew words for tillage and lamp are only differentiated by vowel points. We can see the similarity even in the transliteration of each: nir (tillage) and ner (lamp). The Septuagint has lampter (lamp, or lantern), and many translations have followed the Septuagint here and give plowing as an alternative reading. Knox, translating from the Latin Vulgate, rendered it as “hopes.” This takes “lamp” as a figure, not of the conscience, but of outlook, which is reasonable. Interestingly, plowing can also be a figure for hope, or outlook, and Paul used it this way in 1 Corinthians 9:10. If outlook fits and makes sense of the verse, then it isn’t nearly as difficult as it first appears. Though if I were smarter and more educated, I’m sure I could find more difficulty.

The high look and proud heart refer to arrogance that persists in its own way rather than receiving instruction in the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 6:17; 8:13; 30:13). The proverb is denouncing the thoughts of the wicked. They are high thoughts of self-conceit that dismiss and despise the wisdom of God (Psalm 10:4). This is why all the plans, or hopes, and actions of the wicked are tainted and sinful (Proverbs 21:27).

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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 17:7

Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.
– Proverbs 17:7

The word for excellent literally means overhanging. It implies excess and here describes speech that is high and lofty. We would call it big talk, or even boasting. It could be pretentious putting on of airs, or arrogant prattle. The first phrase means such talk is not fitting, or appropriate, to a fool (Proverbs 26:7). The word for fool here is not only senseless but also wicked. The same word is used in Psalm 14:1 to describe one who has rejected the first principle of wisdom, the fear of the Lord. Similarly, as the second phrase points out, lying lips are not becoming to a prince. A prince is a ruler and as such a minister of God for righteousness, or justice (Romans 13:1-4). Falsehood in one supposed to uphold truth is a travesty (Proverbs 16:10-13; 12:19).

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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 16:18

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
– Proverbs 16:18

The word for pride means arrogance, as in insolent arrogance. It is human self-confidence that is put with others human attitudes and activities God hates (Proverbs 8:13; 16:5). The word for destruction means a crushing ruin and fall is close to a stumbling ruin. The word for haughty mean exalted, or elevated. It’s descriptive of having a higher view of oneself than justified. Such highness is ripe to be brought low (Proverbs 18:12). It is the opposite of the humility that attains wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 11:2).

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Proverbs 16:5

Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
– Proverbs 16:5

The first statement emphasizes God’s hatred of the proud. The word for abomination is strong, meaning disgusting and abhorrent. The offense of human pride is consistently spoken of in Proverbs and elsewhere in Scripture (Proverbs 6:16-17; 8:13; 29:23; Isaiah 2:11-12, 17; Daniel 4:37; Luke 14:11; et al). The second statement features the figure of speech, though hand join in hand. The meaning is uncertain but most likely indicates the surety of something, as in Proverbs 11:21. The point of the proverb is that God will bring all pride into judgment.

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