Proverbs 30:13

There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up.
– Proverbs 30:13

This saying continues the general denunciation of pride in this group of sayings. The eyes and eyelids of a proud generation are high, meaning they despise, or look down on others around them. Such pride is the first item listed of what God hates (Proverbs 6:16-17). Of course, it is a sin, an affront against God (Proverbs 21:4).

Proverbs 30:12

There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
– Proverbs 30:12

Verses 12-14 of this group, beginning with verse 11, all use metaphoric references—eyes, eyelids, teeth, and jaw. The generation, or group, in this saying are guilty of self-justifying pride (Proverbs 20:9; 21:2). The word for pure means clean and can refer to cleanness in a physical, moral, or ceremonial sense. The word for filthiness is a strong word that can refer to excrement (2 Kings 18:27). The saying depends on a contrasting parallel of people proclaiming their own cleanness while they are covered with dung. The imagery is shocking and even disgusting, but it reflects the true view God has of our own cleanness (Proverbs 16:2; Isaiah 64:6).

Proverbs 30:9

Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
– Proverbs 30:9

Verse 9 finishes Agur’s prayer. The prayer echoes the model prayer request for leading not into temptation (Matthew 6:13). Agur’s concern is for the dangers associated with being full or being poor. Fullness could lead to self-reliance and forgetting, or denying God. Israel was warned against this very reality (Deuteronomy 8:12-17). Such denial could manifest in forgetting God, Who is the Lord? Though not necessarily denying God’s existences outright, such a mindset relegates God to irrelevance in one’s life (Job 21:14-15; Psalm 10:4-11; 14:1).

The second danger comes with emptiness, lack, and want. It seems the biblical evidence would point to prosperity as the greater danger (Matthew 19:23), but severe poverty also presents temptation. A loss of faith, and patience coupled with a hungry belly could prompt him to steal. Such an act would give opportunity for mockers to blaspheme the God he professed (2 Samuel 12:14).

Proverbs 29:23

A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.
– Proverbs 29:23

Following a saying on anger is this saying on pride. The saying is similar to Proverbs 11:2 and 16:18. Pride leads to destruction and honor requires humility beforehand (Proverbs 18:12). The word for humble means low, or lowly. God rewards the lowly (Proverbs 3:34; 16:18-19) and hates pride (Proverbs 6:17).

Proverbs 28:25

He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.
– Proverbs 28:25

Verses 25-27 are sayings touching on issues of self-sufficiency, such as pride and greed. A proud heart is here contrasted with trust in the Lord. The word for proud is more often translated large and broad. Being made fat is typically a figure of prosperity, or abundance. Contrasting the two gives the first phrase the sense of a large heart, or large appetite, and so means greedy. The saying amounts to greed bringing contention and trust in the Lord bringing prosperity. This saying would add greed to list of what stirs up strife: lying (Proverbs 6:14, 19), hatred (Proverbs 10:12), quick anger (Proverbs 15:18; 29:22), and froward gossip (Proverbs 16:27-28).

Proverbs 27:7

The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

– Proverbs 27:7

This saying is not about food exactly but about the proportional relationship between need and appreciation. The word for loatheth means to walk on and expresses great contempt. Over-indulgence produces fatigue and pride ruins enjoyment. What could be good enough to the proud heart? The hungry soul is a needy soul, not as pretentious or picky as the sated one. The bitter is sweet, appreciated, and enjoyed by the truly hungered. Spiritual application could be made as the words of Jesus to Simon the Pharisee indicate, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47).

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:16

The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

– Proverbs 26:16

This group of sluggard sayings finishes with a saying that gets at the root of the lazy man’s problems. He is wise in “his own conceit,” or in his own eyes. The word for reason means taste, or judgment. It has been translated as discretion and understanding. The word refers to what we might call good sense. The number seven is in excess of the two or three witnesses in the law and the excess points to the fact that their reason is established, true, and reliable. The sluggard will not receive it, but thinks he is smarter than all who disagree with him. In the face of hard truth, he persists in his own judgment. The lazy man or woman has a stubborn pride that clings to their own excuses and rationalizations as to why they do not work.

 


 

 

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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