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).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

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).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

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).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

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).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Next Page »