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Pride Brings Dishonor, Humility Honor

Proverbs 29:23 (ESV) … “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”

“Pride” derives from a root meaning “to be high” and so constitutes a precise antithetical parallel of “lowly.” G. V. Smith and V. P. Hamilton comment: “pride is a fundamental attitude of self-sufficiency because of which a person throws off humility and pursues selfish desires. In pride a person rejects the need for dependence on God or his laws and despises moral or social limitations that regulate behavior according to the highest good for others.”

His opposite, the humble, has an attitude of dependence upon God and of submission to his moral ordering of society. In that upright order one behaves to achieve the highest good of others and bestows on others their rights to life, home, property and reputation, as mandated in the Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:13–16).

The parallels also juxtapose their respective predicates, will bring him low versus will lay hold of honor. The imprecise antithesis suggests that the lowly will be exalted and that the proud mortal will lose his social esteem and influence, his property, and all he gained for the moment by raising his fist against heaven and by transgressing the boundaries of the others on earth.[1]

Pride brings dishonor; humility brings honor. We should not seek honor for ourselves but honor for God. If we do this, then God will honor us.

[1] Waltke, B. K. (2005). The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 15–31 (p. 450). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

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