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Summary: Pride and humility are the outcomes of attitudes and opinion we harbor and the choices we make. The harmful results of pride are repeatedly contrasted with humility & with its benefits. So the sayings in Proverbs hammer hard against pride & drives home th


Proverbs 11:2

Proverbs is direct and forceful in rejecting pride and honoring humility. Pride is pagan behavior. It has no place in the lives of God's people. Pride is a declaration of independence from God if not an assertion of war against Him. Pride therefore draws God's scorn, sparks His ire, and guarantees His judgment.

Moreover, the haughty are damaging to their communities. It is impossible to love our neighbor as ourselves when we have an exaggerated sense of our own importance. The proud exhaust their energy and love for their own needs with only table scraps for others.

Pride and humility are the outcomes of attitudes and opinion we harbor and the choices we make (CIM). The harmful results of pride are repeatedly contrasted with humility and with its benefits. So the sayings in Proverbs hammer hard against pride and drives home the importance of humility.

An outline of their teachings could be:

I. A Considered Choice

II. Pride's Punishment

III. Pride's Precipice

IV. Humility's Honor

Proverbs 11:2 teaches that the choice between pride and humility is also a choice between wisdom and dishonor. "When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom" (NASB). "When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom."

This assertion help us see our choice between pride and humility more clearly. Humility leads to wisdom but pride leads to disgrace. As the adage goes; "What goes up must come down; what bows down will be lifted up."

It is "shame" or "wisdom." "Pride" [Hebrew zdôn; 13:10; 21:24; Deut. 18:22; Jer. 49:16; Obad. 3—the last 2 describe Edom's arrogance highlighting how pagan human pride is] does not walk alone. Its inevitable companion, lurking in its shadow, waiting to announce itself, is "shame" (3:39; 6:33; 13:18). Shame is the lightweight, worthless opposite of honor or glory. "Humble" people [Hebrew enûm; used only here in the O T] recall the demand of Yahweh to "walk humbly with your God" in Micah 6:8 and find a different kind of fellow-traveler, wisdom. Their humility teaches them the limits of human strength and knowledge so they are willing to learn all they can from trustworthy teachers and companions. They cast themselves on the mercy and support of God whom they fear. For, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Proverbs 1:7).

The choice is really two choices. Choose between pride or humility, and you have chosen the companion who will either drag you into shame or lead you into wisdom.

It may be hard to admit that we are prideful but its not difficult to recognize if one is truly heeding wisdom or not. Proverbs 13:10 teaches that humility takes advise but pride produces quarrels. "Through insolence comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel" (NASB).

Pride or insolence (zôn, from zî, "to boil"; 11:2) means an unyielding arrogance. Here strife is traced to it source. An inflated, know-it-all or "know much more than you" view of oneself leads to quarreling. In contrast to one who takes no counsel a wise humble person is willing to learn and take advice (12:15).

Proverbs 15:33 reveals to us that godly wisdom and humility comes before honor. "The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility" (NASB).

"The fear of the Lord" not only is the beginning of knowledge, but it also teaches wisdom. By fearing (reverencing, trusting, obeying, serving, and worshiping) the Lord a person learns wisdom. Humility, which results from the fear the Lord, must precede honor (18:12b; 29:23) which is wisdom's companion. [The fear of the Lord and humility are also connected in 22:4.]

Before honor, there must always be humility. Before Joseph was prime minister in Egypt, he had to spend time in prison. Before Moses was a leader in the desert, he first had to spend time on the backside of the desert. Before Abigail became the wife of David, she humbled herself and offered to wash the feet of the servants of David.

Why must this be? Because otherwise, we would think honor was due to our great ability, charming personality, intellectual insight, or tremendous spirituality. The Lord allows us to go through humbling circumstances in order that we will join Paul in saying, "I am what I am solely and completely by the grace of God" (1 Corinthians 15:10). [Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary, Vol 2. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2006, S. 225]


Various Proverbs relay the fact that pride is punished. The certainty of pride's punishment rings loud and clear in Proverbs 16:5. "Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished."

The fate of the "proud" [again the root idea is "high" (16:18)] is to be hated or "abominable" [as despicable a term as is possible in Hebrew; 3:32; 6:16] to "the Lord." So insulted is Yahweh that He personally sees to it that no proud person will "go unpunished" (6:29; 11:21; 17:5; 19:5, 9; 28:20). The punishment is guaranteed by an oath. "Though they join forces" describes a "handshake" or some other gesture where two parties join hands to seal an agreement or strike a bargain (11:21). "Be sure of this" (NIV) conveys the intensity of the divine commitment and the certainty of retribution.

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