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Proverbs 16:18-19

Context

16:18 Pride 1  goes 2  before destruction,

and a haughty spirit before a fall. 3 

16:19 It is better to be lowly in spirit 4  with the afflicted

than to share the spoils 5  with the proud.

1 sn The two lines of this proverb are synonymous parallelism, and so there are parasynonyms. “Pride” is paired with “haughty spirit” (“spirit” being a genitive of specification); and “destruction” is matched with “a tottering, falling.”

2 tn Heb “[is] before destruction.”

3 sn Many proverbs have been written in a similar way to warn against the inevitable disintegration and downfall of pride. W. McKane records an Arabic proverb: “The nose is in the heavens, the seat is in the mire” (Proverbs [OTL], 490).

4 tn Heb “low of spirit”; KJV “of an humble spirit.” This expression describes the person who is humble and submissive before the Lord and therefore inoffensive. It is always necessary to have a humble spirit, whether there is wealth or not.

5 tn Heb “than to divide plunder.” The word “plunder” implies that the wealth taken by the proud was taken violently and wrongfully – spoils are usually taken in warfare. R. N. Whybray translates it with “loot” (Proverbs [CBC], 95). The proud are in rebellion against God, overbearing and oppressive. One should never share the “loot” with them.



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