Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
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And a haughty spirit before a fall - Another personification. A haughty spirit marches on, and ruin comes after.
In this verse we find the following Masoretic note in most Hebrew Bibles. חצי הספר chatsi hassepher: "the middle of the book." This verse is the middle verse; and the first clause makes the middle of the words of the book of Proverbs.
and a haughty spirit before a fall; or, "a high spirit", or "height of spirit" (i); a man that carries his head high; looks upwards, and not to his goings, sees not at what he may stumble, and so falls: moreover, the bigger a person or thing is, the greater is the fall; and very often when a man has got to the height of his riches and honour, and is swelling with pride and vanity on account of it, he is on the precipice of ruin, and his fall is immediate; which was the case of Nebuchadnezzar, who while he was expressing himself in the haughtiness of his spirit, being in the height of his glory, his kingdom departed from him, Daniel 4:30; and this will be the case of the man of sin, or antichrist, Revelation 18:7.Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
For by righteousness the throne is established.
As 10b uttered a warning to the king, grounded on the fact of 10a, so 12a indirectly contains a warning, which is confirmed by the fact 12b. It is a fact that the throne is established by righteousness (יכּון as expressive of a rule, like הוּכן, Isaiah 16:5, as expressive of an event); on this account it is an abomination to kings immediately or mediately to commit wickedness, i.e., to place themselves in despotic self-will above the law. Such wicked conduct shall be, and ought to be, an abhorrence to them, because they know that they thereby endanger the stability of their throne. This is generally the case, but especially was it so in Israel, where the royal power was never absolutistic; where the king as well as the people were placed under God's law; where the existence of the community was based on the understood equality of right; and the word of the people, as well as the word of the prophets, was free. Another condition of the stability of the throne is, after Proverbs 25:5, the removal of godless men from nearness to the king. Rehoboam lost the greater part of his kingdom by this, that he listened to the counsel of the young men who were hated by the people.Verse 18. - Pride goeth before destruction. A maxim continually enforced (see Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 17:19; Proverbs 18:12). Here is the contrast to the blessing on humility promised (Proverbs 15:33). A haughty spirit - a lifting up of spirit - goeth before a fall (comp. Daniel 4:29, etc). Thus, according to Herodotus (7:10), Artabanus warned the arrogant Xerxes, "Seest thou how God strikes with the thunder animals which overtop others, and suffers them not to vaunt themselves, but the small irritate him not? And seest thou how he hurls his bolts always against the mightiest buildings and the loftiest trees? For God is wont to cut short whatever is too highly exalted" (comp. Horace, 'Carm.,' 2:10.9, etc.). Says the Latin adage, "Qui petit alta nimis, retro lapsus ponitur imis." Caesar, 'Bell. Gall.,' 1:14, "Consuesse Deos immortales, quo gravius homines ex commutatione rerum doleant, quos pro sceiere eorum ulcisci velint, his secundiores interdum re, et diuturuiorem impunitatem concedere." The Chinese say, "Who flies not high falls not low;" and, "A great tree attracts the wind." The Basque proverb remarks, "Pride sought flight in heaven, fell to hell." And an Eastern one, "What is extended will tear; what is long will break" (Lane).
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