Proverbs 12:9
New International Version
Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food.

New Living Translation
Better to be an ordinary person with a servant than to be self-important but have no food.

English Standard Version
Better to be lowly and have a servant than to play the great man and lack bread.

Berean Study Bible
Better to be lightly esteemed yet have a servant, than to be self-important but lack food.

King James Bible
He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.

New King James Version
Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant, Than he who honors himself but lacks bread.

New American Standard Bible
Better is one who is lightly esteemed and has a servant, Than one who honors himself and lacks bread.

NASB 1995
Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant Than he who honors himself and lacks bread.

NASB 1977
Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant, Than he who honors himself and lacks bread.

Amplified Bible
Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant, Than he who [boastfully] honors himself [pretending to be what he is not] and lacks bread.

Christian Standard Bible
Better to be disregarded, yet have a servant, than to act important but have no food.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Better to be dishonored, yet have a servant, than to act important but have no food.

American Standard Version
Better is he that is lightly esteemed, and hath a servant, Than he that honoreth himself, and lacketh bread.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Better is a poor man who waits on himself than one who boasts and lacks bread.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
Better is a man in dishonour serving himself, than one honouring himself and wanting bread.

Contemporary English Version
It's better to be ordinary and have only one servant than to think you are somebody and starve to death.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Better is the poor man that provideth for himself, than he that is glorious and wanteth bread.

English Revised Version
Better is he that is lightly esteemed, and hath a servant, than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.

Good News Translation
It is better to be an ordinary person working for a living than to play the part of someone great but go hungry.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Better to be unimportant and have a slave than to act important and have nothing to eat.

International Standard Version
It's better to be unimportant, yet have a servant, than to pretend to be important, but lack food.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Better is he that is lightly esteemed, and hath a servant, Than he that playeth the man of rank, and lacketh bread.

Literal Standard Version
Better [is] the lightly esteemed who has a servant, "" Than the self-honored who lacks bread.

NET Bible
Better is a person of humble standing who nevertheless has a servant, than one who pretends to be somebody important yet has no food.

New Heart English Bible
Better is he who is lightly esteemed, and has a servant, than he who honors himself, and lacks bread.

World English Bible
Better is he who is lightly esteemed, and has a servant, than he who honors himself, and lacks bread.

Young's Literal Translation
Better is the lightly esteemed who hath a servant, Than the self-honoured who lacketh bread.

Additional Translations ...
Context
Loving Discipline and Knowledge
8A man is praised according to his wisdom, but a twisted mind is despised. 9Better to be lightly esteemed yet have a servant, than to be self-important but lack food. 10A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are only cruelty.…

Cross References
Matthew 15:8
These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.

Proverbs 12:8
A man is praised according to his wisdom, but a twisted mind is despised.

Proverbs 12:10
A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are only cruelty.


Treasury of Scripture

He that is despised, and has a servant, is better than he that honors himself, and lacks bread.

despised

Proverbs 13:7
There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

Luke 14:11
For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.









(9) He that is despised.--That is, lowly in his eyes and those of others, as David (1Samuel 18:23); if "he hath a servant," that is, if he be in easy circumstances. It has been remarked that "the first necessity of an Oriental in only moderate circumstances is a slave."

He that honoureth himself.--Boasts of his pedigree, it may be, and is all the while starving.

Verse 9. - This verse may be translated, Better is a man who is lightly esteemed and hath a slave, than he that boasts himself and lacketh bread; i.e. the man who is thought little of by his fellows, and is lowly in his own eyes, if he have a slave to minister to his wants (which all Orientals of even moderate wealth possess), is better off than one who boasts of his rank and family, and is all the while on the verge of starvation. "Respectful mediocrity is better than boastful poverty." Ecclus. 10:27, "Better is he that laboreth and aboundeth in all things, than he that boasteth himself, and wanteth bread." But the words rendered, hath a slave, are literally, a servant to himself. So the Vulgate has, sufficiens sibi, "sufficing himself," and the Septuagint, δουλεύων ἑαυτῷ, "serving himself." And the expression implies attending to his own concerns, supplying his own wants. Hence the gnome means, "It is wiser to look after one's own business and provide for one's own necessities, even if thereby he meets with contempt and detraction, than to be in real want, and all the time assuming the airs of a rich and prosperous man." This latter explanation seems most suitable, as it is not at all clear that, at the time the book was written, the Israelites of moderate fortune kept slaves, and the proverb would lose its force if they did not do so. Says a mediaeval jingle -

"Nobilitas morum plus ornat quam genitorum."

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
Better
ט֣וֹב (ṭō·wḇ)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's 2896: Pleasant, agreeable, good

to be lightly esteemed,
נִ֭קְלֶה (niq·leh)
Verb - Nifal - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's 7034: To be lightly esteemed or dishonored

yet have a servant,
וְעֶ֣בֶד (wə·‘e·ḇeḏ)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 5650: Slave, servant

than to be self-important
מִ֝מְּתַכַּבֵּ֗ד (mim·mə·ṯak·kab·bêḏ)
Preposition-m | Verb - Hitpael - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's 3513: To be heavy, weighty, or burdensome

but lack
וַחֲסַר־ (wa·ḥă·sar-)
Conjunctive waw | Adjective - masculine singular construct
Strong's 2638: Needy, lacking, in want of

food.
לָֽחֶם׃ (lā·ḥem)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 3899: Food, bread, grain


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OT Poetry: Proverbs 12:9 Better is he who is lightly esteemed (Prov. Pro Pr)
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