And the LORD shall make you the head, and not the tail; and you shall be above only, and you shall not be beneath…
In studying the histories of the good men of the Bible, we notice how, notwithstanding the numerous causes which act adversely to their fortunes, the constant tendency of their piety is to lift them upwards. A law is none the less a law because other laws come in to interfere with, modify, suspend, or counteract its operation. A cork or other light body may be pushed under water, but the law of its nature is to rise to the top. Violence may abnormally depress the righteous man's fortunes, but the "law" of piety is to elevate them. Mingle lighter and heavier bodies in water, and the heavier gradually sink, while the lighter mount surfacewards. So piety, both from its own nature and by the blessing of God upon it, tends to raise a man in favor and influence, and gradually to improve his fortunes; while ungodliness as invariably drags him down. The good man gains ground; his enemies lose it. He mounts to be the head, and they sink to be the tail. He is uppermost; they are undermost. Illustrate from the histories of Joseph, David, Daniel. It is the same today. As years advance, the good man grows in influence; slowly but surely overcomes his first difficulties; is trusted, sought after, looked up to; rises in social position; ultimately occupies the seats of honor; while those who started life with him, but took a different course, gradually lose their advantages, fall one by one out of rank, and are driven to the wall (cf. Proverbs 4:8; Proverbs 13:22, etc.). - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
WEB: Yahweh will make you the head, and not the tail; and you shall be above only, and you shall not be beneath; if you shall listen to the commandments of Yahweh your God, which I command you this day, to observe and to do [them],