Proverbs 16:18
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
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(18) Pride goeth before destruction.—In contrast to the blessing promised to humility in Proverbs 15:33.

16:12. The ruler that uses his power aright, will find that to be his best security. 13. Put those in power who know how to speak to the purpose. 14,15. Those are fools, who, to obtain the favour of an earthly prince, throw themselves out of God's favour. 16. There is joy and satisfaction of spirit, only in getting wisdom. 17. A sincerely religious man keeps at a distance from every appearance of evil. Happy is the man that walks in Christ, and is led by the Spirit of Christ. 18. When men defy God's judgments, and think themselves far from them, it is a sign they are at the door. Let us not fear the pride of others, but fear pride in ourselves. 19. Humility, though it exposes to contempt in the world, is much better than high-spiritedness, which makes God an enemy. He that understands God's word shall find good. 21. The man whose wisdom dwells in his heart, will be found more truly prudent than many who possess shining talents. 22. As waters to a thirsty land, so is a wise man to his friends and neighbours. 23. The wise man's self-knowledge, always suggests something proper to be spoken to others. 24. The word of God cures the diseases that weaken our souls. 25. This is caution to all, to take heed of deceiving themselves as to their souls. 26. We must labour for the meat which endureth to everlasting life, or we must perish.The "latter rain" is that which falls in March or April just before the harvest. The "cloud" which brings it, immediately screening people from the scorching sun, and bringing plenty and blessing, is a fit type of the highest favor. 18, 19. (Compare Pr 15:33). Haughtiness and pride imply self-confidence which produces carelessness, and hence

a fall—literally, "sliding."

Pride goeth before destruction; it is commonly a forerunner and cause of men’s ruin, because it highly provokes both God and men.

Pride goeth before destruction,.... As it did in the angels that sinned, who, through pride, fell into condemnation, not being able to bear the thought that the human nature, in the person of the Son of God, should be advanced above theirs; and as it did in our first parents, who, not content with their present state and circumstances, and ambitious of being as gods, knowing good and evil, ruined themselves and all their posterity; and as it has done in many of their sons, as in Haman, Nebuchadnezzar, and others;

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.

(i) "elitio spiritus", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Michaelis; "altitudo spiritus", Piscator; "celstudo aniimi", Cocceius; "altifrons elatio spiritus", Schultens.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
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). Proverbs 16:1818 Pride goeth before destruction,

     And haughtiness cometh before a fall.

The contrast is לפני כבוד ענוה, Proverbs 15:33, according to which the "haughtiness comes before a fall" in Proverbs 18:22 is expanded into the antithetic distich. שׁבר means the fracture of the limbs, destruction of the person. A Latin proverb says, "Magna cadunt, inflata crepant, tumefacta premuntur."

(Note: An expression of similar meaning is אחרי דרגא תביר equals after Darga (to rise up) comes tebı̂r (breaking equals destruction); cf. Zunz, in Geiger's Zeitschrift, vi. 315ff.)

Here being dashed in pieces and overthrown correspond. שׁבר means neither bursting (Hitzig) nor shipwreck (Ewald). כשּׁלון (like בּטּחון, זכּרון, etc.), from כּשׁל or נכשׁל, to totter, and hence, as a consequence, to come to ruin, is a ἅπαχ λεγ. This proverb, which stands in the very centre of the Book of Proverbs, is followed by another in praise of humility.

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