Proverbs 11:1-2

Proverbs 11:1-2

11:1 — A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight.

Solomon also has something to say about business or commerce. It is well known that men can cheat each other in various transactions. In ANE culture, some carried two sets of weights. One by which they bought (heavy) and another by which they sold (light). Like today, dishonest merchants attempted to make money any way possible. Solomon teaches us that God well observes of our business transactions. In that light, we are encouraged to be honest. We must not cheat people by false advertisement, misleading advertisement, deceptive transactions, half-truth transactions, etc. God notices all these activities and despises these deceptions.

In cheating, we assume no one sees. By using these false balances, we believe profit is more important than piety. God delights in integrity and that should guide us in all our transactions. The end does not justify the means and simple profit is not the same as honest gain. Better to have made little in obedience to the Lord than to make a fortune in disobedience; God’s delight is better than gold.


11:2 — When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

A number of places address this theme (3:5, 7; 6:17; 11:2; 15:25, 33; 16:5, 18, 19; 18:12; 21:4, 24; 22:4; 25:6-7, 27; 26:12; 29:23; 30:1-4, 13). Fools are the proud ones; humility is found among the wise. “The wicked invite pride to come as their guest, but, like an inseparable twin, disgrace comes along with her as an uninvited guest.” (Waltke) This proverb does not explicitly spell it out but it assumes that God regulates the moral universe and He humbles the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1Pet. 5:5). “The whole principle is paradoxical. When people hold themselves in high estimation, they will be denigrated; but the more they are aware of their weaknesses, the more they will achieve a success that will bring them glory.” (Longman)


Pride and Humility

In Proverbs, humility and wisdom go together (11:2). Riches, honor, and life will come to the humble as they fear the Lord (22:4, The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.) Repeatedly, Proverbs teaches us humility precedes honor (15:33;[1] 18:12; 29:23) “Pride is joined with folly, and ends in shame. The humble man is wise, and shall be exalted to honour.” (Lawson)

The humble do not seek to exalt themselves;[2] they are well aware of their abilities, gifts, etc. as well as their own inadequacies. Genuine humility is always rooted in the fear of the Lord: “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.” (3:7) It is indeed paradoxical. They receive what they do not seek (honor). Humility is a right assessment of oneself in the sight of God. The humble trust in the Lord and do not lean on their own understanding (3:5). It is even better to be poor and humble than to “divide the spoil with the proud.” (16:19)

Consistently, the Bible teaches that God hates those who have “haughty eyes” (6:17). God will tear down the house of the proud (15:25). The Bible is adamant about this (16:5): “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.”

Whereas wisdom and honor are promised to those who are humble, destruction and dishonor are guaranteed for the proud: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (16:18; cf. 18:12) The proud man has a name, it is “Scoffer” (“‘Scoffer’ is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.” 21:24) and he fills his life with “sin” (21:4, “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.”) The arrogant are wise in their own eyes and the Bible says, “There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (26:12) The proud seek to exalt themselves but they will be brought low (29:23 One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.)

Genuine humility comes from those who know God. They not only understand themselves but they entrust their souls to their heavenly Father. He will lift them up at His time; they seek to walk humbly before God and men. The arrogant seek to take matters into their own hands. They demand to be noticed; they make every effort to be exalted; they believe themselves to be wise and well-deserving of all exaltation. God opposes them and will bring them low.

How does one become “humble”? The humble will know himself in the presence of God and will know who God is. He is well aware of the verse: “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” (2Cor. 10:18)  The humble “in humility count others more significant than” themselves (Phil. 2:3).  If the saint is not “comfortable” (content) with who God is and what God has done with him, he will seek to exalt himself. He must look to the Lord and entrust himself to His gracious heavenly Father who will do all things well. If there is no God, then he has to take matters into his own hands.

[1] 15:33 The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.

[2] 25:27 It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.

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