1A wise magistrate gives stability to his people,
and government by the intelligent is well ordered.a
2As the people’s judge, so the officials;b
as the head of a city, so the inhabitants.
3A reckless king destroys his people,
but a city grows through the intelligence of its princes.c
4Sovereignty over the earth is in the hand of God,
who appoints the right person for the right time.
5Sovereignty over everyone is in the hand of God,
who imparts his majesty to the ruler.
The Sin of Pride
6No matter what the wrong, never harm your neighbor
or go the way of arrogance.d
7Odious to the Lord and to mortals is pride,
and for both oppression is a crime.
8Sovereignty is transferred from one people to another
because of the lawlessness of the proud.
9Why are dust and ashes proud?*
Even during life the body decays.
10A slight illness—the doctor jests;
a king today—tomorrow he is dead.
11When a people die,
they inherit corruption and worms, gnats and maggots.e
12The beginning of pride is stubbornness
in withdrawing the heart from one’s Maker.
13For sin is a reservoir of insolence,
a source which runs over with vice;
Because of it God sends unheard-of afflictions
and strikes people with utter ruin.f
14God overturns the thrones of the proud
and enthrones the lowly in their place.
15God plucks up the roots of the proud,
and plants the lowly in their place.
16The Lord lays waste the lands of the nations,
and destroys them to the very foundations of the earth.
17He removes them from the earth, destroying them,
erasing their memory from the world.
18Insolence does not befit mortals,
nor impudent anger those born of women.
19Whose offspring can be honorable? Human offspring.
Those who fear the LORD are honorable offspring.
Whose offspring can be disgraceful? Human offspring.
Those who transgress the commandment are disgraceful offspring.
20Among relatives their leader is honored;
but whoever fears God is honored among God’s people.†
22Resident alien, stranger, foreigner, pauper—
their glory is the fear of the LORD.
23It is not right to despise anyone wise but poor,
nor proper to honor the lawless.g
24The prince, the ruler, the judge are in honor;
but none is greater than the one who fears God.
25When the free serve a wise slave,
the wise will not complain.h
26Do not flaunt your wisdom in managing your affairs,
or boast in your time of need.
27Better the worker who has goods in plenty
than the boaster who has no food.i
28My son, with humility have self-esteem;
and give yourself the esteem you deserve.
29Who will acquit those who condemn themselves?
Who will honor those who disgrace themselves?
30The poor are honored for their wisdom;
the rich are honored for their wealth.
31Honored in poverty, how much more so in wealth!
Disgraced in wealth, in poverty how much the more!
* [10:9–10] The general implication is that a slight illness today may be followed by death tomorrow. The uncertainty of life leaves no room for pride.
* [10:19–11:6] Genuine honor comes not from one’s place in society but from fear of the Lord and a true estimate of oneself. The Lord exalts the lowly and oppressed; transgressors of the commandment merit dishonor and disgrace.
† [10:20] Other ancient texts read as v. 21:
The beginning of acceptance is the fear of the Lord;
the beginning of rejection, effrontery and pride.
b. [10:2–3] Ez 16:44; Prv 29:12.
e. [10:11] Sir 7:17; Jb 17:14; Is 66:24.
f. [10:13] Prv 11:2; 16:18; 18:12.