But when thou art bidden
To an entertainment, and the time is come,
go and sit down in the lowest room:
place thyself at the lower end of the table, or in the most inferior seat; which will show humility and lowliness of mind, and prevent shame and mortification; since there can be no putting into a lower place, and there may be an advance to an higher:
that when he that bade thee cometh;
into the dining room, and observe in what place thou art:
he may say unto thee, friend, go up higher;
to a more honourable seat at table, pointing to it, and saying, there is such a seat empty, go up and take it, it best becomes thee:
then shalt thou have worship;
or glory, as the word signifies; honour and esteem, instead of shame and blushing; not only from the master of the feast,
but in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee;
and from them, who will take notice of the honour done thee, and will entertain an high opinion of thee, and commend thee for thine humility and modesty. Advice, like to this, is given by Solomon in ( Proverbs 25:6 Proverbs 25:7 ) and which is explained by the Jews in like manner as here F11:
``Ben Azzai used to say, descend, from thy place two or three degrees, and sit; it is better that it should be said to thee, (hle) , "go up", than that it should be said to thee, descend, as it is said in ( Proverbs 25:7 ) .''Which is elsewhere F12 thus expressed:
``R. Akiba taught it (or expounded, ( Proverbs 25:7 ) ) in the name of R. Simeon ben Azzai, remove from thy place two or three seats, and sit until it is said to thee, (hle) , "go up"; but do not go up (i.e. first,) for it will be said to thee descend; it is better that it should be said to thee go up, go up, than that it should be said to thee go down, go down: and Ben Hillell used to say, my humiliation is my exaltation, and my exaltation is my humiliation.''
F11 Abot R. Nathan, c. 25. fol. 6. 4.
F12 Vajikra Rabba, sect. 1. fol. 146. 4. Vid. Shemot Rabba, sect. 45. fol. 142. 1.