Verse 5. Lift not up your horn on high. For their abounding pride there is a double rebuke. A word from God soon abases the lofty. Would to God that all proud men would obey the word here given them; for, if they do not, he will take effectual means to secure obedience, and then woe will come upon them, such as shall break their horns and roll their glory in the mire for ever.
Speak not with a stiff neck. Impudence before God is madness. The outstretched neck of insolent pride is sure to provoke his axe. Those who carry their heads high shall find that they will be lifted yet higher, as Haman was upon the gallows which he had prepared for the righteous man. Silence, thou silly boaster! Silence! or God will answer thee. Who art thou, thou worm, that thou shouldest arrogantly object against thy Maker's laws and cavil at his truth? Be hushed, thou vainglorious prater, or vengeance shall silence thee to thine eternal confusion.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. Horn. The word horn was used in the Hebrew metaphorically to express either honour, as Psalms 112:9 132:18, etc.; or strength, Micah 4:13 , "I will make thine horn iron." Deuteronomy 33:17 , etc. To humble and cast down was often represented by the figure of breaking or cutting off the horn, as here ( Psalms 75:10 ). Lamentations 2:3 , "Cut off all the horn of Israel." To exalt the horn of any one was to bestow honour and dignity upon him; so also, to make it bud. Psalms 132:17 89:18 Ezekiel 29:21 . Here, to lift up the horn betokens presumption. It was also somewhat later a symbol for kingdom, Zechariah 1:18 , and Daniel. "Four Friends."
Verse 5. Speak not with a stiff neck. Mr. Bruce has observed that the Abyssinian kings have a horn on their diadem; and that the keeping it erect, or in a projecting form, makes them appear as if they had a stiff neck; and refers to this passage for the antiquity of the usage, and the appearance also. Adam Clarke.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. Arguments against pride in heart, appearance, and speech.