Proverbs 21:4

4 1Haughty eyes and a proud heart, 2the lamp[a] of the wicked, are sin.

Proverbs 21:4 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 21:4

An high look, and a proud heart
The former is a sign of the latter, and commonly go together, and are both abominable to the Lord; see ( Psalms 101:5 ) ( Proverbs 6:16 Proverbs 6:17 ) . A man that looks above others, and with disdain upon them, shows that pride reigns in him, and swells his mind with a vain opinion of himself; this may be observed in every self-righteous man; the parable of the Pharisee and publican is a comment upon it; sometimes there may be a proud heart under a disguise of humility; but the pride of the heart is often discovered by the look of the eyes. It may be rendered, "the elevation of the eyes, and the enlargement of the heart" F16; but not to be understood in a good sense, of the lifting up of the eyes in prayer to God, with faith and fear; nor of the enlargement of the heart with solid knowledge and wisdom, such as Solomon had; but in a bad sense, of the lofty looks and haughtiness of man towards his fellow creatures, and of his unbounded desires after filthy lucre or sinful lusts: the Targum renders it,

``the swelling of the heart,''
with pride and vanity; [and] the ploughing of the wicked [is] sin;
taken literally; not that it is so in itself; for it is a most useful invention, and exceeding beneficial to mankind, and is to be ascribed to God himself; and of this the Heathens are so sensible, that they have a deity to whom they attribute it, and whom they call Ceres F17, from (vrx) , to plough; it only denotes that all the civil actions of a wicked man, one being put for all, are attended with sin; he sins in all he does. Or, metaphorically, for his schemes, contrivances, and projects, which are the ploughing of his mind; these are all sinful, or tend to that which is so. Some understand this particularly of his high look and proud heart, which are his ploughing and his sin; Ben Melech; and others of his ploughing, or persecuting and oppressing, the poor. The word is sometimes used for a lamp or light, and is so rendered here by some, "the light of the wicked [is] sin" F18; their outward happiness and prosperity leads them into sin, involves them in guilt, and so brings them to ruin and destruction: and this way go the Targum: Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions.

F16 (bl bxrw Mynye Mwr) "elatio oculorum et latitudo cordis", Piscator, Michaelis, Cocceius, Schultens.
F17 "Prima Ceres ferro mortales vertere terram instituit", Virgil. Georgic. l. 1.
F18 (Myevr rn) "Incerna impiorum", V. L. Mercerus, Gejerus, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens.

Proverbs 21:4 In-Context

2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.
3 To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.

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Cross References 2

  • 1. See Proverbs 6:17; Psalms 101:5
  • 2. 1 Kings 11:36

Footnotes 1