Proverbs 12:9

9 Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food.

Proverbs 12:9 in Other Translations

9 He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.
9 Better to be lowly and have a servant than to play the great man and lack bread.
9 Better to be an ordinary person with a servant than to be self-important but have no food.
9 Better to be ordinary and work for a living than act important and starve in the process.
9 Better to be dishonored, yet have a servant, than to act important but have no food.

Proverbs 12:9 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 12:9

[He that is] despised, and hath a servant
Meaning not the same person as before, but one in mean circumstances of life; and because he has not that substance as others have, at least does not make that show and figure in the world as some; and mean in his own eyes, as Jarchi; and does not affect grandeur, and to look greater than he is; has just sufficiency to keep a servant to wait upon him; or, as some render it, is "a servant to himself" F16; to this purpose the Septuagint; and so Jarchi and Gersom interpret it, who does his own work at home and abroad, in the house and in the field, and so gets himself a competent living. He [is] better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread;
that boasts of his pedigree, and brags of his wealth; dresses out in fine clothes, keeps a fine equipage, makes a great figure abroad, and has scarce bread to eat at home, and would have none if his debts were paid; the former is much the better man on all accounts, and more to be commended; see ( Proverbs 13:7 ) . And so, as Cocceius observes, the least shepherd (under Christ) that has ever so few sheep, one or two under his care, whom he brings to righteousness, and by whom he is loved, is preferable to the pope of Rome, who is adored by all; and yet neither has nor gives the bread of souls; and without the offerings of others has not anything to eat.


F16 (wl dbe) "servus sibiipsi", Montanus; "suiipius", Vatablus; "sibimet", Schultens.

Proverbs 12:9 In-Context

7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous stands firm.
8 A person is praised according to their prudence, and one with a warped mind is despised.
9 Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food.
10 The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.
11 Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
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