A wise magistrate gives stability to his people,
and government by the intelligent is well ordered.
As the people’s judge, so the officials;
as the head of a city, so the inhabitants.
A reckless king destroys his people,
but a city grows through the intelligence of its princes.
Sovereignty over the earth is in the hand of God,
who appoints the right person for the right time.
Sovereignty over everyone is in the hand of God,
who imparts his majesty to the ruler.
THE SIN OF PRIDE
No matter what the wrong, never harm your neighbor
or go the way of arrogance.
Odious to the Lord and to mortals is pride,
and for both oppression is a crime.
Sovereignty is transferred from one people to another
because of the lawlessness of the proud.
Why are dust and ashes proud?*
Even during life the body decays.
A slight illness—the doctor jests;
a king today—tomorrow he is dead.
When a people die,
they inherit corruption and worms, gnats and maggots.
The beginning of pride is stubbornness
in withdrawing the heart from one’s Maker.
For 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
God overturns the thrones of the proud
and enthrones the lowly in their place.
God plucks up the roots of the proud,
and plants the lowly in their place.
The Lord lays waste the lands of the nations,
and destroys them to the very foundations of the earth.
He removes them from the earth, destroying them,
erasing their memory from the world.
Insolence does not befit mortals,
nor impudent anger those born of women.
Whose 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.
Among relatives their leader is honored;
but whoever fears God is honored among God’s people.†
Resident alien, stranger, foreigner, pauper—
their glory is the fear of the LORD.
It is not right to despise anyone wise but poor,
nor proper to honor the lawless.g
The prince, the ruler, the judge are in honor;
but none is greater than the one who fears God.
When the free serve a wise slave,
the wise will not complain.
Do not flaunt your wisdom in managing your affairs,
or boast in your time of need.
Better the worker who has goods in plenty
than the boaster who has no food.i
My son, with humility have self-esteem;
and give yourself the esteem you deserve.
Who will acquit those who condemn themselves?
Who will honor those who disgrace themselves?
The poor are honored for their wisdom;
the rich are honored for their wealth.
Honored in poverty, how much more so in wealth!
Disgraced in wealth, in poverty how much the more!
* [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.