Proverbs 14:34 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 14:34, NIV: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.

Proverbs 14:34, ESV: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

Proverbs 14:34, KJV: Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

Proverbs 14:34, NASB: Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.

Proverbs 14:34, NLT: Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

Proverbs 14:34, CSB: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

What does Proverbs 14:34 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Laws and government officials are, ultimately, extensions of the people. They are distilled versions of what that culture wants—or, at least, what it tolerates. When a nation is steeped in sin and rebellion against God, there are natural consequences. The strength of a nation might result in military or economic power, but the source of real strength is in the nation's moral character. Law and government will always turn towards the desires of the people, eventually. The presence of righteous individuals and families makes a nation strong, but wickedness in individuals and families degrades a nation and weakens it.

The book of Judges reveals these truths. When the people of Israel did was right in their own eyes but wrong in God's eyes, Israel succumbed to her enemies (Judges 2:11–23; 17:6). However, when the people called out to the Lord, He delivered the nation from her enemies (Judges 3:9–11, 15; 4:3, 23–24; 6:6–14; 10:10–16).

Also, in the times of the kings of Israel and Judah, idolatry and rebellion against God caused the northern nation of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah to fall and go into captivity (2 Kings 17:6–8). However, Judah had some good kings and periods of revival, whereas Israel had neither, therefore Judah survived nearly a century and a half longer than Israel before finally falling to the Babylonians (2 Chronicles 36:17–21; Daniel 1:1).