Proverbs 16:18

ESV Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
NIV Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
NASB Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
CSB Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.
NLT Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
KJV Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

What does Proverbs 16:18 mean?

This often-cited proverb notes that arrogance puts a person at risk for disaster. As with many such statements, it is true in both physical and spiritual ways. Overestimating one's athletic skills might result in severe injury. "Cocky" fighters—those who become too self-confident—might suffer a stunning upset. History is full of losses and tragedies set up by someone's smug self-assurance.

Even more dangerous is an attitude of spiritual pride: the arrogance that assumes one does not need God's merciful forgiveness (Proverbs 6:16–19; Psalm 10:4–6; Romans 2:4–6). Those too proud to humble themselves before judgment will be humbled anyway (Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10), but only before being cast into an eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10–15). Jesus told a parable warning about arrogance, showing the difference between a self-assured Pharisee and a self-aware tax collector (Luke 18:9–14).

King Nebuchadnezzar is a famous example of God humbling a proud person. Daniel 4:29–33 reports that Nebuchadnezzar was walking on the roof of his palace in Babylon, when he boasted, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" The next two verses tell us while he was mouthing these arrogant words, a voice from heaven announced that he would lose his throne and become an exile, living like an animal among animals. As promised, Nebuchadnezzar was driven insane and ate grass like an ox. God mercifully restored him, with a much-improved attitude (Daniel 4:34–37).
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