Proverbs 17:19

ESV Whoever loves transgression loves strife; he who makes his door high seeks destruction.
NIV Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin; whoever builds a high gate invites destruction.
NASB One who loves wrongdoing loves strife; One who makes his doorway high seeks destruction.
CSB One who loves to offend loves strife; one who builds a high threshold invites injury.
NLT Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin; anyone who trusts in high walls invites disaster.
KJV He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.

What does Proverbs 17:19 mean?

"Strife" is the arguing and distance that comes between people because of deep-seated disagreements (Proverbs 10:12; 16:28; 17:1, 14). A lover of sin is here identified as someone who loves this kind of bickering and hatred. The phrasing here is an inverted expression, implying that those who love to create strife are expressing a love of sin. This would be like saying, in English, that "the one who shouts in pain is the one who stubs his toe." Those who make a point of causing trouble are participating in an ungodly practice.

This verse refers to a particular type of division-causer, calling them someone who "makes his door high," also translated as one who "raises his door" or "builds a high threshold." The imagery is of someone who makes the entrance to their home especially ornate or raises it above his neighbors to show off. A literally raised threshold can be dangerous. An overly luxurious feature can invite scrutiny from tax collectors and robbers. More generally, this is a person who brags about themselves, inviting disaster (Proverbs 11:2; 16:18; 29:23).

King Nebuchadnezzar was this kind of person. The prophet Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream, telling him he would be humbled until he properly acknowledges the Most High God (Daniel 4:24–25). A year later, Nebuchadnezzar walked in his royal home and boasted about his power and ability to build cities and palaces (Daniel 4:29–30). Suddenly, a voice from heaven told him, "The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will" (Daniel 4:31–32). Immediately, the prediction came true; Nebuchadnezzar became a vivid example of pride leading to ruin.
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