Proverbs 30:13

ESV There are those—how lofty are their eyes, how high their eyelids lift!
NIV those whose eyes are ever so haughty, whose glances are so disdainful;
NASB There is a kind—oh how lofty are his eyes! And his eyelids are raised in arrogance.
CSB There is a generation--how haughty its eyes and pretentious its looks.
NLT They look proudly around, casting disdainful glances.
KJV There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.

What does Proverbs 30:13 mean?

Agur (Proverbs 30:1) is relating various sinful attitudes (Proverbs 30:11–12). Each statement is more poetic than the last. Here we find an image commonly associated with arrogant people. In modern expressions they are described as "turning up their nose," or depicted with raised brows and closed eyes. This verse mentions them holding their eyes high and raising their eyelids.

Pharisees, depicted in the New Testament, fit the description of haughtiness and hypocrisy. Jesus told a story about two men who entered the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee; the other was a tax collector. The Pharisees were known for their legalism and devotion to the Mosaic law. Tax collectors were despised as dishonest puppets of the Romans. According to Jesus' story, the Pharisee stood in the temple and made a prayer which was nothing but self-congratulations. He "thanked" God for what he thought was spiritual excellence. He extolled his adherence to the law and boasted about his tithing.

But God did not see the Pharisee as righteous. Instead, God honored the prayers of the tax collector. The tax collector "would not even lift up his eyes to heaven"—a direct contrast to the lifted face of this proverb. Humbly, the tax collector beat his chest and confessed that he was a sinner in need of God's mercy, and he received it. The humble tax collector, not the proud Pharisee, went home justified (see Luke 18:9–14).
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