What does Proverbs 16:5 mean?
ESV: Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
NIV: The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
NASB: Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Be assured, he will not go unpunished.
CSB: Everyone with a proud heart is detestable to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
NLT: The Lord detests the proud; they will surely be punished.
KJV: Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
NKJV: Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.
Verse Commentary:
Solomon points out that God has a special distaste for the sin of arrogance. It's true that a self-aggrandizing person, who thinks too much of themselves, is guilty of the sin of pride (Proverbs 6:16–19). In this context, the "arrogance" being exhibited is spiritual. This is the kind of egotism which leads a person to sneer at the idea of God and His goodness (Psalm 10:4–6). That attitude, left unchecked, is absolutely guaranteed to lead a person away from God and into eternal consequences.

An arrogant person misplaces his confidence. Instead of trusting in the Lord for salvation, he proudly trusts in his own ability to save himself. In his superiority, he feels his virtuous deeds are sufficient to gain heaven. He is like the Pharisee whose prayer in the temple exuded pride. He "thanked" God by bragging that he was better than other men, including a humble tax collector. He told God he fasted twice a week and tithed on everything he got (Luke 18:11–12). Jesus said the Pharisee did not return home justified. He remarked: "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled" (Luke 18:14).

Ephesians 2:8–9 acknowledges that God doesn't grant salvation as payment for religious works. Instead, He offers it freely to those who accept grace through faith. That same passage explicitly points out that one cannot be "proud" of their salvation, for that reason. Romans 4:5 declares: "And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness."
Verse Context:
Proverbs 16:1–9 reflects on the heart's intention to make plans and the Lord's rule over that planning. Committing one's ways to God, with reverence, is the wise way to make plans. The Lord has a purpose for everything He created (1 Timothy 4:4). This continues the main section of the book of Proverbs: a compilation of short, general-case statements of wisdom.
Chapter Summary:
This part of Solomon's proverbs emphasizes human motives, self-control, and common sense. Many of these proverbs are arranged in a two-part style. The first and second half of these statements make the same basic point, but from opposite perspectives. Notable verses are verses 9 and 33, speaking of God's sovereignty, and verse 18, a famous warning about arrogance. Also often cited is verse 25, which repeats Proverbs 14:12 and encourages self-reflection.
Chapter Context:
A lengthy list of Solomon's wise sayings began in chapter 10. Chapter 16 begins a section mostly composed of comparisons and completions. It extends to Proverbs 22:16. Man's thoughts, speech, motives, and conduct are examined in this chapter. The chapter also addresses pride, evil, and injustice.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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