These Six Things… Yea, Seven (Haughty Eyes)
I’ve always liked the King James translation of Proverbs 6:16.
These six things doth the LORD hate: Yea, seven are an abomination unto him.
Proverbs 6:16, KJV 1900
Six things the LORD hates … yea, seven are an abomination. Wow! If God is going to list for us six or seven things that are an abomination to him, we better listen!
Over the next few weeks I intend to write seven short posts with the goal that we would mediate (think Psalm 1:2) on each of these seven items, prayerfully considering how we might by the Spirit put to death these deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13). I’m thankful for a conversation earlier this week that sparked the idea!
Before we talk about the first item, it is worth observing a word about the context. Speaking of Proverbs 6:16 and the list that follows, the ESV Study Bible says that “this numeric literary device presents a representative rather than exhaustive list (cf. 30:15–16, 18–19, 21–31) that seeks to draw particular attention to the final item as the focus of God’s hatred.” I mentioned this in my sermon covering this passage. The focus ultimately is on “one who sows discord among brothers” (or as the NIV says, “a person who stirs up conflict in the community”). The list is moving toward this final item which was already mentioned back in Proverbs 6:14.
So while we keep in mind that the attention is being directed to the final item of the list, it is still worth our time to ponder over the other six. Ready? Here we go.
The first item listed as an abomination to God is translated “haughty eyes”. Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke helps us understand.
Haughty eyes (literally “rising pair of eyes”) describes the pompous Assyrian invader in Isaiah 10:12-14 as well as the proud king in Daniel 11:12. They manifest a denial of the LORD’S authority (Job 21:22; 38:15; Psalm 101:5; Isaiah 2:11-17; 10:33) and a disregard for human rights. Arrogance means self-exaltation over another person and violates the fundamentally equal honor of each individual (cf. Proverbs 8:13; 16:5; 29:23). The LORD will humble the proud who set themselves above others and deal with them in a high-handed way (Proverbs 30:13; Psalm 18:28-29). Gemser thinks that it is listed first in this catalogue of abominations because no vice stands in sharper opposition to wisdom and fear of God than pride (Isaiah 2:11-17), and no virtue stands closer to them than humility and modesty (cf. Proverbs 3:34; 15:33; 16:18; 22:4).
Where do we display haughty eyes? Is it with some specific people or situations? Do we need to confess a specific sin of pride or an ongoing spirit of pride?
Both Peter and James remind us that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5 and James 4:6, quoting Proverbs 3:34). God gives grace to the humble. That is a great promise, even as we humble ourselves and confess our our pride and haughty eyes.
And the opening words of James 4:6 are even better: He gives more grace.