| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 53 - Page 14 of 215 Index | Zoom | |
In Proverbs there is the well-known statement "Train up a child in the way he should
go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (22: 6). As children, we were taught
to adopt a humble attitude (are they still taught that way?), not to boast, nor to think more
highly of oneself than one ought to think (Rom. 12: 3). To believe that boasting is
entirely wrong is an extreme attitude. But we should ask what is the cause of the
boasting? In what circumstances may it be permitted?
There are many warnings and exhortations about boasting. At this point we should
mention that the Greek word kauchaomai is often translated "to glory", and there is also a
Hebrew word that is translated "to boast" and "to glory". So when in Jer. 9: 23-24 we
read "glory" we might equally read "boast":
"Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty
man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth
glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise
lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight,
saith the Lord."
The wise, the mighty, the rich should not boast, for the true cause of boasting is in the
knowledge of the Lord and in His lovingkindness, His judgment, and His righteousness.
The clever businessman may be pleased with himself when he concludes a big deal.
The Eastern style of bargaining is rather different from our way of quoting a market
price, although in these modern days we have `discounts', which may cause us to ask
"When is a market price not a market price?". But let us visualize an Eastern market
where the buyer says "Your goods are worthless". He walks away and then returns to
offer a very low price: "I will give you so much". Prov. 20: 14 summarizes the
transaction in the words:
"It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth."
He is proud that he has bought from the poor man who must sell his wares to obtain
money for food, and paid him much less than the true value.
Again in Prov. 27: 1 we are warned against boasting:
"Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."
James 4: 14-16 conveys the same thought:
". . . . . whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is
even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought
to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your
boastings: all such rejoicing is evil."
Psalm 10: 3 also speaks of the boasting of the wicked who persecute the poor. God is
not in his thoughts and he believes he will not be moved. But the Psalmist calls on the
Lord to arise and defend the humble and the needy.