In the history of Jewish and Christian piety, doctrine, and conversation, theconcept of pride has played a signiﬁcant role. Oddly enough, this is not because of aplethora of semantic references. In common English translations of the Bible, the words“pride” and “proud” occur around 100 times, with synonyms like “arrogance” and“conceit” bringing approximately 20 more references. Yet, for both the Jewish andChristian traditions, pride is one of the most common and reprehensible sins. This is notwithout justiﬁcation as the prophets and the wisdom literature of the Old Testamentcastigate and condemn pride and all those who possess it as being among the foremostrebels in a war against the God of Israel.
In the preaching of Jeremiah, pride is cited as one of the primary reasons Judahwill be sent into exile by Yahweh (Jeremiah 13:15-27). Along with their spiritual adulterythe injustice they committed against the weakest among them (common condemnationsin prophetic literature), it is the pride of Israel and Judah that Yahweh is determined topunish. And in two brutal conquests by Assyria and Babylon, respectively, Yahwehcarries out that discipline and breaks the back of His people
s pride. The question needsto be asked, however, as to the nature of this pride and what about it is so offensive tothe Living God.
The prophet of exile, Ezekiel, in communicating God
s condemnation upon theprince of Tyre, names several elements of pride in Ezekiel 28:1-5 (ESV):“Because your heart is proud, and you have said,
I am a god, I sit in the seat ofthe gods, in the heart of the seas,
yet you are but a man, and no god, thoughyou make your heart like the heart of a god— you are indeed wiser than Daniel;no secret is hidden from you; by your wisdom and your understanding you havemade wealth for yourself, and have gathered gold and silver into your treasuries;by your great wisdom in your trade you have increased your wealth, and yourheart has become proud in your wealth...