The self-negation seen in these texts is quite a break from the usual self-exaltation of kings in the ancient Near East, who often liked to boast of their wisdom, achievements, and military victories. Solomon himself is recorded as surpassing
all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom (1 Kings 10:23, NKJV; Eccles. 2:9). And then, of course, there’s Nebuchadnezzar, who proclaimed:
Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty? (Dan. 4:30, NIV).
Because our author understands his own ignorance, he calls boasting
The Hebrew word for
foolish here is nabal, which is the name of Nabal, whose behavior exemplified foolish pride as well (1 Samuel 25). Such boasting, which implies pride, also carries the potential for humiliation and thus, for anger and strife. The apostle Paul also called some of his church members
fools who considered themselves wise and were, even worse, boasting about it (2 Cor. 11:18-19).
Read Luke 18:9–14. Why might it be easier to be like the Pharisee than one might think? How can we make sure that we don’t fall into this same trap even in the subtlest ways?
You have to feel sorry for people who boast (usually it’s a cover for insecurities anyway); it shows just how self-deceived and ignorant they really are.