gā’āh [and] zēḏ
The English proud appears some forty-two times in the OT (AV) and pride another forty-six, both of which are a translation of several Hebrew words. One such word is gā’āh (H1342), a verb primarily meaning “to rise,” with the added ideas of “exalt” and “lift up.” In the literal sense, for example, it pictures stream waters rising (Eze_47:5), the proud (or “frothing”) waves of the sea (Job_38:11), or plants growing (Job_8:11).
It is the figurative meaning, however, that is most significant. It is God alone who is to be exalted. Another form of the word (gâ’ôn, H1347), for instance, speaks of the “LORD, and for the glory of his majesty” (Isa_2:10) and “the voice of his excellency (Job_37:4). Significantly, the Septuagint usually renders these and other related words as doxa (G1391), which speaks of “radiance” and “glory.”
Most significantly, it is the negative use of gâ’ôn and related words that stands out, and such negative use is always of man. “I will break the pride of your power,” God said to His people (Lev_26:19), for “the fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (Pro_8:13), and, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Pro_16:18).
Likewise, Isa_13:11 declares, “I will cause the arrogancy [gâ’ôn] of the proud to cease and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible,” while also introducing another word. Proud here is zēḏ (H2086, from ziyḏ, H2102), which appears some thirteen times, most often in the Psalms. Its basic idea is “pride and a sense of self-importance, which often is exaggerated to include defiance and even rebelliousness.” Jer_50:31-32 is especially graphic on God’s attitude toward pride: “Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud [zāḏôn, H2087], saith the Lord GOD of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee. And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round about him.”
In a day when pride is cloaked with high-sounding terms such as “self-esteem” and “positive pride,” we do well to remind ourselves where pride will take us, as it was the ancient sin of Satan before his fall and the one that brought him down to hell (Isa_14:12-15; cf. 1Ti_3:6). Pride is never positive.
Scriptures for Study: Note the following uses of zēḏ: Psa_19:13 (“presumptuous”); Psa_86:14; Psa_119:21; Psa_119:51; Psa_119:69; Psa_119:78.
gā’āh [and] zēḏ