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The last word

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is better than the first one; better is the long in spirit

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than the haughty in spirit.


The sooner you get to the end of your speech the better;

it is better to be patient

than to be proud.



The word used here is “word,” but it can also mean “a matter, a thing.” If we interpret it as a “thing” we must assume it is a good thing, for the statement would not be true of evil things. If we take it to mean “word” the intent seems to be to encourage short, concise speech, which fits better with the clause that follows.

2: “long in spirit”

This word for “patient” is often associated with birds that have long pinions, i.e. those that can stay aloft for long periods of time. Hence it is a good word picture of “long in spirit, willing to wait.” To say, “It is better to be patient than to be proud,” seems like an unnecessary thing because it is so obvious. However, we often need to be reminded of key, basic truths because we get caught up in our own desires and lose sight of even the most basic precepts. This verse contains a couple of the themes of the entire book, that life requires patience because things don’t go as you expect, and focusing only on yourself, as the proud and arrogant do, will only bring frustration.