As I was reading the scriptures today, a word jumped out at me: presumptuously. Perhaps it was the severity of consequences for presuming that the verse mandated that got my attention. What I’ve realized is I don’t think I previously fully understood this word.
Let me begin by giving you the scripture, Deuteronomy 17:12-13 (AMP)
The man who does presumptuously and will not listen to the priest who stands to minister there before the Lord your God or to the judge, that man shall die; so you shall purge the evil from Israel.
And all the people shall hear and [reverently] fear, and not act presumptuously again.
My initial question was are they dying because they presumed? Or because they presumed over the priests? The original Hebrew words hear are zadown (H2087) and zuwd (H2102).
Zadown surprised me be being translated into the word pride more often than presumptuously. Its definition is “pride, insolence, presumptuousness, arrogance” and it came from the root word zuwd, which was the next usage of presumptuously.
Zuwd was also translated both as presumptuously or some version of pride. It’s definition was:
to boil, boil up, seethe, act proudly, act presumptuously, act rebelliously, be presumptuous, be arrogant, be rebelliously proud
Then I began to wonder if maybe this was just a Hebrew thing, because I’d never equated presumption with pride (though I could see the possibility for a connection). Here’s how Merriam-Webster defined presume:
1 : to take upon oneself without leave, authority, or warrant : undertake rashly : dare
2 : to expect or assume especially with confidence
3 : to accept as true or credible without proof or before inquiry : assume
4 : to take for granted : imply
1 : to act or proceed presumptuously or on a presumption
2 : to go beyond what is right or proper
Even as I read these definitions, I could see hints at pride though I had never made that connection before. This caused me to consider what are instances when I act or speak presumptuously? And is it out of pride that I am doing so?
I don’t have some grand conclusion for you here. Mostly just sharing this train of thought because I thought perhaps some of you might find it curious as well and maybe even, like me, choose to reflect on when and why I presume… so that I might not act in pride 🙂