Proverbs 14:34 (WEB)
Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.
Outline the text to make plain the flow of thought.
Outline of the text
to any people
Look at various translations to see how the Hebrew words are translated in this context. Then look at a dictionary to get at the root meaning of the word.
Righteousness (various translations): righteousness; justice
Hebrew root: to be straight; to walk a straight path
The Old Testament often speaks of following God’s commandments and not turning to the right or the left.
Exalts (various translations): raises up high; exalts; lifted up; sets up; elevates; makes great; raises; lifts up
Hebrew root: to rise; rise up; be high; be lofty; be exalted
Nation (various translations): nation; the people; folk
Hebrew root: back as middle part of body; people of nation as back or body
The idea of people as a back points to something that holds the nation together, e.g. the common culture.
Sin (various translations): sin: sins; sinful; wickedness
Hebrew root: measuring cord; cord used to measure distance by which a target was missed
Disgrace (various translations): lessens; reproach; cause of shame: sacrifice; destruction; makes miserable; disgrace; diminishes; makes wretched
Hebrew root: bow the neck ( to have the head removed)
People ( various translations): tribes; people; heathen; folk; nation
Hebrew root: staff of might; people bound together
This means a people bound together or yoked together, possibly by oath/covenant.
So an initial thought would be the common culture is exalted by righteousness, but the covenant people are disgraced when they and/or the common culture fall short of righteousness.