Nine at the top means:
He brings increase to no one.
Indeed, someone even strikes him.
He does not keep his heart constantly steady.
The meaning here is that through renunciation those in high place should bring increase to those below. By neglecting this duty and helping no one, they in turn lose the furthering influence of others and soon find themselves alone. In this way they invite attacks. An attitude not permanently in harmony with the demands of the time will necessarily bring misfortune with it. Confucius says about this line:
The superior man sets his person at rest before he moves; he composes his mind before he speaks; he makes his relations firm before he asks for something. By attending to these three matters, the superior man gains complete security. But if a man is brusque in his movements, others will not cooperate. If he is agitated in his word, they awaken no echo in others. If he asks for something without having fist established relations, it will not be given to him. If no one is with him, those who would harm him draw near.
Translator of this version of the I Ching is Richard Wilhelm. If you missed any posts in this series, please utilize the I Ching label below.