Proverbs 16:8-18 Kings and Presidents

(M)Better is a little with righteousness
    than great revenues with injustice.
(N)The heart of man plans his way,
    but (O)the Lord establishes his steps.
10 (P)An oracle is on the lips of a king;
    his mouth does not sin in judgement.
11 (Q)A just balance and scales are the Lord’s;
    all the weights in the bag are his work.
12 It is an abomination to kings to do evil,
    for (R)the throne is established by righteousness.
13 (S)Righteous lips are the delight of a king,
    and he loves him who speaks what is right.
14 (T)A king’s wrath is a messenger of death,
    and a wise man will (U)appease it.
15 (V)In the light of a king’s face there is life,
    and his (W)favour is like (X)the clouds that bring the spring rain.
16 (Y)How much better to get wisdom than (Z)gold!
    To get understanding is to be chosen rather than (AA)silver.
17 The highway of the upright (AB)turns aside from evil;
    whoever guards his way preserves his life.
18 (AC)Pride goes before destruction,
    and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Kings and Presidents

The Bible knew very little about representative republics.  By the time Rome really became an influence, Julius Caesar had changed the republic into an empire.  The nations of the Bible, therefore had kings or emperors:  Absolute rulers who believed God or gods had appointed them to rule without political opposition.  In fact, Proverbs 16:10 talks of the appointed king speaking with God’s authority and without error.  Such an idea finds limited application in western democracies.  All rulers need to be established in righteousness.  They need to do what is right and God defines those standards.

Barak Obama has compassion for the poor, he has made laws to protect them.  He wants universal healthcare for those who lack it.  Yesterday he declared that he was in support of same-sex marriage.  God loves people who are attracted to their own sex.  He loves them completely and wants what is best for them.  Just like a heterosexual who is not in a monogamous relationship, God wants abstinence.  To deny the design in the fabric of creation is to walk the path of the fool according to biblical Proverbs.  So Barak has made a misstep.  Both sides of the political fence make both good and poor choices.  We should not be too harsh on them, though.  They reflect the voters and take their stances to woo significant sections of society.  Those on the right who care little for those on welfare or rush quickly to judgement, walk the path of the fool.  Those on the left who support same-sex marriage undermine the fabric of society.  Those on the right who uphold the rights of the unborn walk a wise path.  Those on the left who think twice before ripping apart God’s Creation to mine its resources, walk the path of the wise.

Although Barak has taken a stance that is not grounded in righteousness, is he any less righteous than his upcoming opponent?  It’s a hard one to call.


  1. How should one act in the presence of authority?
  2. Upon what is true government (kingship) established?
  3. Do the verses about kings apply to Israel in a way that they cannot apply to us?
  4. What righteous positions do Democrats hold?  How are they fools by God’s standards?
  5. What righteous positions do Republicans hold?  How are they fools by God’s standards?

Going Deeper

Marcus LeShock of WGN news took a neutral tone when he asked what people think of Barak Obama’s announcement in favour of Gay Marriage.  What would you say?!/marcusleshock

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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1 Response to Proverbs 16:8-18 Kings and Presidents

  1. Carrie says:

    1. In the presence of authority we should be honest.
    2. True government is established through righteousness.
    3. The verses apply to Israel and the US the same. Both should be righteous, by judging the poor fairly, by not taking bribes and by removing wicked advisors.
    4. The main stance that democrats take in support of God’s desires is supporting the poor and those in need. The ways they oppose God is through supporting same sex marriages and abortions.
    5. Republicans are the opposite by opposing same sex marriages and abortion. There is not support for the poor but instead they support the wealthy and big businesses.

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