Proverbs 28:2
Parallel Verses
New International Version
When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.

New Living Translation
When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.

English Standard Version
When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.

New American Standard Bible
By the transgression of a land many are its princes, But by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures.

King James Bible
For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When a land is in rebellion, it has many rulers, but with a discerning and knowledgeable person, it endures.

International Standard Version
When a land transgresses, it gains a succession of leaders, but with an understanding and knowledgeable man, its stability endures.

NET Bible
When a country is rebellious it has many princes, but by someone who is discerning and knowledgeable order is maintained.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Among the evil of the Earth are its many Rulers, and the righteous children of men who know righteousness endure.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When a country is in revolt, it has many rulers, but only with a person who has understanding and knowledge will it last a long time.

Jubilee Bible 2000
By the rebellion of the land, many are its princes, but by the man of understanding and wisdom the land shall remain stable.

King James 2000 Bible
For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge its state shall be prolonged.

American King James Version
For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.

American Standard Version
For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof; But by men of understanding and knowledge the state thereof'shall be prolonged.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For the sine of the land many are the princes thereof: and for the wisdom of a man, and the knowledge of those things that are said, the life of the prince shall be prolonged.

Darby Bible Translation
By the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof; but by a man of understanding [and] of knowledge, [its] stability is prolonged.

English Revised Version
For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by men of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.

Webster's Bible Translation
For the transgression of a land many are its princes: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.

World English Bible
In rebellion, a land has many rulers, but order is maintained by a man of understanding and knowledge.

Young's Literal Translation
By the transgression of a land many are its heads. And by an intelligent man, Who knoweth right -- it is prolonged.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

28:1 Sin makes men cowards. Whatever difficulties the righteous meet in the way of duty, they are not daunted. 2. National sins disturb the public repose. 3. If needy persons get opportunities of oppressing, their extortion will be more severe than that of the more wealthy. 4. Wicked people strengthen one another in wicked ways. 5. If a man seeks the Lord, it is a good sign that he understands much, and it is a good means of understanding more. 6. An honest, godly, poor man, is better than a wicked, ungodly, rich man; has more comfort in himself, and is a greater blessing to the world. 7. Companions of riotous men not only grieve their parents, but shame them. 8. That which is ill got, though it may increase much, will not last long. Thus the poor are repaid, and God is glorified. 9. The sinner at whose prayers God is angry, is one who obstinately refuses to obey God's commands. 10. The success of ungodly men is their own misery. 11. Rich men are so flattered, that they think themselves superior to others. 12. There is glory in the land when the righteous have liberty. 13. It is folly to indulge sin, and excuse it. He who covers his sins, shall not have any true peace. He who humbly confesses his sins, with true repentance and faith, shall find mercy from God. The Son of God is our great atonement. Under a deep sense of our guilt and danger, we may claim salvation from that mercy which reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. 14. There is a fear which causes happiness. Faith and love will deliver from the fear of eternal misery; but we should always fear offending God, and fear sinning against him. 15. A wicked ruler, whatever we may call him, this scripture calls a roaring lion, and a ranging bear. 16. Oppressors want understanding; they do not consult their own honour, ease, and safety. 17. The murderer shall be haunted with terrors. None shall desire to save him from deserved punishment, nor pity him.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 2. - For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof. This implies that the wickedness of a nation is punished by frequent changes of rulers, who impose new laws, taxes, and other burdens, which greatly oppress the people; but regarding the antithesis in the second hemistich, we take the meaning to be that when iniquity, injustice, apostasy, and other evils abound, a country becomes the prey of pretenders and partisans striving for the supremacy. The history of the northern kingdom of Israel, especially in the disastrous period succeeding the death of Jeroboam II, affords proof of the truth of the statement (comp. Hosea 8:4). Septuagint, "Owing to the sins of ungodly men, quarrels (κρίσεις, lawsuits) arise." But by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged. "The state" is the stability, the settled condition of the country. The word is כֵן (ken), here a substantive, equivalent to "station," "base." Umbreit, Nowack, and others translate it, "justice," "authority," "order." When a wise and religious man is at the helm of state, justice continues, lives, and works; such a man introduces an clement of enduring good into a land (comp. Proverbs 21:22; Ecclesiastes 9:15). The good kings Ass, Jehoshaphat, Uzziah, and Hezekiah had long and prosperous reigns. Septuagint, "But a clever man (πανοῦργος) will quench them (quarrels)."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof,.... Either together; that is, reigning princes, such as lay claim to the crown, and usurp it; otherwise it is a happiness to a nation to have many princes of the blood, to inherit in succession, to support the crown in their family, and defend a nation, and study the good of it; but it is a judgment to a nation when many rise up as competitors for rule, or do rule, as at Athens, where thirty tyrants sprung up at once; by which factions and parties are made, and which issue in oppression, rapine, and murder: or successively, very quickly, one after another, being dethroned the one by the other: or removed by death, as in the land of Israel, in the times of the judges, and of the kings of Israel and Judah, after the revolt of the ten tribes; which frequent changes produce different administrations, new laws, and fresh taxes, disagreeable to the people; and oftentimes children come to be their princes, which is always reckoned an infelicity to a nation; see Ecclesiastes 10:16; and all this is usually for some national sin or sins indulged to, which draw upon a people the divine resentment, and provoke God to suffer such changes among there;

but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged, either by a set of wise and understanding, good and virtuous men, who will oppose the growing vice and immoralities of a people, and form themselves into societies for the reformation of manners; the word "man" being taken collectively for a body of men: or by a wise and prudent minister or ministry, or a set of civil magistrates, who will show themselves to be terrors to evildoers, and a praise to them that do well: or by a wise and prudent prince, who seeks to establish his throne by judgment and mercy; who will take care that justice and judgment be executed in the land, and that vice and profaneness be discouraged; by means of such, the state of a kingdom, which seemed near to ruin, will be prolonged, and the happiness and prosperity of it secured and established; and God, in mercy to it, may long preserve the life of their king, will being a good one, a long reign is always a happiness to a nation. And to this sense is the Vulgate Latin version, "the life of the prince shall be longer"; and the Targum, which is,

"and the sons of men that understand knowledge shall endure;''

see Ecclesiastes 9:15.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

2. Anarchy producing contending rulers shortens the reign of each.

but by a man … prolonged—or, "by a man of understanding—that is, a good ruler—he who knows or regards the right, that is, a good citizen, shall prolong (his days)." Good rulers are a blessing to the people. Bad government as a punishment for evil is contrasted with good as blessing to the good.

Proverbs 28:2 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Righteous are as Bold as a Lion
1The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion. 2By the transgression of a land many are its princes, But by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures. 3A poor man who oppresses the lowly Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.…
Cross References
1 Kings 16:8
In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah, Elah son of Baasha became king of Israel, and he reigned in Tirzah two years.

2 Kings 15:8
In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned six months.

Proverbs 11:11
Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.
Treasury of Scripture

For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.

the transgression

1 Kings 15:25,28 And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second …

1 Kings 16:8-29 In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the …

2 Kings 15:8-31 In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did Zachariah …

2 Chronicles 36:1-12 Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and …

Isaiah 3:1-7 For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, does take away from Jerusalem …

Hosea 13:11 I gave you a king in my anger, and took him away in my wrath.

but

Genesis 45:5-8 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you …

2 Chronicles 32:20-26 And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the …

Job 22:28-30 You shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established to you: …

Ecclesiastes 9:15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered …

Isaiah 58:12 And they that shall be of you shall build the old waste places: you …

Daniel 4:27 Why, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break off your …

by a man, etc., by men of understanding and wisdom shall they likewise be prolonged

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