Proverbs 16:14
The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
16:12. The ruler that uses his power aright, will find that to be his best security. 13. Put those in power who know how to speak to the purpose. 14,15. Those are fools, who, to obtain the favour of an earthly prince, throw themselves out of God's favour. 16. There is joy and satisfaction of spirit, only in getting wisdom. 17. A sincerely religious man keeps at a distance from every appearance of evil. Happy is the man that walks in Christ, and is led by the Spirit of Christ. 18. When men defy God's judgments, and think themselves far from them, it is a sign they are at the door. Let us not fear the pride of others, but fear pride in ourselves. 19. Humility, though it exposes to contempt in the world, is much better than high-spiritedness, which makes God an enemy. He that understands God's word shall find good. 21. The man whose wisdom dwells in his heart, will be found more truly prudent than many who possess shining talents. 22. As waters to a thirsty land, so is a wise man to his friends and neighbours. 23. The wise man's self-knowledge, always suggests something proper to be spoken to others. 24. The word of God cures the diseases that weaken our souls. 25. This is caution to all, to take heed of deceiving themselves as to their souls. 26. We must labour for the meat which endureth to everlasting life, or we must perish.While Proverbs 16:13 depicts the king as he ought to be, this verse reminds us of the terrible rapidity with which, in the despotic monarchies of the East, punishment, even death, follows royal displeasure. 14. This wrath, so terrible and certain, like messengers of death (1Ki 2:25), can be appeased by the wise. Is as messengers of death; is as terrible as if many messengers were sent to denounce the sentence of death, and to execute it.

Will pacify it; will use all prudent and lawful means to pacify it. The wrath of a king is as messengers of death,.... Or, "angels of death", as the Targum. As the wrath of Ahasuerus was to Haman; when it is either discovered in the countenance of a king, or expressed by his words, or signified by a messenger; it sometimes has been immediate death to a person, and often as terrible as if a messenger brought the sentence of death; yea, it is as if one messenger after another was sent on such an errand, and therefore the word is in the plural number. How terrible is the wrath of the King of kings; and even to kings themselves, who are represented as flying to rocks and mountains to hide them from it! Revelation 6:15;

but a wise man will pacify it; by a proper acknowledgment of the offence committed; or by a prudent representation of his case, or the case of his friends; by soft answers and strong arguments, as Jonathan pacified the wrath of King Saul his father against David. He is a wise man that believes in Christ, and pleads his propitiatory sacrifice for the expiation of his sin, at the same time frankly acknowledging it.

The wrath of a king is as {h} messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.

(h) That is, he finds many ways to execute his wrath.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. messengers of death] The reckless fury of the Eastern despot (1 Samuel 22:16-18; Esther 7:7-10; Daniel 2:5) is but the abuse of the awful justice of the Archetypal King (Matthew 22:7; Luke 19:27).

will pacify it] See Psalm 2:10-12.Verse 14. - The wrath of a king is as messengers of death. In a despotic monarchy the death of an offender follows quickly on the offence. Anger the king, and punishment is at hand; instruments are always ready who will carry out the sentence, and that before time is given for reconsideration. The murder of Thomas a Becket will occur as an illustration (comp. Esther 7:8, etc). The LXX. translates, "The king's wrath is a messenger of death," taking the plural as put by enallage for the singular; but possibly the plural may intimate the many agents who are prepared to perform the ruler's behests, and the various means which he possesses for punishing offenders. This first clause implies, without expressly saying, that, such being the case, none but a fool will excite the monarch's resentment (comp. Ecclesiastes 8:4); then the second clause comes in naturally. But a wise man will pacify it. He will take care not to provoke that anger which gluts its resentment so quickly and so fatally (Proverbs 19:12; Proverbs 20:2). Septuagint, "A wise man will appease him," the king; as Jacob propitiated Esau by the present which he sent forward (Genesis 32:20, 21). Five proverbs of the king, together with three of righteousness in action and conduct:

8 Better is a little with righteousness,

   Than rich revenues with unrighteousness.

The cogn. proverb PRomans 15:16 commences similarly. Of רב תּבוּאות, multitude or greatness of income, vid., Proverbs 14:4 : "unrighteous wealth profits not." The possessor of it is not truly happy, for sin cleaves to it, which troubles the heart (conscience), and because the enjoyment which it affords is troubled by the curses of those who are injured, and by the sighs of the oppressed. Above all other gains rises ἡ εὐσέβεια μετ ̓ αὐταρκείας (1 Timothy 6:6).

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