If a ruler listen to lies, all his servants are wicked.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.—If a ruler shows that he likes adulation and falsehood rather than unpleasant truths, his attendants will provide him with what he wishes. (Comp. Ecclesiasticus 10:2.) So Jeremiah complains (Jeremiah 5:31) that prophets, priests, and people were all wilfully deceiving each other.If a ruler hearken to lies, delight in flatteries or calumnies, or any lying words or deceitful and wicked practices,
all his servants are wicked; partly because he chooseth only such for his service; and partly because they are either corrupted by his example, or engaged by their place and interest to please him, and comply with his base lusts. Psalm 101:7;
all his servants are wicked; or the greatest part of them: for a ruler of such a disposition will take none but such into his service, that flatter him, and calumniate others; and such a conduct, being pleasing and agreeable to him, is a temptation to his ministers to act the same wicked part; as is a prince, such are his courtiers; his example has a great influence upon them.If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. Comp.
“As is the judge of his people, so are his ministers;
And as is the ruler of the city, such are all they that dwell therein.”
Sir 10:2.Verse 12. - All his servants are wicked. The ruler is willing to be deceived, and does not care to hear the truth, so his servants flatter and lie to him, and the whole atmosphere is charged with unreality and deceit. Qualis rex, talis grex. Ecclus. 10:2, "As the judge of the people is himself, so are his officers; and what manner of man the ruler of the city is, such are all that dwell therein." Claudian, 'IV. Cons. Hon.,' 299 -
Regis ad exemplum: nec sic inflectere sensus
Humanos edicta valent, ut vita regentis.
Mobile mutatur semper cum principe vulgus."
"By the king's precedent
The world is ordered; and men's minds are moved
Less by stern edicts than their ruler's life.
The fickle crowd aye by the prince is swayed." Cicero, 'De Leg.,' 3:13, "Ut enim cupiditatibus principum et vitiis iufici solet tota civitas, sic emendari et corrigi continentia." And ibid., 14, "Quo perniciosius de republica merentur vitiosi principes, quod non solum vitia concipiunt ipsi, sod ea infundunt in civitatem; neque solum obsunt, ipsi quod corrumpuntur, sed etiam quod corrumpunt, plusque exemplo, quam peccato, nocent."
But the righteous rejoiceth jubelt and is glad.
Thus the first line is to be translated according to the sequence of the accents, Mahpach, Munach, Munach, Athnach, for the second Munach is the transformation of Dechi; אישׁ רע thus, like אנשׁי־רע, Proverbs 28:5, go together, although the connection is not, like this, genitival, but adjectival. But there is also this sequence of the accents, Munach, Dechi, Munach, Athnach, which separates רע and אישׁ. According to this, Ewald translates: "in the transgression of one lies an evil snare;" but in that case the word ought to have been מוקשׁ רע, as at Proverbs 12:13; for although the numeral רבים sometimes precedes its substantive, yet no other adjective ever does; passages such as Isaiah 28:21 and Isaiah 10:30 do not show the possibility of this position of the words. In this sequence of accents the explanation must be: in the wickedness of a man is the evil of a snare, i.e., evil is the snare laid therein (Bttcher); but a reason why the author did not write מוקשׁ רע would also not be seen there, and thus we must abide by the accentuation אישׁ רע. The righteous also may fall, yet he is again raised by means of repentance and pardon; but in the wickedness of a bad man lies a snare into which having once fallen, he cannot again release himself from it, Proverbs 24:16. In the second line, the form ירוּן, for ירן, is defended by the same metaplastic forms as ישׁוּד, Psalm 91:6; ירוּץ, Isaiah 42:4; and also that the order of the words is not ישׂמח ורנּן (lxx ἐν χαρᾷ καὶ ἐν εὐθροσύνῃ; Luther: frewet sich und hat wonne [rejoices and has pleasure]), is supported by the same sequence of ideas, Zechariah 2:1-13 :14, cf. Jeremiah 31:7 : the Jubeln is the momentary outburst of gladness; the Freude gladness, however, is a continuous feeling of happiness. To the question as to what the righteous rejoiceth over [jubelt] and is glad [greuet] because of, the answer is not: because of his happy release from danger (Zckler), but: because of the prosperity which his virtue procures for him (Fleischer). But the contrast between the first and second lines is not clear and strong. One misses the expression of the object or ground of the joy. Cocceius introduces into the second line a si lapsus fuerit. Schultens translates, justus vel succumbens triumphabit, after the Arab. rân f. o., which, however, does not mean succumbere, but subigere (vid., under Psalm 78:65). Hitzig compares Arab. raym f. i., discedere, relinquere, and translates: "but the righteous passeth through and rejoiceth." Bttcher is inclined to read יראה ושׂמח, he sees it (what?) and rejoiceth. All these devices, however, stand in the background compared with Pinsker's proposal (Babylon.-Heb. Punktationssystem, p. 156):
"On the footsteps of the wicked man lie snares,
But the righteous runneth and is glad,"
i.e., he runneth joyfully (like the sun, Psalm 19:6) on the divinely-appointed way (Psalm 119:132), on which he knows himself threatened by no danger. The change of בפשׁע into בפשׂע has Proverbs 12:13 against it; but ירוץ may be regarded, after Proverbs 4:12, cf. Proverbs 18:10, as the original from which ירון is corrupted.
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