Proverbs 29:2
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked bears rule, the people mourn.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Proverbs 29:2. When the righteous are in authority — The Hebrew word here used signifies to increase, either in number, or in dignity and power, but it appears from the opposite clause that the latter is intended in this place. The people rejoice — For the blessed effects of their good government; but when the wicked beareth rule — When an ungodly man governs; the people mourn — For the oppressions and mischiefs which they feel, and for the dreadful judgments of God, which they justly fear.29:1 If God wounds, who can heal? The word of God warns all to flee from the wrath to come, to the hope set before us in Jesus Christ. 2. The people have cause to rejoice or mourn, as their rulers are righteous or wicked. 3. Divine wisdom best keeps us from ruinous lusts. 4. The Lord Jesus is the King who will minister true judgment to the people. 5. Flatterers put men off their guard, which betrays them into foolish conduct. 6. Transgressions always end in vexations. Righteous men walk at liberty, and walk in safety. 7. This verse is applicable to compassion for the distress of the poor, and the unfeeling disregard shown by the wicked. 8. The scornful mock at things sacred and serious. Men who promote religion, which is true wisdom, turn away the wrath of God. 9. If a wise man dispute with a conceited wrangler, he will be treated with anger or ridicule; and no good is done. 10. Christ told his disciples that they should be hated of all men. The just, whom the blood-thirsty hate, gladly do any thing for their salvation.Shall be destroyed - literally, "shall be broken" Proverbs 6:15. Stress is laid on the suddenness in such a case of the long-delayed retribution. 2. (Compare Pr 11:10; 28:28).

in authority—(Compare Margin), increased in power.

In authority; which interpretation is confirmed from the opposite clause. The Hebrew word signifies to increase either in number, or in dignity and power.

The people rejoice, for the blessed effects of their good government.

The people mourn, both for the oppressions and mischiefs which they feel, and for the dreadful judgments of God which they justly fear. When the righteous are in authority,.... Or "are increased" (g); either in number or in riches, or in power and dominion; are set in high places, and have the exercise of civil government and the execution of the laws in their hands; for the protection of good men in their civil and religious privileges, and for the punishment of evil men; for the encouraging of all that is good, and for the discouraging of everything that is bad;

the people rejoice; the whole body of the people, because of the public good; a state is happy under such an administration; everyone feels and enjoys the advantage of it; see 1 Kings 4:20;

but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn; or "groan" (h), or "will groan", under their tyranny and oppression, and because of the sad state of things; the number of good men is lessened, being cut off, or obliged to flee; wicked men and wickedness are encouraged and promoted; heavy taxes are laid upon them, and exorbitant demands made and cruelty, injustice, and arbitrary power exercised; and no man's person and property safe; see Proverbs 10:11.

(g) "cum augentur", Junius & Tremellius; "cum multiplicati fuerit, vel multiplicantur", Vatablus, Baynus, Cocceius, Michaelis; "in multiplicari justos", Montanus. (h) "gemet", Pagninus, Montanus, V. L. "gemit", Michaelis; "ingemiscit", Schultens; so the Tugurine version, Mercerus; "suspirat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius.

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. in authority] This rendering is supported by the parallelism, but it is relegated to the margin in R.V. The rendering, increased, R.V. text, A.V. marg., gives the more usual meaning of the Heb. word, See Proverbs 28:28, and Proverbs 29:16 below.

the wicked] Or, a wicked man, R.V. The word is singular, but may be taken with A.V. collectively, ἀρχόντων δὲ ἀσεβῶν, LXX.; cum impii sumserint principatum, Vulg.Verse 2. - When the righteous are in authority; rather, as in Proverbs 28:28, when the righteous are increased; Vulgate, in multiplicatione justorum. When sinners are put away, and the righteous are in the majority. Septuagint, "when the just are commended." When good men give the tone to society and conduct all affairs according to their own high standard, the peoople rejoice; there is general happiness; prosperity abounds, and voices ring cheerfully (Proverbs 11:10; Proverbs 28:12). When the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn; they suffer violence and injustice, and have bitter cause for complaint and lamentation. This proverb is not applicable to the age of Solomon. 24 He who robbeth his father and mother, and saith:

     It is no wrong, Is a companion of the destroyer.

The second line is related to Proverbs 18:9. Instead of dominus perditionis there found, there is here אישׁ משׁחית, vir perdens (perditor); the word thus denotes a man who destroys, not from revenge, but from lust, and for the sake of the life of men, and that which is valuable for men; thus the spoiler, the incendiary, etc. Instead of אח there, here we have חבר in the same sense. He who robs his parents, i.e., takes to himself what belongs to them, and regards his doing so as no particular sin,

(Note: Accentuate ואמר אין פשׁע without Makkeph, as in Codd. 1294 and old editions.)

because he will at last come to inherit it all (cf. Proverbs 20:21 with Proverbs 19:26), to to be likened to a man who allows himself in all offences against the life and property of his neighbour; for what the deed of such a son wants in external violence, it makes up in its wickedness, because it is a rude violation of the tenderest and holiest demands of duty.

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