And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.
Babes shall rule over them. No greater calamity can come on a nation than the succession of mere children to the throne, and government by regency and party. Ahaz ascended the throne at the age of twenty (2 Chronicles 28:1). Manasseh at age of twelve; Josiah at age of eight (2 Chronicles 33:1; 2 Chronicles 34:1). The evil was, of course, exaggerated in Eastern countries, where kings are irresponsible despots. "In an Eastern monarchy the rule of a young king, rash and without experience, guided by counselors like himself, was naturally regarded as the greatest of evils, and the history of Rehoboam had impressed this truth on the mind of every Israelite." "Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child" (Ecclesiastes 10:16). When the strong men and wise men are removed by disease and calamity, weaklings get into office and place of authority, and surely create fresh evils by their incapacity.
I. THE EVIL OF RULERS WHO ARE CHILDREN IN AGE. Such, being unable to decide and act for themselves, are dependent on court advisers; so there is every opportunity for court intrigue, rivalry of parties, and the sacrifice of national interests to party advantage. Under weak governments class is set against class. Illustrate the petulance of boys in the exercise of assumed authority. It comes out even in their play. In old times young kings were under the supreme influence of the queen-mother, and she might be a Jezebel or an Athaliah. The most anxious times of English history are times of regency.
II. THE EVIL OF RULERS WHO ARE CHILDREN IN UNDERSTANDING. Such as Rehoboam. The evil is qualified in constitutional countries; but even in them the king gives tone to society. It has often been a consequence of war that a land has been left to the government of the incompetent. Corruption at court has sometimes led the best men to retire from the government. Under such inefficient rule, in an Eastern kingdom, all is chaotic and anarchic; there is a condition which can only be fittingly represented by the Turkey or Egypt of our own times. Apply to the small kingdoms of -
(3) families, and urge the importance, to the well-being of a nation, of manly men, and manly, strong, wisely ruling fathers. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.