1 Chronicles 4:38
These mentioned by their names were princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly.
Words transferred from one language, and one state of society to another, are often misleading. By "princes" here we are to understand head-men of certain towns which were in possession of families among the Simeonites. They were persons of importance, of consideration, and influence in their localities. The record of them hears witness to a settled state of society, and to the establishment of civil order and subordination.
I. HUMAN AUTHORITY IS OF DIVINE APPOINTMENT. That this is so in the family will be admitted by all who believe in a Creator, and in his interest in the human race. It is also admitted by thoughtful persons with regard to civil and national life. It does not follow that rulers are always righteous, or are even always to be tolerated and obeyed. It is an absurd inference to draw from the fact that sovereignty and submission in some form are of Divine appointment - that kings have nothing to do but to command, and subjects nothing but to obey. The world has had enough of absolute monarchy, and theologians have too long inculcated "the right Divine of kings to govern wrong." Still, "the powers that be are ordained of God;" it was divinely intended that men should live in civil society, and that order should be maintained and authority upheld, and justice administered between man and man.
II. As a consequence, SUBJECTION TO CIVIL AUTHORITY IS, WITHIN CERTAIN LIMITS, A HUMAN DUTY. In ordinary cases, where conscience does not enjoin the express contrary, men are bound to obey the laws of the land. Especially is this the case where, as in our own country, the government is constitutional, and the people have power to amend unjust and inexpedient laws, and to reform abuses in administration. The immoral character of lawful governors is no religious ground of resistance to their decrees.
III. RULERS, SMALL AND GREAT, ARE THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE TO HIM WHO IS "THE BLESSED AND ONLY POTENTATE, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." Let them remember this, and be wise and just. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: These mentioned by their names were princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly.