Might and Right
1 Chronicles 4:39-41
And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even to the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks.…

The place named Gedor is not otherwise mentioned in Scripture. Ewald and Bertheau think Gerar is the true reading; and this is given in the Septuagint Version. Reference, then, is to a portion of the Philistine country, which was remarkable for its fertility (Genesis 26:6-12; 2 Chronicles 14:14, 15). We cannot tell whether these princes had any justifiable ground for their aggression. But we may dwell on this as an instance of "might" overmastering "right;" for the earlier occupiers may be fairly considered to have had the "right," and the point of the story is that these princes grew strong, and when they had "might" they used it to drive out, and possess the lands of, those who had only "right. The Eastern mode of keeping flocks by moving them to different parts of wide pasture-grounds should be explained, and the rivalry and the quarrelling which this too often entails may be illustrated in the relations of Abraham and Lot. And the way in which weakening and decaying tribes have to yield before strong and rising tribes and nations, may illustrate the modern doctrine of the survival of the fittest;" and instances may be found in the story of the great nations, such as Persia, Greece, Rome, etc.

I. MAN'S MIGHT IS OFTEN THOUGHT RIGHT. The two things are perfectly distinct. What we can do is not necessarily what we ought to do. And man's power must ever be held down under the mastery of a will guided by good judgment, right principles, sweet charity, and tender consideration for the claims and rights of others. The Nasmyth steam-hammer affords a good illustration of splendid power held in full control. Yet in the commoner spheres of life, as well as by kings and great men, might is often mistaken for right. It is often one of the easiest pieces of self-deception. One of the master principles swaying men is the love of power. Therefore do men get large numbers of servants, retainers, and workmen; they increase wealth and possessions; push into places of position and influence; and in every possible way seek to gain sway over their fellow-men. And this becomes a peril, and, for many men, the severest test of virtue and charity. Every true-hearted man will feel the peril of confusing might with right; and will accept the fact that these two will often be in conflict, and that, for such conflict, the issue must always be the triumph of the right. Man's might is a fatal force for the liberty of his fellow-man, unless it not only seems to be to him, but it actually is, the same as the right. So the practical question ever and again recurring in life is this: "I can, but may I? Will it be right?" Man's nobility is full loyalty to the right.

II. GOD'S RIGHT ALWAYS PROVES TO BE MIGHT. Always "in the long run," We make many mistakes by only seeing pieces and parts of things; so we sometimes say, "The way of the Lord is not equal. Yet right does always triumph, if we can properly discern the right," and properly appraise "triumph," Right is invincible. Nature, all the good there is in the earth, all the long ages, and God himself, are on the side of the right. This is true for the individual man when, in all simplicity and loyalty, he does God's right, whatever of seeming disabilities it may involve. He may have the most perfect confidence that God will make it might, and in the due time "bring forth his righteousness as the light, and his judgment as the noonday." It may be practically enforced that man's violence overreaches itself, as did Haman's. And that all forcings of his way and will by man imply a failing of trust in God's living love and lead. It is a spirit in striking contrast with that expressed in Jabez's prayer (1 Chronicles 4:10). - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks.

WEB: They went to the entrance of Gedor, even to the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks.

Princes in Their Families
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