Proverbs for the American Rulers
By Jason Wiese
The West is the Best, but how did it get this way?
A lot of the greatness of the Western world can be attributed to the individualism and limits to human authority implied and outright stated in the Bible. One is not good or bad based on his tribe, tongue or race; his goodness is based on his thoughts, words and deeds. A king is not the highest authority but is beholden to an even higher power.
Much more could be said about this, but suffice it to say this much: these two things contributed to a healthy distrust of authority and a seeking for wisdom and knowledge. Christianity, at the very least, contributed greatly to the development of the West, and even non-Christian Proud Boys with any amount of intellectual honesty should acknowledge as much.
All throughout the foundational text of Christianity, the Bible, can be found sound doctrine applicable to every aspect of our lives, public and private. The Book of Proverbs in particular contains wisdom for people of all stations.
This article is a discussion of Proverbs’ advice for kings and rulers and how we can apply them as the electorate of democracies and republics. After all, in a democracy/republic, the people are supposed to be the rulers of the land. If that is the case, then the proverbs in the Bible that deal with how kings and princes should rule can also apply to the electorate.
This article will look at selected verses and passages and discuss how they can and should be applied as members of a democratic society.
13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. 14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. 15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
We should not vote for evil people or misguided people who promote evil policies. If we vote for better people who are godlier and more moral, the nation will be run better with more just treatment of its citizens, and it will endure longer and be stronger.
It seems to be a pretty self-evident thing, but in this day age people seem to think it is acceptable to vote for very bad people just because they are in the correct party and likely to make policy decisions in accordance with their own stances. This is a morally-grey topic, but at the very least, scriptures like this should guide us in any such calculation.
24 The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.
This means we should vote with the perspective that encouraging industriousness is the way to keep the nation strong and prosperous. Because the purpose of government is to punish evil-doers (as per Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-14), this more precisely means to not actively discourage industriousness through overreaching government interference, such as business regulations, but instead focus on punishing evil-doers.
28 In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.
Christians should immediately dismiss politicians and political advocacy groups out there who seem overly concerned with controlling human population.
There are Biblical examples to look to for this. For example, the Egyptians killed Israelite babies to reduce their population. Furthermore, the Romans, like the Egyptians, were a very negative example in the Bible. One thing the Romans did, though not recorded in the Bible, was use a particular plant due to its contraceptive properties. They were so fond of it, that they overused it tom extinction.
Nowadays, you can see the Egypt-level wickedness in places like Communist China with their child-limiting policies. Here in America, we have Planned Parenthood and other organizations killing 600+ thousand babies a year. Limiting population is bad for the king. In a democracy, the king is all of us.
If the West keeps this up, we will see ourselves on the wane and fast-reproducing Muslims on the wax.
10 A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.
This might be a little harder to understand. In the context of a monarch, this is saying that a king should not be afraid to pass judgment on people and things. One might be afraid to do this because it might alienate certain groups of people.
However, doing so is his divine ordinance by God because in a monarchy, the king is essentially the government, and the government should judge righteously and punish the evil-doers who are judged guilty. This is not to say monarchy is a good form of government, but if a monarchy exists, this is what it should be doing.
In the context of democratic rule, this means that the public should not be afraid of expressing their political opinion. It is important for us to judge the direction our nation is headed as good or bad and pass that judgment in the form of political activism.
12 It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness. 13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.
The public should consider wrongdoing an abomination and a threat to their rule because righteousness establishes their rule. It establishes it by incurring God's favor as well as by pragmatic ways.
Furthermore, on the other side of the coin, we should be glad when people say the right thing, whether or not it is pleasant. This is because seeking the truth is necessary for the nation to be founded on something substantial rather than pleasing lies.
14 The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it. 15 In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.
The people are powerful and stirring up the people to anger is dangerous to the person or group that does so. This should keep us grounded as voters because, as the Bible says in James 1:20, the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
The anger of the public is very often not a justifiable anger, and the public can greatly harm people who don’t really deserve it. We should only be angry at things that make God angry.
An example of how this could look as voters is voting for a bad candidate because they hate the other main contender in an election without cause. It could also look like voting in politicians in the South during America's Jim Crow Era because the thought of equal rights among the races is infuriating. It could also look like voting for someone who promises to engage in any sort of unjustifiably brutal public or foreign policy.
7 Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.
For this one, it should be noted that the word "prince" as it used in the Bible means "ruler" or "principally important or powerful person," and not as in "son of a king" as we most often think of it in modern times.
The public should eschew lies as much as a fool would eschew hearing good words. The public often falls prey to comforting lies or false or twisted statistics to back up their beloved-but-wrong beliefs.
26 Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.
We should not vote for policies that hurt people who have done nothing wrong even if we don't like them nor should we despise politicians who treat everyone fairly and equally. Treating people fairly does not mean giving handouts, but it does mean that the rich should not get away with murder while the poor serve life sentences for selling weed too many times.
6 Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.
We should be wary of politicians who promise us a lot of things that seem too good to be true, and that we should be wary of politicians who receive and accept many gifts from people.
10 Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes.
The public should not vote for public servants who want to exercise authoritarian rule over them.
Proverbs 19:12 & Proverbs 20:2
19:20 The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass.
20:2 The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.
Refer to the discussion about Proverbs 16:14-15.
26 A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.
It is appropriate for the public to vote for politicians and policies aimed at punishing evil-doers.
8 A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.
The scrutiny of the public can force evil into the shadows and away from positions of power. We have seen this a lot recently with the exposing of politicians and media figures for their various misdeeds.
28 Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.
Although verses like Proverbs 20:26 suggest punishment for the wicked should be what the public votes for, mercy should not be absent in their decisions. That is, we really shouldn't delight in the punishment of the wicked and should make sure the punishments fit the crime. Also, where it is possible and expedient, rehabilitation should be the goal.
1 The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
We should keep in mind that God can and does influence the hearts of the public to achieve His ends. This one isn't so much about what we should do but is a reminder of who is ultimately in charge.
7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Power exists in places other than the government. If we want to have practical, enforceable laws, the politicians and policies the public should vote for should keep that in mind. That way, for example, rich people can't put themselves in a position where they're above the law and can legitimately oppress the poor without restriction.
The latter half could be seen as a warning against the public voting to put politicians and policies in place that give banks undue influence over the government by borrowing so much that the politicians end up in their pocket. Long story short, audit/end the Fed.
11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
The public should have an affinity for politicians who have a pure heart. Such a politician will be more likely to be a friend to the people.
That isn't to say people can’t be honestly mistaken about the best course of action, but if their heart is pure and they aren't in it to just benefit themselves, they will be more likely to change course after realizing a decision was bad despite the obvious shame to themselves it would incur.
28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
We should not let tried-and-true principles of law and rule that have stood the test of time and led to justice be watered down and eroded or done away with. For example, this could be practically applied in America by voting for politicians who uphold the tenets of the U.S. Constitution.
29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
The public should vote to place industrious, successful people in positions of power rather than those with no merit.
10 Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
Refer to the discussion about Proverbs 22:28.
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
The public should vote for politicians who will duly investigate important matters as well as remain as transparent as is feasible.
5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
The public should not give heed to bad people and take their arguments very seriously.
Obviously bad people can say some things that are right. Hitler, for example, had great things to say about environmentalism and cleanliness, but hearing him out wasn't the best thing the German people ever did. You don't have to listen to Hitler to be an environmentalist.
Decent people will be much more likely to have a holistically good litany of things to say. It is not the same to say, "You should not listen to wicked people," as it is to say, "You should not hear different perspectives."
6 Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: 7 For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.
We should be wary of people who are too eager to be in positions of power, but it is better when the "king," (i.e. the public) calls upon someone to enter politics on the merit of their accomplishments and reputation for purity and morality. One could look to the example of George Washington, who was reluctant to be president, but did so because the people of the newly-formed United States asked him to be.
15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.
Soft words, kindness and repetition are very good at persuading people to believe something. This is not necessarily a good thing.
Truth can often be unpleasant while lies can be smooth and enticing. Additionally, it's a known truism that if something is stated to the public loudly and often enough that they will start to believe it. This can be used for good or evil, and the public should keep alert to this sort of brainwashing.
2 For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
If evil and sin are rampant, the nation can find itself, through natural progression or intentional confounding by the Lord, fractionated into many opposing factions instead of a united whole. The divided factions keep anything good from being done. This also leaves a people open to divide-and-conquer tactics by outside forces, which is why such a situation is especially not good.
15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.
If the people are in power and the people are typically wicked, then the things they vote for will end up being a devouring influence on the nation’s wealth and security.
16 The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.
The public needs to be informed or they will end up voting for oppressive policies. The latter half of the verse suggests that the oppressive policies they would enact because of their ignorance will tend to be covetous in nature.
2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
People need to be righteous and vote for righteous people and policies or else they will end up in a miserable state (pun intended).
4 The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.
The public should vote for principled politicians who will enact fair and just laws rather than those who promise them favors.
12 If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.
The public should be wary of the lies of politicians because you are likely to end up in a situation in which the vast majority of politicians are wicked people who lied their way into office by promising the world to their voters.
14 The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.
Refer to the discussion about Proverbs 17:26.
The verse also implies that doing so will keep the people in power. The poor outnumber the rich. If they are treated unfairly, then conniving politicians rise to prey on their understandable frustration and use feigned concern for the poor to garner votes. Such politicians almost invariably instill authoritarian rule that takes the power away from the people.
These are not quite pertinent to the topic of "citizens taking advice meant for kings," but they are tangentially-related enough to include them in this discussion.
21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.
6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
26 He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
2 A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.
21 My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: 22 For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
3 The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.
18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
26 Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the Lord.