Proverbs 16:10 --- "Inspired decisions are on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment

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biblelighthouse

Puritan Board Junior
"Inspired decisions are on the lips of a king;
his mouth does not sin in judgment." (Proverbs 16:10)


What in the world is the meaning of this passage? This sounds like the "divine right of kings" if I have ever heard it. But of course, I know that I simply must be misunderstanding it. Even two verses later, in Proverbs 16:12, we are told that kings can sin.

So, someone please explain this verse to me! What is Proverbs 16:10 all about?

Thank you in advance,
Joseph
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Matthew Henry's comments on 16.10:

We wish this were always true as a proposition, and we ought to make it our prayer for kings, and all in authority, that a divine sentence may be in their lips, both in giving orders, that they may do that in wisdom, and in giving sentence, that they may do that in equity, both which are included in judgment, and that in neither their mouth may transgress, 1 Tim. ii. 1. But it is often otherwise; and therefore, 1. It may be read as a precept to the kings and judges of the earth to be wise and instructed. Let them be just, and rule in the fear of God; let them act with such wisdom and conscience that there may appear a holy divination in all they say or do, and that they are guided by principles supernatural: let not their mouths transgress in judgment, for the judgment is God's. 2. It may be taken as a promise to all good kings, that if they sincerely aim at God's glory, and seek direction from him, he will qualify them with wisdom and grace above others, in proportion to the eminency of their station and the trusts lodged in their hands. When Saul himself was made king God gave him another spirit. 3. It was true concerning Solomon who wrote this; he had extraordinary wisdom, pursuant to the promise God made him, See 1 Kings iii. 28.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Psa 24
Ye gates lift up your heads on high,
ye doors that last for aye
be lifted up that so the king of glory enter may,
but who is he that is the king of glory who is this?
The Lord of Host and He alone the king of glory is!

:2cents:
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
Proverbs = Probabilities

I heard Dobson say that once, and I couldn't listen to him anymore after that. Proverbs is Scripture, and gives sound wisdom, so it just turned me the wrong way when he said that Proverbs are probabilities. He was using it to justify his arminianistic view of children, and that bothered me.

Kings are in a puculiar position, as are Presidents and Prime Ministers, heads of State. They have a responsibility for the nation, whether they are despots or not. Thus they are called upon to make decisions that are necessary though they are most hard to make. Sometimes they make the wrong decision, and they look like the worst of rulers. But even bad kings can make decisions that happen to be right, and make an incredible impact upon the nation they are ruling, more than they thought could happen.

But there are also kings, such as I think Reagan was as President, who do things for good, knowing the end that is in store, and are willing to take the risks because it is right to do. They have courage, conviction, and in being that particular position where the providence of God is upon them, they are wise.
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by biblelighthouse
"Inspired decisions are on the lips of a king;
his mouth does not sin in judgment." (Proverbs 16:10)


What in the world is the meaning of this passage? This sounds like the "divine right of kings" if I have ever heard it. But of course, I know that I simply must be misunderstanding it. Even two verses later, in Proverbs 16:12, we are told that kings can sin.

So, someone please explain this verse to me! What is Proverbs 16:10 all about?

Thank you in advance,
Joseph

The word "inspired decisions" is translated as 'divination' in other translations and refers to divine prophecy.

A king like David could prophecy to the nation as his words are recorded as scripture. For others, it simply means that they rule the kingdom of Israel with God's authority (the law). The context is judgment: the king, in the Old Covenant, stands for God's kingdom here on earth and applies that law to the covenant people with the right or authority that God has given him. So as long as his judgment is in accordance with God's law, then he has not sinned.



[Edited on 8-17-2005 by poimen]
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
Proverbs = Probabilities

I think I like this better:

Proverbs = principles (not promises)

A proverb, by its very nature is a principle: either a command or a general rule for life without intending to be infallible or applicable to every situation or day in life.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by poimen
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
Proverbs = Probabilities

I think I like this better:

Proverbs = principles (not promises)

A proverb, by its very nature is a principle: either a command or a general rule for life without intending to be infallible or applicable to every situation or day in life.

:ditto:
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
A proverb, by its very nature is a principle: either a command or a general rule for life without intending to be infallible or applicable to every situation or day in life.


Does this mean it is up to our discretion to judge whether the 'advice' of a particular proverb applies to a given situation?
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
Maybe i should elaborate a little.

Certain things in scripture are direct commands and we are to hold to them regardless of the situation. For instance, we are not to commit explicit sins regardless of how stupid that may make us look to the world.

But are the proverbs meant to be viewed that way? While we don't want to get into a situation of second guessing God's wisdom, it seems to me that proverbs does require some judgment on our part.

Take for instance

Proverbs 15:01
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Now i don't think this translates into a strict command that we must always answer anger with a 'soft answer'. While it is surely wise to do so most of the time, there are circumstances where we know a man is so consumed by rage he cannot be reasoned with. In such cases it might be wiser to leave him till he cools down, or call the cops!

Any thoughts?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Keil & Delitzsch

Pro 16:10 -
10 Oracular decision (belongeth) to the lips of the king;
In the judgment his mouth should not err.

The first line is a noun clause: קס×, as subject, thus needs a distinctive accent, and that is here, after the rule of the sequence of accents, and manuscript authority (vid., Torath Emeth, p. 49), not Mehuppach legarme, as in our printed copies, but Dechi (קס×). Jerome's translation: Divinatio in labiis regis, in judicio non errabit os ejus, and yet more Luther's: "œhis mouth fails not in judgment," makes it appear as if the proverb meant that the king, in his official duties, was infallible; and Hitzig (Zöckler agreeing), indeed, finds here expressed the infallibility of the theocratic king, and that as an actual testimony to be believed, not only is a mere political fiction, like the phrase, "œthe king can do no wrong." But while this political fiction is not strange even to the Israelitish law, according to which the king could not be brought before the judgment, that testimony is only a pure imagination. For as little as the N.T. teaches that the Pope, as the legitimate vicarius of Christ, is infallible, cum ex cathedra docet, so little does the O.T. that the theocratic king, who indeed was the legitimate vicarius Dei, was infallible in judicio ferendo. Yet Ewald maintains that the proverb teaches that the word of the king, when on the seat of justice, is an infallible oracle; but it dates from the first bright period of the strong uncorrupted kingdom in Israel. One may not forget, says Dächsel also, with von Gerlach, that these proverbs belong to the time of Solomon, before it had given to the throne sons of David who did evil before the Lord. Then it would fare ill for the truth of the proverb - the course of history would falsify it. But in fact this was never maintained in Israel. Of the idolizing flattering language in which, at the present day, rulers in the East are addressed, not a trace is found in the O.T. The kings were restrained by objective law and the recognised rights of the people. David showed, not merely to those who were about him, but also to the people at large, so many human weaknesses, that he certainly appeared by no means infallible; and Solomon distinguished himself, it is true, by rare kingly wisdom, but when he surrounded himself with the glory of an oriental potentate, and when Rehoboam began to assume the tone of a despot, there arose an unhallowed breach between the theocratic kingdom and the greatest portion of the people. The proverb, as Hitzig translates and expounds it: "œa divine utterance rests on the lips of the king; in giving judgment his mouth deceives not," is both historically and dogmatically impossible. The choice of the word ×§×¡× (from קס×, R. קש ק×, to make fast, to take an oath, to confirm by an oath, incantare, vid., at Isa_3:2), which does not mean prediction (Luther), but speaking the truth, shows that 10a expresses, not what falls from the lips of the king in itself, but according to the judgment of the people: the people are wont to regard the utterances of the king as oracular, as they shouted in the circus at Caesarea of King Agrippa, designating his words as θεοῦ φωνὴ καὶ οὐκ ἀνθÏωÌπων (Act_12:22). Hence 10b supplies an earnest warning to the king, viz., that his mouth should not offend against righteousness, nor withhold it. ×œ× ×™×ž×¢×œ is meant as warning (Umbreit, Bertheau), like ×œ× ×ª×‘×, Pro_22:24, and ב in מעל is here, as always, that of the object; at least this is more probable than that מעל stands without object, which is possible, and that ב designates the situation.

Bishops Translation
Pro 16:10 When the prophecie is in the lippes of the kyng, his mouth shall not go wrong in iudgement.

Geneva Bible
Pro 16:10 A diuine sentence shalbe in the lips of the King: his mouth shall not transgresse in iudgement.

Holman Christian Standard
Pro 16:10 God's verdict is on the lips of a king; his mouth should not err in judgment.

Green's Literal
Pro 16:10 A godly decision is on the lips of the king, his mouth is not treacherous in judgment.


[Edited on 8-18-2005 by puritancovenanter]
 
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