The prince that wanteth understanding [is] also a great
Or, "much in oppressions" F15; he multiplies them, and abounds in them; he distresses his subjects in a variety of ways and methods he uses to extort money from them by which he shows his want of understanding: he is a wise prince that uses gentle methods, and gains the affections of his people, and who cheerfully supports his crown and government with honour and glory; but he is a foolish prince that uses them with rigour. It may be rendered, "and a prince that wanteth understanding, and is much", or "abounds, in oppressions"; in laying heavy burdens and taxes on his people, in an arbitrary manner; "shall shorten, and not prolong his days" F16, as it may be supplied from the next clause; either his subjects will rise up against him, and dethrone him, and destroy him; or God, in mercy to them, and in judgment to him, will remove him by death; [but] he that hateth covetousness shall prolong [his] days;
to hate covetousness is a good qualification of a civil magistrate, prince, or ruler, ( Exodus 18:21 ) . This sin is the cause of a wicked prince oppressing his subjects; but where it is hated, which is seen by moderation in government, and easing of the people as much as possible; such a prince, as he has the hearts of his subjects, is well pleasing to God, by whom he reigns; and such an one, through the prayers of the people for him, and the goodness of God unto him, lives long, and reigns prosperously; and dies, as David, in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour.
F15 (twqvem br) "multus oppressionibus", Montanus, Junius & Tremeilius, Piscator, Mercerus, Baynus, Michaelis, Schultens.
F16 So Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus, and some Jewish writers in Vatablus.