Ecclesiastes 8:2

Obey the King

2 Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God.

Ecclesiastes 8:2 in Other Translations

2 I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.
2 I say: Keep the king's command, because of God's oath to him.
2 Obey the king since you vowed to God that you would.
2 Do what your king commands; you gave a sacred oath of obedience.
2 Keep the king's command. Concerning an oath by God,

Ecclesiastes 8:2 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 8:2

I [counsel thee] to keep the king's commandment
Or, "to observe the mouth of the king" F23; what he says, and do according to it when it is agreeably to the law of God, and according to the laws of the kingdom, by which he is to govern; for kings are to be honoured, obeyed, and submitted to, in the lawful discharge of their office: and such counsel and advice as this is wholesome; and, being taken, contributes much, as to the honour of kings, so to the good of kingdoms and states, and to a man's own peace and comfort. Aben Ezra supplies it,

``I command thee, or I admonish thee;''
for it may be either a charge, or art advice, respecting this and what follows. Jarchi supplies and paraphrases it thus,
``I have need, and am prepared, to observe the mouth (or keep the commandment) of the King of the world;''
and so Alshech,
``observe that which goes out of the mouth of the King of the world.''
And indeed, to understand it, not of an earthly king, but of the King of kings, as it is understood by other interpreters also, suits better with what is said of this King in the following verses; whose commandments, which are not grievous, but to be loved above fine gold, should be kept from a principle of love, without mercenary and selfish views, as they are delivered out by him, and to his glory; and such a charge as this should be attended to, and such counsel be received; and [that] in regard of the oath of God;
who has swore, that if his children forsake his law, and walk not in his statutes, he will visit their transgressions with a rod, and their iniquities with stripes; and therefore should be careful to keep his commandments, ( Psalms 89:30-35 ) . Those who interpret this of an earthly king, by the oath of God understand the oath of allegiance and fidelity to him, taken in the name and presence of God, and therefore for conscience's sake should obey him: or render it, "but [so that thou observest] the manner of the oath of God" F24; or takest care to obey him; or do nothing in obedience to kings, which is contrary to the will of God; for God is to be obeyed rather than men, ( Acts 4:19 ) ( 5:29 ) ; especially, and above all things, that is to be regarded.

F23 (rmv Klm yp) "os regis observes", Tigurine version, Pagninus, Mercerus; "observa", Montanus, Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus, Rambachius.
F24 (Myhla tewbv trbd lew) "sed, ita quod ad Deum attinent, observes rationem juramenti Dei", Varenius; "attamen, supra serve verbum juramenti Dei", Gussetius, p. 605.

Ecclesiastes 8:2 In-Context

1 Who is like the wise? Who knows the explanation of things? A person’s wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance.
2 Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God.
3 Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases.
4 Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?”
5 Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.
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