Proverbs 29:4

4 The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he[a] that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.

Proverbs 29:4 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 29:4

The king by judgment establisheth the land
By executing, judgment and justice among his subjects, he establishes the laws of the land, and the government of it; he secures its peace and prosperity, and preserves his people in the possession at their properties and privileges; and makes them rich and powerful, and the state stable and flourishing, so that it continues firm to posterity; such a king was Solomon, ( 2 Chronicles 9:8 ) ; but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it;
that, is, a king that does so; Gersom observes that he is not called a king, because such a man is not worthy of the name, who takes gifts and is bribed by them to pervert judgment and justice; whereby the laws of the nation are violated, and the persons and properties of his subjects become the prey of wicked men; and so the state is subverted and falls to ruin: it is in the original text, "a man of oblations" F11; the word is generally used of the sacred oblations or offerings under the law; hence some understand it of a sacrilegious prince who of his own arbitrary power converts sacred things to civil uses. The Targum, Septuagint, Syriac and Arabic versions render it, a wicked and ungodly man; and the Vulgate Latin version, a covetous man; as such a prince must be in whatsoever light he is seen, whether as a perverter of justice through bribes, or as a sacrilegious man; though it may be rendered, "a man of exactions" F12, for it is used of the oblation of a prince which he receives from his people, ( Ezekiel 45:9 Ezekiel 45:13 ) ; as Aben Ezra observes; and so it may be interpreted of a king that lays heavy taxes upon his people, and thereby brings them to distress and poverty, and the state to ruin.


F11 (twmwrx vya) "vir oblationam", Montanus, Baynus, Grotius, Gejerus, Schultens.
F12 "Vir exactionum", Mercerus; "qui levat exactiones", Munster; "qui tributa imponit", so some in Vatablus; "qui tribbuta extorquet", Tigurine version.

Proverbs 29:4 In-Context

2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
3 Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
4 The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.
5 A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.
6 In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. he...: Heb. a man of oblations
The King James Version is in the public domain.