Proverbs 28:16

16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor; but one who hates unjust gain will enjoy a long life.

Proverbs 28:16 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 28:16

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.

Proverbs 28:16 In-Context

14 Happy is the one who is never without fear, but one who is hard-hearted will fall into calamity.
15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people.
16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor; but one who hates unjust gain will enjoy a long life.
17 If someone is burdened with the blood of another, let that killer be a fugitive until death; let no one offer assistance.
18 One who walks in integrity will be safe, but whoever follows crooked ways will fall into the Pit.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.