Proverbs 16:10

10 The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth does not betray justice.

Read Proverbs 16:10 Using Other Translations

A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.
An oracle is on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment.
The king speaks with divine wisdom; he must never judge unfairly.

What does Proverbs 16:10 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Proverbs 16:10

A divine sentence [is] in the lips of the king
Or "divination" F6, as the word signifies; or what is like to divination, as Aben Ezra and Gersom interpret it F7. What be says is as an oracle, and should be strictly true. Some understand it of the sagacity and penetration of kings, as was in Solomon, and appeared in his judging the two harlots; but such is not to be found in kings in common: rather therefore this expresses and designs what should be, and not what is, in kings. These, as the kings of Israel, ought to have the book of God before them, and read in it, and judge and pronounce sentence in every case according to it; they should speak as the oracles of God; and, when they do, a divine sentence may be said to be in their lips. But it is best to understand this of the King of kings, of the King Messiah; into whose lips grace is poured, and from whence none but words of wisdom, grace, and truth, flow; who taught the way of God in truth; who had the word of God in his heart and in his month continually; and on whom the Spirit of wisdom without measure dwelt; and is the wisdom and word of God, as well as the power of God; his mouth transgresseth not in judgment;
this cannot be said of any earthly king; they ought not indeed to transgress in judgment with their mouths, but it is notorious that they too often do: could this be applied to kings in common, they would have a better claim to infallibility than the pope of Rome has. But this is true of Christ, the King of saints; who is a King that reigns in righteousness, and decrees judgment; sits upon his throne, to order and establish it with judgment: nor does his mouth ever transgress in judgment, or ever say, or he do, a wrong thing; his sceptre is a sceptre of righteousness.


F6 (Moq) "divinatio", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis, Schultens.
F7 So Vatablus, Mercerus, Piscator.
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