Proverbs 16:12

It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.


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Political power is best served by righteousness. Here is inspired wisdom in political science. Authority and leadership should be initiated and maintained by righteousness. The ruler that does what is right will earn the surest and longest respect of his citizens.

The fame, fortune, and future of a civil government depend on righteousness. God ordained governmental authority over nations, and He gave inspired instructions about it through a wise and prosperous king (Pr 1:1; Eccl 1:1,12-18; Rom 13:1-7; I Pet 2:13-17).

Bible political science gives rules for ideal government – one rule is leaders must hate sin (Pr 16:10,12). Ruling power and respected authority are confirmed and strengthened by always doing what is right, regardless of whether it is convenient, cheap, or popular.

A king, or any ruler, must be righteous to be worthy of his office and able to discharge his duties rightly (Ex 18:21; II Chr 19:5-10). The people of a nation will submit to and support a ruler that earns their respect by righteousness. And they will pay his taxes!

But they will eventually reject a wicked ruler. Solomon told his son about the virtuous character that rulers must have to preserve their authority and office. He knew that political offices were only as sure as the approval of God and confidence of the people.

The proverb is not descriptive, for most civil rulers are not righteous. Solomon did not observe that most kings were virtuous. The proverb is preceptive or normative, setting the ideal standard for a great government (Pr 20:28; 25:5; 29:4,14). Solomon did know that the legitimacy and duration of authority depended to a great degree on godly character.

When elections occur, those not dependent on entitlements or addicted to handouts and able to see and think without a television will remove a wicked ruler from office, for his corruption, deception, incompetence, or slothfulness in office frighten and worry them.

A faithful and noble ruler, acting justly and wisely for the interests of his people, will be admired and loved. His throne, or his office and its authority, will be secure due to the loyalty and respect his citizens have for him. An election confirms or increases his rule.

A righteous leader in any office is glorious. His subjects cheerfully obey his decisions, because they trust him. They are thankful to have authority used for good and profitable ends, not personal gain or a political agenda. They will defend, support, and obey him.

Beyond citizens confirming his rule, a faithful and noble ruler also has God defending his rule. God raises up rulers, and He puts them down (Ps 75:7; Dan 2:21; 4:17). If God does not preserve a government, it will not endure. He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

The God of heaven, Who is highest over all earthly authority, has great concern and regard about the conduct of rulers (Eccl 5:8; Jas 3:1). He will bless a righteous ruler with wisdom and protection, but He will overthrow a wicked ruler, and He can do it easily.

Solomon and Rehoboam violated this proverb and were not established. Solomon had 1000 wives, lived extravagantly, and heavily taxed the nation. When Israel asked his son Rehoboam for relief, he ridiculed their concern, which cost him 85% of the kingdom. His throne was not established, because he did not hate wickedness as he should have.

Though the world at large today cares little for righteousness, the context of Israel and the general principle of wisdom here still apply. Honesty is the best policy, and righteousness is the best politics. Civil governments that do what is right will be strong and last long.

The proverb applies to all authority. A husband, father, employer, or pastor will keep the functional authority of his office as long as he is righteous. Every leader should humble himself before this inspired rule, for the effectiveness and length of his authority and influence depend on how much he hates sin, especially his own (I Cor 9:27; I Tim 4:16).

The only perfect ruler is Jesus Christ, the Son of David. On his deathbed, David, one of God’s favorites, described this coming righteous Ruler and the wicked imposters that opposed them both. In this great promise of a perfect King was all David’s trust. Jesus the perfect King has come, and it is your solemn duty and privilege to believe on Him.

Do you know this King? It is an abomination to Him to commit wickedness, for He loves righteousness and hates sin (Ps 45:7; Heb 1:9). He is not like any ruler you have read about or imagined. His throne has been set for 2000 years now, and it shall never be diminished – He is King and Lord of the universe forever (Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:30-33).