Proverbs 28:2 MEANING

Proverbs 28:2
(2) For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof.--Comp. 1 Kings 15:27, sqq., and indeed the whole history of the kingdom of Israel as compared with the regular succession of the family of David in accordance with the promise of Psalm 89:33.

The state thereof shall be prolonged--i.e., its settled condition. Or it may signify "right" (i.e., authority)" continues."

Verse 2. - For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof. This implies that the wickedness of a nation is punished by frequent changes of rulers, who impose new laws, taxes, and other burdens, which greatly oppress the people; but regarding the antithesis in the second hemistich, we take the meaning to be that when iniquity, injustice, apostasy, and other evils abound, a country becomes the prey of pretenders and partisans striving for the supremacy. The history of the northern kingdom of Israel, especially in the disastrous period succeeding the death of Jeroboam II, affords proof of the truth of the statement (comp. Hosea 8:4). Septuagint, "Owing to the sins of ungodly men, quarrels (κρίσεις, lawsuits) arise." But by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged. "The state" is the stability, the settled condition of the country. The word is כֵן (ken), here a substantive, equivalent to "station," "base." Umbreit, Nowack, and others translate it, "justice," "authority," "order." When a wise and religious man is at the helm of state, justice continues, lives, and works; such a man introduces an clement of enduring good into a land (comp. Proverbs 21:22; Ecclesiastes 9:15). The good kings Ass, Jehoshaphat, Uzziah, and Hezekiah had long and prosperous reigns. Septuagint, "But a clever man (πανοῦργος) will quench them (quarrels)."

28:1 Sin makes men cowards. Whatever difficulties the righteous meet in the way of duty, they are not daunted. 2. National sins disturb the public repose. 3. If needy persons get opportunities of oppressing, their extortion will be more severe than that of the more wealthy. 4. Wicked people strengthen one another in wicked ways. 5. If a man seeks the Lord, it is a good sign that he understands much, and it is a good means of understanding more. 6. An honest, godly, poor man, is better than a wicked, ungodly, rich man; has more comfort in himself, and is a greater blessing to the world. 7. Companions of riotous men not only grieve their parents, but shame them. 8. That which is ill got, though it may increase much, will not last long. Thus the poor are repaid, and God is glorified. 9. The sinner at whose prayers God is angry, is one who obstinately refuses to obey God's commands. 10. The success of ungodly men is their own misery. 11. Rich men are so flattered, that they think themselves superior to others. 12. There is glory in the land when the righteous have liberty. 13. It is folly to indulge sin, and excuse it. He who covers his sins, shall not have any true peace. He who humbly confesses his sins, with true repentance and faith, shall find mercy from God. The Son of God is our great atonement. Under a deep sense of our guilt and danger, we may claim salvation from that mercy which reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. 14. There is a fear which causes happiness. Faith and love will deliver from the fear of eternal misery; but we should always fear offending God, and fear sinning against him. 15. A wicked ruler, whatever we may call him, this scripture calls a roaring lion, and a ranging bear. 16. Oppressors want understanding; they do not consult their own honour, ease, and safety. 17. The murderer shall be haunted with terrors. None shall desire to save him from deserved punishment, nor pity him.For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof,.... Either together; that is, reigning princes, such as lay claim to the crown, and usurp it; otherwise it is a happiness to a nation to have many princes of the blood, to inherit in succession, to support the crown in their family, and defend a nation, and study the good of it; but it is a judgment to a nation when many rise up as competitors for rule, or do rule, as at Athens, where thirty tyrants sprung up at once; by which factions and parties are made, and which issue in oppression, rapine, and murder: or successively, very quickly, one after another, being dethroned the one by the other: or removed by death, as in the land of Israel, in the times of the judges, and of the kings of Israel and Judah, after the revolt of the ten tribes; which frequent changes produce different administrations, new laws, and fresh taxes, disagreeable to the people; and oftentimes children come to be their princes, which is always reckoned an infelicity to a nation; see Ecclesiastes 10:16; and all this is usually for some national sin or sins indulged to, which draw upon a people the divine resentment, and provoke God to suffer such changes among there;

but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged, either by a set of wise and understanding, good and virtuous men, who will oppose the growing vice and immoralities of a people, and form themselves into societies for the reformation of manners; the word "man" being taken collectively for a body of men: or by a wise and prudent minister or ministry, or a set of civil magistrates, who will show themselves to be terrors to evildoers, and a praise to them that do well: or by a wise and prudent prince, who seeks to establish his throne by judgment and mercy; who will take care that justice and judgment be executed in the land, and that vice and profaneness be discouraged; by means of such, the state of a kingdom, which seemed near to ruin, will be prolonged, and the happiness and prosperity of it secured and established; and God, in mercy to it, may long preserve the life of their king, will being a good one, a long reign is always a happiness to a nation. And to this sense is the Vulgate Latin version, "the life of the prince shall be longer"; and the Targum, which is,

"and the sons of men that understand knowledge shall endure;''

see Ecclesiastes 9:15.

Courtesy of Open Bible