Politics in Proverbs (selected)

In 2015, while studying the Proverbs on a visit to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I was struck with just how many of them are political in tone. The entire Bible has much to say about politics (Law, Prophets, Writings, Gospels, Acts, Letters, Revelation). Always we are directed to put our faith in the Lord, not in human arrangements, systems, or power.

  • By me [the fear of the Lord ] kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly.  - Proverbs 8:15-16
  • Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.  - Proverbs 11:14
  • In a multitude of people is the glory of a king, but without people a prince is ruined.  - Proverbs 14:2
  • Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.  - Proverbs 14:34
  • It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness.  - Proverbs 16:12 (see 10-13)
  • The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.  - Proverbs 21:3
  • Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.  - Proverbs 22:16
  • Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel; take away the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.  - Proverbs 25:4-5
  • When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.  - Proverbs 28:2
  • When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.  - Proverbs 28:12
  • Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people. A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor, but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.  - Proverbs 28:15-16
  • When the wicked rise, people hide themselves, but when they perish, the righteous increase.  - Proverbs 28:28
  • When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.  - Proverbs 29:2
  • By justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts tears it down.  - Proverbs 29:4
  • If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.  - Proverbs 29:12
  • If a king faithfully judges the poor, his throne will be established forever.  - Proverbs 29:14
  • It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.  - Proverbs 31:4-5