Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 20:28

Loyalty and truth preserve the king, And he upholds his throne by righteousness.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Mercy;   Rulers;   Truth;   Thompson Chain Reference - Duty;   King;   Kings, Duties of;   Magistrates;   Nation, the;   Ruler's Duty;   Rulers;   The Topic Concordance - Government;   Mercy;   Preservation;   Truth;   Upholdment;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Mercy;   Truth;  
Dictionaries:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Pardon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Proverbs, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Truth;  
Encyclopedias:
The Jewish Encyclopedia - Compassion;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Mercy and truth preserve the king - These are the brightest jewels in the royal crown; and those kings who are most governed by them have the stablest government.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-20.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"Kindness and truth preserve the king; And his throne is upholden by kindness."

True as this proverb is, the quality of kindness was seldom found in the Oriental monarchs of ancient times, not even in Israel. "A king's guards are loyalty and good faith; his throne is upheld by righteousness."[33] "Loyalty (that is, loyalty to the sacred covenant) and faithfulness are here marks of the ideal king,"[34] and are not intended as a description of the kings that the ancient world often endured.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-20.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Mercy and truth preserve the king,.... Which are two good qualifications in a prince; not ruling his subjects with rigour and cruelty, but with tenderness and clemency; easing them as much as he can of burdens and pressures; showing compassion to the distressed, and pardoning delinquents when the case will admit of it; as also being faithful to his word, promises, and engagements; inviolably adhering to the laws and constitution of the nation, and steady in his administrations of justice; these preserve him in the affections of his people, and make him safe and secure on his throne; and because of these the Lord preserves him from his enemies. It maybe rendered, "grace and truth"F12חסד ואמת "gratis et veritas", Cocceius. ; and applied to Christ, who is full of both, and which are said to preserve him, Psalm 40:11;

and his throne is upholden by mercy; this explains what is meant by the preservation of him, and what is the security of his throne and kingdom, which is clemency and goodness to his subjects.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-20.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

(Compare Proverbs 3:3; Proverbs 16:6, Proverbs 16:12).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-20.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

28 Love and truth guard the king;

And he supports his throne by love.

We have not in the German [nor in the Eng.] language a couple of words that completely cover חסד ואמת ; when they are used of God, we translate them by grace and truth [ Gnade u. Wahrheit ], Psalms 40:12 ( יצּרוּני ); when of men, by love and truth [ Liebe u. Treue ], Proverbs 16:6; and when of the two-sided divine forces, by kindness and truth, Proverbs 3:3. Love and truth are the two good spirits that guard the king. If it is elsewhere said that the king's throne is supported “with judgment and with justice,” Isaiah 9:6 [7]; here, on the other side, we see that the exercise of government must have love as its centre; he has not only to act on the line of right, שׁוּרת הדּין ; but, as the later proverb says, in such a way, that within this circle his conduct is determined by the central motive of love. In this sense we give the king not only the title of Grossmächtigster [most high and mighty], but also that of “ Allergnädigster ” most gracious, for the king can and ought to exercise grace before other men; the virtue of condescension establishes his throne more than the might of greatness.

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The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-20.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Here we have, 1. The virtues of a good king. Those are mercy and truth, especially mercy, for that is mentioned twice here. He must be strictly faithful to his word, must be sincere, and abhor all dissimulation, must religiously discharge all the trusts reposed in him, must support and countenance truth. He must likewise rule with clemency, and by all acts of compassion gain the affections of his people. Mercy and truth are the glories of God's throne, and kings are called gods. 2. The advantages he gains thereby. These virtues will preserve his person and support his government, will make him easy and safe, beloved by his own people and feared by his enemies, if it be possible that he should have any.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-20.html. 1706.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 20:28 Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.

Ver. 28. Mercy and truth preserve the king.] These are the best guard of his body, and supporters of his throne. Mildness and righteousness, lenity and fidelity, do more safe guard a prince than munitions of rocks, or any warlike preparations, amidst which Henry IV of France perished, when Queen Elizabeth of England lived and died with glory. That French king, being persuaded by the Duke of Sully not to readmit the Jesuits, answered, Give me then security for my life. But he was shortly after stabbed to death by their instigation. When our queen, that stuck fast to her principles, was not more loved of her friends than feared of foes, being protected by God beyond expectation. Our King John thought to strengthen himself by gathering money, the sinews of war; but meanwhile he lost his people’s affections, those joints of peace, and came, after endless turmoils, to an unhappy end. So did our late sovereign of bleeding memory.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-20.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 28. Mercy and truth preserve the king, they are the attributes or virtues which make his reign successful, and his throne is upholden by mercy, by gracious kindness and favor.

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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-20.html. 1921-23.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Mercy; clemency to offenders, and bounty to worthy and to indigent persons; and truth; faithfulness in keeping his word and promises inviolably; preserve the king, because they engage God to guard him, and gain him the reverence and affections of his people, which is a king’s greatest safety and happiness.

Mercy is again mentioned, to show that although it be an act of grace, and therefore in some sort free, yet princes are obliged to it, both by their duty and by their interest, because it is a singular means of their preservation.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-20.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

28.Mercy and truth — Or, goodwill and truth: truth, goodwill, and kindness towards his subjects — truth and faithfulness in all his dealings with them — will secure the approbation and admiration of the people, and make the throne secure. Compare Psalms 25:21; Psalms 101:1; Proverbs 29:14.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-20.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 20:28. Mercy — Clemency to offenders, and bounty to worthy indigent persons; and truth — Faithfulness in keeping his word and promises inviolably; preserve the king — Because they engage God to guard him, and gain him the reverence and affections of his people, which is, under God, a king’s greatest safety and happiness. And his throne is upheld by mercy — Which is again mentioned, to show that although to exercise mercy be an act of grace, and therefore, in some sort, free, yet princes are obliged to it both by their duty and by their interest, because it is a singular means of their preservation.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-20.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Clemency. Such a king need not fear rebellion. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Mercy = lovingkindness, grace, or favour.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.

Mercy (toward the miserable and needy) and truth (in fulfilling his word) preserve the king.} Truth is not to be sacrificed to mercy, but both to be combined in harmony. As he himself needs the mercy of God, so must he show mercy toward others.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-20.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(28) Mercy and truth preserve the king.—See above on Proverbs 3:3. The love and faithfulness he shows to his subjects draw out the same qualities in them, and these are the safeguard of his throne. So (Psalms 130:4) the mercy shown by God inspires man with a reverent fear of Him, while harshness might have made him a slave, or driven him through despair into rebellion. (Comp. Jeremiah 33:9.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.
Mercy
16:6; Psalms 61:7; 101:1
his
16:12; 29:14; Psalms 21:7; 26:1; Isaiah 16:5
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 20:31 - merciful kings;  Proverbs 3:3 - mercy;  Proverbs 25:5 - his;  Jeremiah 22:15 - and do

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-20.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL NOTES.—

Pro . The wheel, i.e., the wheel of the threshing, instrument which blows away the chaff.

MAIN HOMILETICS OF Pro ; Pro 20:28

PILLARS OF GOVERNMENT

I. A human ruler will have rebellious subjects in his kingdom. This will be the case however wise the laws, and with whatever care and discrimination they are administered. In the most cultivated and carefully kept ground some weeds are always found among the flowers—some tares among the wheat; and since the King who can do no wrong numbers among his subjects those who are lawless and disobedient, the best and wisest of human rulers must expect to do the same.

II. It is the duty and wisdom of a human ruler to make a distinction between his good and bad subjects, and to punish the latter. Even if the wheel mentioned in the proverb be regarded as simply an instrument of separation, as the threshing instrument separates the chaff from the wheat, the idea of punishment is retained. In a well-governed kingdom the laws which govern it are such a separating power between the evil and the good, so far as external conduct is concerned, and it is indispensable for the stability of peace and order that they should be strictly enforced. It would be most unjust, as well as unwise—it would be tempting men to transgression—if the lawless citizens in a community were allowed to go unpunished; and it is contrary to our innate sense of justice that in any kingdom "the righteous should be as the wicked" (Gen )—that the thief should have all the privileges of an honest man, and the murderer the liberty of an innocent person. The punishment of transgressors not only defends the good man, but it may prevent the bad man from increasing his guilt by adding crime to crime. The king of Solomon's proverbs is a typical word for all who are called upon to rule, whether in the family or the State, and the very word ruler, or governor, implies a discrimination between the evil and the good and a difference in their treatment.

III. The preservation of the throne depends more upon moral than upon physical power. We take the word throne in its widest sense as signifying any place or position which raises one man to be in any sense the ruler of another, from the throne of the father in his family and the master among his servants to that of the king amidst his subjects. In each and every one of these kingdoms, although external and physical coercion and punishment are sometimes indispensable, yet there is no permanent stability unless there is mercy and truth in the ruler, and unless it is manifest in his government. Many a throne has been erected on other foundations,—physical strength has established many kingdoms, and material wealth has set many men upon thrones. But if they have raised a superstructure its foundation has been in the sand, and when the rain and wind of adversity have descended upon it it has fallen, and great has been the fall of it. There must be some truth and mercy—some righteousness and justice, and withal some exercise of grace towards the wrongdoer—if the throne or the kingdom is to be upholden, and the wisdom of the ruler will be shown in his so mingling sternness with severity as to make both contribute to the one end. Truth must here be taken as synonymous with righteousness—as that observance of the just claims of every man which he has a right to expect and demand from those who rule him. This will include that punishment of the lawless which is the subject of Pro, but it is here implied that even punishment is to be tempered with mercy. Pity for the offender ought always to be mingled with indignation at the offence, and if any ruler desires to sit firmly upon his seat of justice he must consider not only the greatness of the crime but the strength of the temptation—not how severely he can punish the criminal but whether he can reform him. And this is rarely if ever done by the exercise of justice merely. The frost and cold are necessary to kill the weeds and vermin and to break up the soil, but there will never be flowers or fruit without summer rain and sunshine. And mercy is that "gentle rain from heaven" without which no sinful creature will ever bring forth fruits of righteousness.

ILLUSTRATION

The necessity of mingling mercy with justice is strikingly exemplified in the great success which attended the efforts of the late Captain Maconochie to benefit the convicts in our penal settlement in Norfolk Island. Having, in his capacity as Secretary to the Governor of Tasmania, seen most terrible and hardening effects from unmixed severity, he desired earnestly to try what could be done by combining mercy with discipline and punishment. For this purpose he was placed in command of Norfolk Island, and remained there four years, having under his care from 1500 to 2000 doubly-convicted prisoners, i.e., convicts who, after being transported from England to New South Wales, had been for other crimes again transported to Norfolk Island. Previous to his arrival they worked in chains, and it was considered dangerous for even armed officers to approach within three yards of them. It was considered unsafe to trust them with knives, and they therefore tore their food with their hands and teeth. They were accustomed to inflict dreadful injuries upon themselves in order to evade labour, and were described at the time as a demoniacal assemblage. But under more humane treatment the entire colony became changed, and one of his colleagues testifies that he and another superintendent "resided at one of the settlements in a cottage without lock and key, with simply a latch to the door, and close to the convict barracks, where over 2000 were lodged every night, also without locks." "Not a single serious offence," says he, "was ever committed in that time by any of those men, and the only bodyguard was another free superintendent and myself, together with a few trustworthy men selected from among themselves." This gentleman (Mr. J. Simms, since Governor of Plymouth Prison) goes on to say, "I shall ever remember this year as the most remarkable of all my prison experience, because it.… was a fair result of what might be realised from any body of men generally, thus treated, not by force, iron force, but by moral means." One remarkable example is given. At Sydney there had been a most desperate and unmanageable convict, named Anderson. He was flogged time after time for various offences, but to no good effect. He became more outrageous than ever. At last, the authorities, in despair, put him on a little island in Sydney Harbour, where he was kept chained to a rock, and in the hollow of which rock he slept. After some weeks the Governor went to see him, and urged him to submit to authority, but he refused. He was then sent for life to Port Macquarie Convict Station, where he was again and again flogged. He made his escape, and lived among the natives for some time, but, ultimately, being recaptured, he was sent to Norfolk Island for the crime of murder. Under Maconochie's humane treatment he became a changed man, and when the Governor of New South Wales visited the settlement he particularly noticed Anderson, and inquired, "What smart fellow may that be?" (See Leisure Hour for October, 1878.)

OUTLINES AND SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS

All dynasties have been kind. If they are cruel now, it must be like the weight of a clock, running down. There was kindness. "Mercy and truth" must at some time or other have builded the "throne."—Miller.

Godly Asa removed wickedness from the high place nearest his own throne and heart. Amaziah justly punished it with death. Nehemiah—that true reformer—rebuked it even in the family of the high priest. Our own Alfred appeared to maintain this standard as a witness for God in an age of darkness. But it is the King of kings alone that can make this separation complete. Often does He sift His Church by trial, for her greater purity and complete preservation (Amo ). But what will it be, when He shall come "with His fan in His hand, and shall thoroughly purge His floor?" (Mat 3:12). What a scattering of chaff will there be! Not an atom will go into the garner. Not a grain of wheat will be cast away. O my soul! what wilt thou be found at this great sifting day! "Who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth?" (Mal 3:2).—Bridges.

There goes more to preserve a king than to preserve a kingdom; and though the preservation of a kingdom be a weighty matter, yet the preservation of a king is much more weighty—though much care and pains be required for the one, much more is required for the other. Half of that will serve for the one which is needful for the other. Mercy will support the throne, but mercy and truth must preserve the king.—Jermin.

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/proverbs-20.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

В этом стихе представлены

(1) добродетели доброго царя. Это милость и истина, особенно милость, ибо здесь она упоминается дважды. Царь должен быть верен своему слову, быть искренним, гнушаться лицемерия, должен благоговейно исполнять возложенные на него обязанности, поддерживать и приветствовать истину. Он должен править с милосердием и своими действиями сострадания приобретать любовь своего народа. Милость и истина составляют славу Божьего престола, и цари названы богами.

(2) Преимущества, приобретаемые подобным поведением. Эти добродетели будут хранить его личность и поддерживать его правление, сделают его спокойным и невредимым; и если он будет обладать хоть одной из них, народ будет любить его, а враги – бояться.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
>
>on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-20.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Mercy and truth are the glories of God's throne.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 20:28". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
>
>on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-20.html. 1706.