A Throne Established in Righteousness
1. Verses four and five constitute one proverbial thought.
2. Solomon takes up a theme that was important to him as a king who sat on the throne of Israel.
3. This theme of a throne being established in righteousness is also found elsewhere in his writings.
4. Solomon observed the process of refining silver and applied a lesson from it to the royal throne.
The Illustration (Vs. 4)
1. “Take away the dross from the silver.”
a. Silver was a metal mined in the earth.
b. Miners would discover a vein of precious metal as they dug in the earth.
c. However, the veins of metal were often speckled with pieces of worthless rock and dirt. The veins of silver were not perfectly pure.
d. Thus, a process of refining was required to purify the silver and remove the worthless dirt, stone, and other objects.
e. The metals were melted in a refining pot (Prov. 27:21).
f. As the metal was melted, the impurities (dross; slag) would float to the surface and would be scrapped off.
g. This would leave the refining pot full of pure silver to be used for coins, jewelry or other items.
h. Thus, the idea of taking away the dross spoke of removing impurity.
2. “And there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.”
a. Finer: The finer was a “refiner,” or the silversmith.
• This was the man who refined the metal by melting it and removing the dross.
• This was the man responsible for making sure the metal was pure.
• The refining process also included the idea of testing or proving the metal to make sure that it was pure and up to standards.
• The refiner (finer) was also the man who would then mold that metal into a valuable object.
b. Before the impurities were removed the silver was not fit for making fine vessels.
c. But once the metal had been refined it WAS fit for use in fine vessels.
d. Pure silver would be valuable and serviceable.
e. It would be made into vessels which would be beautiful, practical, and valuable. They would be highly prized.
3. This was a common illustration in later writings of the Old Testament.
a. Mal. 3:2-3 – This term is used metaphorically of Christ at His coming.
• When He comes, He will put the men of Israel to the test to demonstrate if they are silver or dross.
• The dross will be removed leaving only the pure to enter the Kingdom.
• Christ as King of Kings will remove the impurities before establishing His throne in the Kingdom.
b. Ezek. 22:17-22 – This was a common illustration of God’s judgment against Israel. This judgment spoke of the judgment of Babylonian invasion and destruction of Jerusalem. Jerusalem would be like a furnace of fire.
The Application (vs .5)
1. “Take away the wicked before the king…”
a. Solomon applies the lesson of the refiner’s pot to the royal throne.
b. Wicked people who surround the king and his court are like impurity or dross that defiles pure silver.
c. Thus, the wicked people are like the dross; and the king is like pure silver.
d. With silver ore, the dross needs to be removed; so too do wicked people need to be removed from the king and his court.
e. The “wicked” refers to criminals; crooks; dishonest men.
• They have a defiling effect on the king’s throne.
• This has always been the case. A king (or prime minister or president) will always have a flurry of dishonest men fluttering around them like flies.
• Evil men will seek to befriend the king for personal gain.
• Evil men will seek the king for personal favors.
• They will seek for ways to enrich themselves, often dishonestly.
• When a man has as much power as a king or president, there will always be swarms of men around him with their hands out.
• This was true in Solomon’s day and it has been true throughout the history of this country too.
• Corruption and power always seem to go together and it is hard to separate them at times.
• And this is true regardless of the political party. It is human nature.
f. The point of the illustration is that this kind of corruption needs to be REMOVED… like dross from silver.
• Solomon’s point is that a wise king will seek to remove all corruption. It must not be tolerated. It will destroy his reign and his throne—and perhaps the country!
• Consider I Kings 2.
» Here is the record of David’s last words to Solomon.
» David commanded Solomon (as he took over the throne) to PURGE OUT some evil men and criminals.
» Vs. 5-6 – David tells his son to remove Joab for his evil.
» vs. 8 – David told Solomon to deal with Shimei for the evil he did.
» Vs. 23-25 – Solomon had to put Adonijah to death too for his rebellion.
» Vs. 27 – Solomon had to thrust out the evil priest Abiathar too.
» Solomon had to purge out the evil men who had become attached to the throne.
» Vs. 12 – As a result, Solomon’s throne was ESTABLISHED greatly.
• Prov. 20:8, 26 – Solomon mentioned this fact twice already in this book.
• The government of our neighbor to the south (Mexico) is riddled with corruption, and it is destroying the country.
• It was tolerated and tolerated, and now it seems to have taken over.
• The drug cartel pays the corrupt police to do their bidding for them.
• We read similar things about the government in Afghanistan and their connection to the drug trade there.
• Power and corruption is part of life in a sin cursed earth.
• And don’t think that our government is exempt!
• But wise leaders will not tolerate it. It will be removed.
• And it can be a difficult process to remove it – melting metal in a furnace of fire.
g. But the end product is worth it! That’s his point… which leads to the next expression in the proverb.
2. “His throne shall be established in righteousness.”
a. Prov. 16:12 – This fact was mentioned earlier too.
b. When the dross is removed from the silver, it was fit for use in fine vessels.
c. It would be made into vessels which would be beautiful, practical, and valuable, and thus, highly prized.
d. So too when the wicked are removed from the king and his royal court, the kings THRONE shall be established in righteousness.
• It shall be beautiful, practice, useful, valuable, and highly prized!
e. An established throne.
• Established: Made firm; stable; steadfast; strong; fully formed; built up; firmly set in place; authenticated as valid.
f. Solomon’s point is that when corruption is removed, the king’s throne is established: Firmly set in place; stable; firm; unmovable!
g. What a contrast to the thinking of most politicians today.
• We seem to have the idea that if a president wants to establish his administration, he needs to build up political power by trampling over the other party, by bullying, and asserting himself
• Solomon states that an administration is made strong through moral purity.
• If evil men and their corrupt ways are removed, then the king’s throne WILL be established.
• It will have authenticated itself as valid. Thus the people will trust the king and want him to succeed. He will have the full support of his people if he has the TRUST of the people.
• When the people see corruption, they begin to distrust their leader and he loses their support.
• When a leader loses the support of his people, then his throne is not established. It is weakened!
• People will not stand behind, sacrifice for, or risk their lives to protect a throne that they do not trust.
• Nobody likes being lied to or cheated. But when the people trust their leaders, they will “establish their throne.”
h. Psalm 101:1-8 – David, Solomon’s father knew this truth.
• He wrote this psalm as the king. His “house” was the royal palace, referring to his royal court.
» vs. 2 – David determined (as king) to behave himself wisely as king and to maintain a right heart attitude. The king had to LEAD the way in maintaining a morally pure administration.
» Vs. 3, 7 – He determined to set no wicked thing (men) before him. He HATES corrupt men and corrupt ways. He would not allow them to “cleave” to him as corrupt men seek to do with powerful men.
» Vs. 4-5 – As king, he would not tolerate wicked men with froward or evil hearts. King David said such wicked men would “depart from me” and he would be “cut off.” King David would remove the dross.
» Some of this evidently rubbed off on his son Solomon.
i. A throne that has been cleansed of corruption is like a fine vessel: beautiful, practical, valuable, and highly prized! It will be strong and stable too.
j. When the leadership of a nation is free of corruption, it is established in RIGHTEOUSNESS… and the whole country benefits from it.
• Proverbs 14:34a – “Righteousness exalteth a nation.” It strengthens it too. Tolerating corruption abases a nation and makes it weak.
k. This principle applies to other areas of life as well.
• This is true of a business too. If the customer base thinks the company is cheating them or being dishonest, they will not support the company or buy their products.
• This is true of a local church too. People are very forgiving with honest mistakes, but if they detect dishonesty in the leadership, it will not be tolerated. The church will not be established and strengthened, but weakened.
• This is applicable to us as individuals too. If people discover that you are dishonest, or that you cheat, or lie, or gossip behind their backs, or if your word cannot be trusted, your relationships will not be strong, firm, and established. They will be weak, fall apart, and you will lose friends daily.
• Righteousness (honesty; purity; decency) establishes the throne—but it also has a strengthening effect in our personal lives and in our relationships with each other.