Faithfully Judging the Poor
1. In this proverb, Solomon (as a king) speaks of the quality that strengthens a king’s throne.
2. It’s not a huge military; it’s not a thriving economy; it’s not promises of free ice cream and goodies for all.
3. That which really establishes a king’s throne might be a bit surprising.
1. That quality that establishes his throne is “faithfully judging the poor.”
2. What does it mean to “faithfully judge the poor?”
a. Solomon is not thinking of a Robin Hood mentality – robbing the rich to give to the poor.
b. He is not thinking of the distinctions between capitalism and socialism.
c. His purpose (though it may sound so) is NOT political. Nor is it an economic issue… or even a social issue.
d. It is a moral and a spiritual matter that he describes.
e. It has to do with the character of the king.
f. This proverb tells us what kind of a king (what characteristics he possesses) that results in the establishment of his throne.
3. It is the kind of a king who “faithfully judges” the poor.
• To pronounce a judgment or a sentence; to give a law; to decide a controversy—civil, religious, political, or social; to govern; to rule; to execute justice.
• This term (though often translated “judge”) is more inclusive than that.
• It seems to include all functions of a modern government – executive, legislative, and judicial.
• Often a king had virtually unlimited power and functioned as head over all of these functions of government.
• By using this term, Solomon is speaking about the king’s role as head of the government.
1. It includes the judicial decisions he makes as a Judge.
2. It includes the laws he instates as the head of the legislature.
3. It also includes his role as executive of the land… and what people are hearing from the bully pulpit (throne).
• This term also has many shades of meaning.
• It can mean firm, true, trustworthy, steady, reliable, faithful.
• It can also imply honesty, integrity, righteousness, right, truth telling.
• It can be used of people who fulfill their obligation and duties. (Prov. 25:13 – a faithful messenger – one you can count on to do his job)
• It can imply a quality of being faithful to God and in carrying out God’s will (I Sam. 2:35)
c. Faithfully judging the poor
• This expression speaks of a king who is fair, honest, faithful, reliable, trustworthy, and one who does what is right in dealing with the poor.
• The poor have to rely on the king to make laws that are fair towards them—and not ones that trample over them.
• The poor have to rely upon the king to make decisions in a legal setting that are just and fair in their cases.
• The poor have to rely on the king to publically speak about them in such a way that does not turn the public against them.
• Thus, it was essential that the king have the right kind of character – an honest man of integrity; one who is fair and just; one who is not greedy and heartless with respect to the poor.
4. Prov. 29:7 – The righteous (person; king) considers the cause of the poor.
a. Solomon is speaking of a quality – a moral characteristic of men that is beneficial to the poor.
• In this proverb, it is righteousness… justice…
• If a man has this quality, then he WILL consider the cause of the poor. They won’t be ignored as being insignificant and unworthy of attention.
b. As we noted earlier in studying vs. 7:
• A righteous man will be concerned about the plight of the poor.
• A righteous man is sympathetic towards their needs.
• A righteous man will not only be aware of their cause, but will seek to DO something about it.
• I John 3:17 – “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
• Righteous men have hearts for the poor and needy.
5. Ps. 72:1-4 – A righteous king (Messiah) will judge the poor with righteousness.
a. He will deal harshly with those who oppress them.
b. Vs. 12-14 – He will deliver, spare, save, and redeem the needy in the land.
6. Ps. 82:1-3 – God is observing.
a. Therefore, He demands that those in positions of authority DEFEND the poor. (vs. 3)
b. The rich can usually defend themselves—or purchase a good defense. The poor relied upon the character of those adjudicating their case.
c. Often the poor were looked down upon and did not always receive fair treatment (just like today).
d. Hence, God required the king (and others in positions of authority) to defend the poor… to treat them fairly and justly… and not to be prejudiced against them.
e. APPLICATION: We too should show mercy and compassion on the poor.
1. Prov. 29:4 – “The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.”
a. The king who rules and judges fairly, justly, and righteously establishes the land.
b. It is good for the land (country) when the king rules fairly and with equity for all—including the poor.
c. The land is “established” – strengthened, made stable and firm.
d. Prov. 14:34 – “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”
e. The opposite is when the king or ruler are dishonest and take bribes. That “overthrows” the nation.
f. When the king and rulers judge righteously, it is only GOOD for the country. Pray for those in positions of leadership in the USA!
2. Prov. 20:28 – “Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.”
a. The mercy and truth of the king towards his subjects preserves the king.
• The story of Rehoboam also highlights the need for the King (and all that are in authority) to demonstrate mercy and truth to the PEOPLE they rule.
• If a king shows his devotion and faithfulness to his people (instead of his own self-interest), that too will PRESERVE the king… in that the people will not revolt and cast him off the throne… or out of office.
b. The mercy and truth of the king towards God preserves the king.
• And of course, if the theocratic king in Israel was loyal and faithful to God, then that too would preserve him from evil and calamity.
3. Prov. 25:5 – “Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.”
a. When a righteous king removes the wicked chaff from his court, then the throne is established.
b. When a wicked king repents and removes the chaff from his own heart and decides to honor God and do things right, then his throne is established.
c. When corruption in government is removed, then it is always GOOD for the country.
d. That requires toughness and integrity on the part of the ruler to bite the bullet and deal with the corruption—especially when it is well entrenched.
e. But in the end, it establishes the throne.
4. Prov. 16:12 – “It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.”
5. The character of the king is essential to the well-being of the country in each of these cases.
a. Throughout Israel’s history, various kings sought to establish their thrones by various means.
• Rehoboam sought to establish his kingdom by greedy and worldly policies.
• Ahaz sought to establish his throne by worldly alliances.
• Other kings sought to establish their throne by relying on Egypt or Assyria in time of need.
• Naturally, every king wants to establish his throne—but not every king went about it the right way… God’s way.
• Every pastor wants to establish and build up the church he pastors… but not every pastor goes about it the right way… God’s way.
• They often rely on compromise and unholy alliances to do God’s work.
b. The proverbs we have looked at here indicate that the RIGHT way to establish the throne is through the godly and righteous character of the king and those in positions of authority.
• Character matters… whether you are running a kingdom, a business, a church, or a home.
• God honors those who honor Him.