Proverbs 29:2

Wicked vs. Righteous Ruling


1. This proverb is the same as Proverbs 28:12 except for the ending.

2. Both proverbs speak about the reaction of the people to their leaders – depending upon whether those who lead are righteous or wicked.

3. The character and moral direction the leader takes the country causes the people either to rejoice or mourn.

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice

1. The point of this section of the proverb is to highlight the fact that the people REJOICE when they have good, righteous leaders.

2. What does a righteous man in a position of authority DO that causes the people to rejoice?

a. People rejoice when they have freedom: when they can speak their mind; worship and practice their faith openly; live according to their consciences; etc.

b. People rejoice when good, moral laws are established and supported.

c. People rejoice when law and order are maintained.

d. People rejoice when murderers and thieves are punished and restrained.

e. People rejoice when they enjoy a sense of safety and security.

f. People rejoice when their property rights are maintained.

g. People rejoice when the judicial system is blind and fair, and everyone is treated the same—rich, poor, red, yellow, black, and white, male, female.

h. People rejoice when the government is not cruel and oppressive—taxing them to death, taking advantage of the less powerful.

i. People rejoice when those in authority are not crooks lining their pockets and robbing from the citizens.

j. People rejoice when the government listens to the people and the people have a voice.

3. “The people rejoice”

a. The rejoicing of the people is BECAUSE righteous men are in power.

b. The rejoicing of the people is due to the fact that righteous men enact righteous laws and are honest, fair, and just.

c. People rejoice when they are treated fairly.

4. Other proverbs indicate that there are other favorable reactions when righteous men have positions of power

a. Prov. 28:12 – there is great glory!
• Note the contrast in this proverb: he is speaking about righteous vs. wicked men rising to power.
» When a righteous ruler gains power he rejoices—and there is glory among the people.
» When the wicked rise to power—the people hide.
• Consider the first part: When Solomon says, There is great glory, he means that when a righteous man rules, there is great glory among the people.
• The people are proud to have such a leader. He represents their values. He represents them. There is a sense of national pride in such a leader.
• The people glory also in the sense of honoring that leader. They honor him by putting him into office and by following his leadership.
• The righteous leader and the righteous people are able to rejoice together.
• That is a sign of strength: righteous people AND a righteous leader.
• When righteous people have a righteous leader, they too glory in it… rejoice together.
• In a good sense, they are proud of it… national pride… patriotism.

b. Prov. 11:10a – The thought is similar in meaning: when things are going well for the righteous in the land, the city rejoices.

c. Prov. 28:2 – “For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.”
• When transgression fills the land, there will be many princes… because they won’t last long.
• But when a man of understanding, wisdom, and discernment is in power, the state thereof shall be PROLONGED… it will be good for the land and the country.
• That results in stability and strength for the nation.

d. Prov. 28:28 – “When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.”
• When the wicked ruler perishes (dies; is assassinated; or is removed from power for any reason), then the righteous increase.
• They had to go into hiding during the reign of the evil monarch or ruler. But when he dies, they can come out of the woodwork again.
• They increase—they prosper—they may even begin to take positions of leadership again—their voices are heard again.

5. What occurs when the righteous are in positions of leadership?

a. The people rejoice. The city rejoices.

b. There is great glory—national pride—patriotism returns.

c. The state shall be prolonged. A sense of safety and security returns.

d. The righteous increase.

But when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

1. Mourn defined: To groan; to moan; it is the universal response to oppression or despair.

a. Ex. 2:23 – “And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.”
• (Mourn = same word as sighed.)
• Here people who are oppressed and are suffering injustice mourn and sigh.
• They are longing and waiting for a change.
• Here the Jews cried out to the Lord because of their bondage.

b. Ezek. 9:4 – “And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.”
• (Mourn = same word as sigh.)
• The context here is a glimpse into the spirit of the godly Jews in the days of apostasy in Israel.
• Jerusalem became filled with idols and the abominations of the pagans.
• The godly remembered better days. They groaned and sighed because they felt defeated, discouraged, in despair and disgust over the abominations in the land.

2. People who are oppressed; people who are in despair over the moral and spiritual ruin of their country “mourn” – they go about “sighing” in a sense of defeat and despair over their condition and the condition of their country.

3. Other proverbs also speak of other results of wicked men ruling.

a. Prov. 28:12 – When wicked men rise to power the righteous hide.

b. Instead of the people glorying and rejoicing and taking pride in their leader, they head for the hills and HIDE!

c. This is what Elijah did when Ahab and his lovely wife Jezebel were in power—he ran for a cave!

d. Joseph and Mary had to take Jesus to hide in Egypt until the wicked Herod was no longer in power.

e. Christians in Egypt are going into hiding because of the leadership in their country.

f. Righteous men realize that the wicked leader might take their property… take their land… and make life miserable for them. He may even execute them.

g. They mourn—and they go into hiding.

h. Prov. 28:28a says the same thing.

4. We too mourn when we see the moral direction in which our country is headed.

a. Abortion (even partial birth abortion) is promoted from the highest offices.

b. Massachusetts nearly passed a law permitting suicide in your own home.
• A few years ago we were scandalized by Doctor assisted suicide. This is a take home package. You don’t even need a doctor present for this.
• When we have lost sight of the sacredness of human life, where do these issues lead for the next generation?
• Euthanasia, mercy killings, suicide on demand, killing the aged or the handicapped?

c. Gay marriage is now being publically supported from the highest offices.
• The thinking is that “we should be able to marry whomever we love.”
• But where does that lead? Polygamy? Bestiality? Incest?

d. Two states legalized marijuana – Colorado and Washington.
• And this was not for medicinal purposes but for recreational use.
• And where does this lead in the next generation? All 50 states? And what drugs are next? Crack cocaine? Heroine?

e. We are beginning to see the US turn its back on Israel.

• Gen. 12:3 – Concerning the nation Israel, God said: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.”
• As a nation, we have experienced God’s blessing for our support of Israel. We may soon experience a curse.

f. Religious institutions are being forced to violate their conscience.
• If they come after the Catholics today, it will be us tomorrow.
• In recent years we’ve heard a lot about the war on poverty, and the war on drugs, and the war on women.
• But the real war we’ve been seeing (that doesn’t get nearly as much publicity) is the war on Christianity.

g. These issues represent serious moral and spiritual decline in our country.

h. Once you start down a pathway like this, it is virtually impossible to reverse direction.
• It’s like going downhill on a toboggan.
• We are on a slippery slope and scary pathway as a nation. We have good cause to mourn.

i. And it is not one person or one party. The whole nation is headed in that direction. The people we vote into office are but a reflection of where the country is… morally and spiritually.

j. Our proverb reminds us that “when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

k. We can and should pray for good, moral leaders in our country.

l. A good leader can help temporarily, but only temporarily.

m. Let’s not get dreamy eyed over this. We are never going to bring in the Kingdom through political means.

n. The USA is never going to return to the days of the Puritans. Those days are long gone.

o. We are seeing the moral collapse of a nation right before our eyes. And unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it will ever turn around.

p. It might slow down for a while; it may take a few baby steps in a good direction, but the overall trajectory is down.

5. But this does not mean we should despair.

a. It is all part of God’s plan… and that is irreversible.

b. Evil men will wax worse and worse in the last days.

c. And as dark as things get around us, don’t forget the words of the apostle Paul: “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

d. It is an opportunity for us to shine as witnesses to the truth and point men to the Savior.

e. Our job is to walk with God and fish as many men out of those polluted waters as we can.

f. On the one hand, we may mourn the direction our country is headed in; but on the other hand, we can rejoice that the coming of the Lord draweth nigh! Even so come, Lord Jesus.

g. And we can pray: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (I Tim.2:1-4)