12 ¶ If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.
Chief executives who surround themselves with fawning sycophants will listen to lies and follow through on what they are told. Their advisors are wicked and their only value is to pump up the chief’s ego. This verse has shown itself throughout the history of kings, prime minsters, and presidents. A leader who has a vision no matter how poorly it lines up with the facts or with responsible government will surround himself with people who will reinforce that vision. He will receive false intelligence because he wants to receive false intelligence. He has no regard for the truth, only his own glory or the justification of his own worldview. The counselors and advisors he puts in positions of influence around him are only there to validate his personal convictions, not to tell him the truth.
The wicked servant will see which way the wind is blowing, what the desires of his boss are, and then provide himself as a cheerleader for those desires in order to gain advantage with his leader. Nation’s with a large, bloated bureaucracy are particular susceptible to opportunists who know just how to spoon feed their masters’ egos in order to rise above the pack. A leader over wicked servants like this can become more and more distant from reality and truth as he never hears it. He only hears what he wants to hear and anyone offering a position counter to his own will be excluded from his inner circle of advisors.
I suspect a few of our own presidents have been like that just by how they violated their own promises to the people in sayings like, “he kept us out of the war,” and “your sons will not fight in another war in Europe,”, and “the US can’t be the world’s policeman anymore” that were ignored when push came to shove. It is true that some events are thrust on a chief executive but also true that some events become excuses to justify actions that were planned far ahead in spite of promises, not in good faith, and “out of trust.”
It is important to remember that this Proverb would have been addressed to kings and rulers under God’s authority in the Kingdom of Israel. This is a comment on the rule of the so called faithful although this Proverb can be applied to any level of government or business.