Monday, January 23, 2012

Proverbs 29:14 commentary; the king who faithfully judges the poor

14 ¶ The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.

Matthew Henry said that the rich can afford to defend themselves but the ruler of any nation must defend the poor. The chief executive, the government, however a nation’s leadership is arranged, has an obligation to see to the needs of the weakest of their subjects. Rulers are called upon to be impartial in judgment.

Leviticus 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

Several times in Job, he trumpets his own mercy and care for the poor. Psalms, chapter 10 talks specifically about the wicked’s behavior toward the poor.

Psalm 41:1 «To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.» Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.

Those people who are poor and disenfranchised men of God spend a great deal of time talking about in the Old Testament. In the previous chapter of Proverb, Solomon said,

Proverbs 28:15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.

God here literally promises a Hebrew king that his throne will be established for ever if he faithfully judges the poor. In the following verse Daniel, speaking to Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, offers a similar sentiment.

Daniel 4:27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.

In a literal sense this verse is applicable to the Lord Jesus Christ who will return and rule for a thousand years physically on earth before history itself ends. That was the belief of the early Christians and that is what the Bible clearly states in Revelation, chapter 20 after Christ assumes control of all earthly nations as per Revelation 11:15.

“The apostles were apparently unanimous in believing that Christ would soon return to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.” (Will Durant, Caesar and Christ, The Story of Civilization, Volume 3 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1944), 575.

In the first three centuries of the Christian era Chiliasm, or Millennialism, was the predominant view stating the belief that the Lord Jesus Christ would return to rule from earth for 1,000 years between human history’s end and eternity’s beginning.

Christians believed it was “at hand” (Philippians 4:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; Revelation 22:10), a phrase that means “will happen quickly” (Deuteronomy 32:35) and is near (Jeremiah 23:23), yet, just as they missed the need for Christ to suffer, die, and be risen (Isaiah 53; Psalm 22; Hosea 6:2; Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 9:9-10) they missed the fact that 1,000 years is but a day to the Lord or a watch in the night (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8), and if 2,000 years pass before He returns what is that to God(Ecclesiastes6:6)?

Christ’s reign will be with an iron rod (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27) but just and fair. All through the Old Testament the command to treat the poor humanely, with mercy, and with generosity is laid out which one reading of the Psalms will show you in too many verses to present here. The righteous king, of whom Christ is the most righteous of all, will be and is merciful to the poor. His reign begins with a thousand years but His reign will be for ever.

Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

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