Proverbs 29 Commentary

Authority with justice (29:1-27)

Many themes that we have already met in Proverbs are repeated in this section: stubbornness, good and bad government, family values, prostitution, justice, flattery, cunning and concern for the poor (29:1- 7). Scoffers are more than just fools; they are trouble-makers. They are not open to reason and cannot control their temper (8-11).

Unjust rulers oppress innocent citizens, and the rich persecute the poor, but good and bad alike receive the blessings that God gives to people in general (12-13). The ruler of a country and the head of a family should work for the contentment and well-being of those for whom they are responsible, but they can expect success only if they themselves are good and just. The pursuit of righteousness leads to stability (14-17).

One reason for a nation’s spiritual or moral decay is its neglect of the revealed word of God (18). A stubborn servant is a problem for his master, but a shrewd servant, if he receives too many favours, could one day take over his master’s property (19-21). Those who are bad tempered or arrogant bring trouble, not just to others but also to themselves (22-23).

When a person who was partner in a crime refuses to give evidence to the judge, his guilt increases (24). There can be no justice when the basis of people’s decision-making is fear of those who are influential or partiality towards those who are their friends (25-27).

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