Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 16:12
"It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts, for a throne is established on righteousness"
This truth is so badly needed in our society. We have forgotten to hold our leaders accountable to a higher standard. Because of that, we have numerous factions and bad leadership.
This is the Hebrew word toeba which means abominable or detestable or loathsome. It is that which is to be excluded. In the sacred realm of ancient Israel, it was that which was not allowed in the worship of Yahweh. In society, God applies it to those things that destroy society; those things which are an injection of pure poison into the fabric of community. It is most often associated with acts that are several degrees past the boundaries of the Ten Commandments.
What many of us have forgotten is that God put the Ten Commandments in place to point out where selfish behavior in an individual or society must stop or the society will begin to be harmed. These behaviors should be excluded because they inject into the community a level of malevolent selfishness that corrupts it. Usually the corruptive, poisonous effects are felt by the innocent, the young, and the elderly first – the margins of the society. That is why cultures think they are getting away with flaunting God's rules.
Melek is the Hebrew word and it means king. Remember that it is also symbolic of any ruler or leader. So when Solomon mentions kings, he is saying this is a leadership principle. This truth is directed toward those who have leadership responsibilities. In this case he is saying that leaders have to live by a higher moral code than others because their actions are more impacting in their communities.
commit wicked acts
The word wicked is the word resa which means wrong, wicked, guilt, criminal. Solomon is very specific here in this proverb. The leader should not willfully act to do a wicked thing. This is not planning a wicked action, this is doing a wicked action. It rips the fabric of the society. It puts the safety and security of the innocent, the young, and the old at risk.
What are wicked acts? These are actions that are beyond the moral boundaries of the Ten Commandments:
Seeking other gods
Bowing down to an idol
Cursing or swearing or using God's name as though it meant nothing
Refusing to pause for rest and worship
Dishonoring or refusing to submit to God-given authority, open defiance or rebellion
Selfish violence, murder, and intimidation to get your way; sexual unfaithfulness and sexual perversion
Speaking falsehood to those who deserve and expect the truth
Scheming, planning, lusting after the actual possessions, spouse, employees, or equipment of another
These are wicked acts. Each of these is the beginning point of a whole host of wicked acts.
This is the Hebrew word kisse which is the word for seat, stool, throne. It is the place of official power when it refers to a king. It is the three-dimensional location that is symbolic of the actual power that the leader has. In that day the king actually sat upon a throne to render judgments in matters of the society and individuals. The king was always the king; but when he sat upon the throne, he was the leader in the position of power.
Solomon is saying that if the leader wants to retain the authority to rule, then he should not be involved in wicked acts. If he does not refrain from these wicked things that he clearly can do, then his place of power will be compromised even though he may still stay as the leader. This is what happened to Saul. It is what happened to David after he committed adultery and murder. In the United States one can see this take place with Presidents and Governors. They are still the leaders but their authority is gone.
This is the Hebrew word kun which means established, prepared, made ready, fixed, certain – all this is how the translators were able to build the definition of established. The power and place of authority and judgment of the leader is undermined if he uses his power to do wicked acts. This is the temptation for every leader. You have risen above the others in your society or group and opportunities are open to you that are not open to the general population. If you give in to these temptations, then it will undercut your power and authority. It will also shorten your leadership.
This is the Hebrew word sedaqa which means justice or righteousness. It means that which pleases God; that which not only stays within His boundaries for selfishness but that which does the good He wants done. This is outlined in the New Testament by the fruit of the spirit. God does not just want a person to not violate the Ten Commandments in their life and leadership, He wants them to love; He wants them to bring joy; He wants them to make peace; He wants them to be patient; He wants them to be kind; He wants them to do good and benefit others; He wants them to be flexible with their expectations; He wants them to be loyal and truthful; He wants them to be self-controlled.
One of the sad things about many Christians is that they see the word righteousness and they think of the negative – what one should not do. It really carries with a positive connotation – doing what is right; doing what pleases God; doing what will add to the society and community that you are part of; and in the New Testament being sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and doing what he prompts.