Proverbs 16:12

ESV It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness.
NIV Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness.
NASB It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts, Because a throne is established on righteousness.
CSB Wicked behavior is detestable to kings, since a throne is established through righteousness.
NLT A king detests wrongdoing, for his rule is built on justice.
KJV It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.

What does Proverbs 16:12 mean?

This passage depicts the proper attitude of rulers and kings. As with earlier verses (Proverbs 16:10), this proverb phrases an obligation as a statement of fact. Just as a modern contract might say, "the buyer will provide payment," this is not a prophecy about what the person will do. This is a declaration of what the person is expected to do. Kings, in this case, should abhor evil actions and make godly conduct a cornerstone of their rule (Proverbs 8:12–15; 29:14).

Commitment to good and distaste for evil should influence a king's rule over his kingdom. Evildoers are a threat to a peaceful and prosperous reign (Proverbs 14:34). Honesty in kings and their subjects contributes to the success of their kingdoms. Psalm 72 cites a prayer in which the psalmist begins by asking, "Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!" (Psalm 72:1–2).

Although the kingdom of Judah enjoyed some reigns by righteous kings, all the kings had their faults. Only Jesus is perfect. He never sinned, and someday He will rule the earth in righteousness. Isaiah 9:7 predicts the righteous rule of Jesus, Israel's Messiah, by stating: "…on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore."
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