Proverbs 20:28 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 20:28, NIV: Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure.

Proverbs 20:28, ESV: Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.

Proverbs 20:28, KJV: Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.

Proverbs 20:28, NASB: Loyalty and truth watch over the king, And he upholds his throne by loyalty.

Proverbs 20:28, NLT: Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king; his throne is made secure through love.

Proverbs 20:28, CSB: Loyalty and faithfulness guard a king; through loyalty he maintains his throne.

What does Proverbs 20:28 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

All proverbs, biblical or otherwise, are general statements. They are intended as short summaries of wisdom, and not meant to be taken as absolute rules. In this case, Solomon (Proverbs 10:1) notes that caring, faithful leaders inspire loyalty in their people. A king who is just (Proverbs 20:26) and good to his people (Proverbs 29:2) will typically be rewarded by a nation who loves and defends their king. While it's possible for good leaders to be unfairly attacked, or evil leaders to cling to power, the expected pattern is for good leaders to inspire happy, devoted followers.

The history of Judah and Israel shows what happens when kings either reign in righteousness or digress from God's standards of love and faithfulness. In 721 BC, Israel, the northern kingdom, fell to the Assyrians because it lacked good kings and the nation dishonored God. However, the southern kingdom, Judah, lasted until 586 BC because it had some good kings and periods of revival. God places rulers in authority for the people's good, but He can remove those rulers at His discretion. Psalm 75:7 says, "It is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another."