Proverbs 20:8

ESV A king who sits on the throne of judgment winnows all evil with his eyes.
NIV When a king sits on his throne to judge, he winnows out all evil with his eyes.
NASB A king who sits on the throne of justice Disperses all evil with his eyes.
CSB A king sitting on a throne to judge separates out all evil with his eyes.
NLT When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good.
KJV A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.
NKJV A king who sits on the throne of judgment Scatters all evil with his eyes.

What does Proverbs 20:8 mean?

Some proverbs simply note harsh realities (Proverbs 17:23; 19:7). Others commend a certain view or course of action (Proverbs 6:6; 14:7; 19:20). This is one of the proverbs expressing an ideal: the way things ought to be (Proverbs 16:12). Properly understood, the role of "king" should be grounded in godliness and justice (Proverbs 8:12–15; 14:34; 29:14).

Solomon (Proverbs 10:1) served not only as Israel's king, but also as her judge (1 Kings 3:16–28). As a wise king and judge, when he tried a case, he had to carefully consider who was innocent and who was guilty. True wisdom comes from a pursuit of godly truth (Proverbs 1:7; 3:1–6). It is developed through constant learning (Proverbs 18:15; 27:17) and practice (Hebrews 5:14). Solomon also had been given a special dose of wisdom from God (1 Kings 3:9–12). His eyes could separate those telling the truth from those who were lying. Here, this is compared to the "winnowing" process which divides edible grain from inedible chaff.

The apostle James identifies Jesus as the Judge (James 5:9). Matthew 25:31–46 reveals that at His second coming, Jesus will judge the nations. As the all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-wise Judge, He will divide believers from unbelievers, rewarding His people and punishing those who reject Him. The book of Revelation shows readers the great white throne judgment. When this takes place, all unbelievers throughout history will be appropriately tried for their sins and cast into the lake of fire. Earthly judges have finite knowledge and are subject to error, but Jesus has infinite knowledge and cannot make a mistake. His judgment is flawless—there will one day be a perfect "winnowing" of all evil.
What is the Gospel?
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