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Proverbs on "Kings" and "Rulers"

A list of around fifty verses from the book of Proverbs that mention (or are part of a passage that mentions) human leaders like "kings", "ruler", "princes", and "nobles". Consider what these reveal about God's wisdom and design for human leadership...

Proverbs 8:15–16... By me [i.e., wisdom] kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; [16] by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly.

Proverbs 14:28... In a multitude of people is the glory of a king, but without people a prince is ruined.

Proverbs 14:35... A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor, but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.

Proverbs 15:22... Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers* they succeed.

Proverbs 16:10... An oracle is on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment.

Proverbs 16:12... It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness.

Proverbs 16:13... Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.

Proverbs 16:14... A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, and a wise man will appease it.

Proverbs 16:15... In the light of a king’s face there is life, and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.

Proverbs 17:7... Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a prince.

Proverbs 17:26... To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good, nor to strike the noble for their uprightness.

Proverbs 19:10... It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury, much less for a slave to rule over princes.

Proverbs 19:12... A king’s wrath is like the growling of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.

Proverbs 20:2... The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.

Proverbs 20:8... A king who sits on the throne of judgment winnows all evil with his eyes.

Proverbs 20:18... Plans are established by counsel*; by wise guidance wage war.

Proverbs 20:26... A wise king winnows the wicked and drives the wheel over them.

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

Proverbs 21:1... The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.

Proverbs 22:11... He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.

Proverbs 23:1–3... When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, [2] and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. [3] Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food.

Proverbs 24:21–22... My son, fear the LORD and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise, [22] for disaster will arise suddenly from them, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?

Proverbs 24:23–25... Partiality in judging* is not good. [24] Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,” will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations, [25] but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.

Proverbs 25:2... It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.

Proverbs 25:3... As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable.

Proverbs 25:4–5... Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel; [5] take away the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.

Proverbs 25:6–7... Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, [7] for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble. 

Proverbs 25:15... With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.

Proverbs 28:2... When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.

Proverbs 28:15–16... Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people. [16] A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor, but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.

Proverbs 29:4... By justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts tears it down.

Proverbs 29:12... If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.

Proverbs 29:14... If a king faithfully judges the poor, his throne will be established forever.

Proverbs 29:26... Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice.

Proverbs 31:1–9... The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him: [2] What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows? [3] Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings. [4] It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, [5] lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. [6] Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; [7] let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. [8] Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. [9] Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.