Proverbs 29:12
If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.
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(12) If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.—If a ruler shows that he likes adulation and falsehood rather than unpleasant truths, his attendants will provide him with what he wishes. (Comp. Ecclesiasticus 10:2.) So Jeremiah complains (Jeremiah 5:31) that prophets, priests, and people were all wilfully deceiving each other.

29:11. He is a fool who tells every thing he knows, and can keep no counsel. 12. One who loves flatterers, and hearkens to slanderers, causes his servants to become liars and false accusers. 13. Some are poor, others have a great deal of deceitful riches. They meet in the business of this world; the Lord gives to both the comforts of this life. To some of both sorts he gives his grace. 14. The rich will look to themselves, but the poor and needy the prince must defend and plead for. 15. Parents must consider the benefit of due correction, and the mischief of undue indulgence. 16. Let not the righteous have their faith and hope shocked by the increase of sin and sinners, but let them wait with patience. 17. Children must not be suffered to go without rebuke when they do amiss. 18. How bare does a place look without Bibles and ministers! and what an easy prey is it to the enemy of souls! That gospel is an open vision, which holds forth Christ, which humbles the sinner and exalts the Saviour, which promotes holiness in the life and conversation: and these are precious truths to keep the soul alive, and prevent it from perishing.All his servants are wicked - They know what will please, and they become informers and backbiters. 12. His servants imitate him. If a ruler hearken to lies, delight in flatteries or calumnies, or any lying words or deceitful and wicked practices,

all his servants are wicked; partly because he chooseth only such for his service; and partly because they are either corrupted by his example, or engaged by their place and interest to please him, and comply with his base lusts.

If a ruler hearken to lies,.... To men that tell them in order to soothe and flatter him, or to hurt the character and reputation of others, that they may raise their own: rulers should not listen to and encourage such sort of persons; for, as lying lips do not become a prince, so it is not right to have liars about him; David would not suffer such to dwell in his court, Psalm 101:7;

all his servants are wicked; or the greatest part of them: for a ruler of such a disposition will take none but such into his service, that flatter him, and calumniate others; and such a conduct, being pleasing and agreeable to him, is a temptation to his ministers to act the same wicked part; as is a prince, such are his courtiers; his example has a great influence upon them.

If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.
12. Comp.

“As is the judge of his people, so are his ministers;

And as is the ruler of the city, such are all they that dwell therein.”

Sir 10:2.

Verse 12. - All his servants are wicked. The ruler is willing to be deceived, and does not care to hear the truth, so his servants flatter and lie to him, and the whole atmosphere is charged with unreality and deceit. Qualis rex, talis grex. Ecclus. 10:2, "As the judge of the people is himself, so are his officers; and what manner of man the ruler of the city is, such are all that dwell therein." Claudian, 'IV. Cons. Hon.,' 299 -

"Componitur orbis
Regis ad exemplum: nec sic inflectere sensus
Humanos edicta valent, ut vita regentis.
Mobile mutatur semper cum principe vulgus."

"By the king's precedent
The world is ordered; and men's minds are moved
Less by stern edicts than their ruler's life.
The fickle crowd aye by the prince is swayed."
Cicero, 'De Leg.,' 3:13, "Ut enim cupiditatibus principum et vitiis iufici solet tota civitas, sic emendari et corrigi continentia." And ibid., 14, "Quo perniciosius de republica merentur vitiosi principes, quod non solum vitia concipiunt ipsi, sod ea infundunt in civitatem; neque solum obsunt, ipsi quod corrumpuntur, sed etiam quod corrumpunt, plusque exemplo, quam peccato, nocent." Proverbs 29:1212 A ruler who listens to deceitful words,

     All his servants are godless.

They are so because they deceive him, and they become so; for instead of saying the truth which the ruler does not wish to hear, they seek to gain his favour by deceitful flatteries, misrepresentations, exaggerations, falsehoods. Audita rex quae praecipit lex. He does not do this, as the saying is, sicut rex ita grex (Sir. 10:2), in the sense of this proverb of Solomon.

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