Proverbs 14:28

14:28 A king’s glory is the abundance of people,

but the lack of subjects is the ruin of a ruler.

Proverbs 14:34-35

14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation,

but sin is a disgrace to any people.

14:35 The king shows favor to a wise servant,

but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.


tn The preposition serves as the beth essentiae – the glory is the abundant population, not in it.

tn Heb “people.” Cf. NLT “a dwindling nation.”

sn The word means “ruin; destruction,” but in this context it could be a metonymy of effect, the cause being an attack by more numerous people that will bring ruin to the ruler. The proverb is purely a practical and secular saying, unlike some of the faith teachings in salvation history passages.

sn The verb תְּרוֹמֵם (tÿromem, translated “exalts”) is a Polel imperfect; it means “to lift up; to raise up; to elevate.” Here the upright dealings of the leaders and the people will lift up the people. The people’s condition in that nation will be raised.

tn The term is the homonymic root II חֶסֶד (khesed, “shame; reproach”; BDB 340 s.v.), as reflected by the LXX translation. Rabbinic exegesis generally took it as I חֶסֶד (“loyal love; kindness”) as if it said, “even the kindness of some nations is a sin because they do it only for a show” (so Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived a.d. 1040-1105).

tn Heb “the favor of a king.” The noun “king” functions as a subjective genitive: “the king shows favor….”

sn The wise servant is shown favor, while the shameful servant is shown anger. Two Hiphil participles make the contrast: מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil, “wise”) and מֵבִישׁ (mevish, “one who acts shamefully”). The wise servant is a delight and enjoys the favor of the king because he is skillful and clever. The shameful one botches his duties; his indiscretions and incapacity expose the master to criticism (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 470).

tn Heb “is” (so KJV, ASV).