14:28 A king’s glory is 1 the abundance of people,
but the lack of subjects 2 is the ruin 3 of a ruler.
14:34 Righteousness exalts 4 a nation,
but sin is a disgrace 5 to any people.
14:35 The king shows favor 6 to a wise 7 servant,
but his wrath falls 8 on one who acts shamefully.
1 tn The preposition serves as the beth essentiae – the glory is the abundant population, not in it.
2 tn Heb “people.” Cf. NLT “a dwindling nation.”
3 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.
4 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.
5 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
6 tn Heb “the favor of a king.” The noun “king” functions as a subjective genitive: “the king shows favor….”
7 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).
8 tn Heb “is” (so KJV, ASV).