The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth should not betray justice.
A divine decision is in the lips of the king; His mouth should not err in judgment.
The king speaks with divine wisdom; he must never judge unfairly.
A good leader motivates, doesn't mislead, doesn't exploit.
Decision is in the lips of the king: his mouth will not go wrong in judging.
Inspired decisions are on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment.
Divination is on the lips of the king; His mouth must not transgress in judgment.
|NET © [draft] ITL|
|NET © Notes||
1 tn Heb “oracle” (so NAB, NIV) or “decision”; TEV “the king speaks with divine authority.” The term קֶסֶם (qesem) is used in the sense of “oracle; decision; verdict” (HALOT 1115-16 s.v.). The pronouncements of a king form an oracular sentence, as if he speaks for God; they are divine decisions (e.g., Num 22:7; 23:23; 2 Sam 14:20).
2 tn Heb “on the lips.” The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause referring to what the king says – no doubt what he says officially.
3 tn Heb “his mouth.” The term “mouth” is a metonymy of cause for what the king says: his pronouncements and legal decisions.
4 sn The second line gives the effect of the first: If the king delivers such oracular sayings (קֶסֶם, qesem, translated “divine verdict”), then he must be careful in the decisions he makes. The imperfect tense then requires a modal nuance to stress the obligation of the king not to act treacherously against justice. It would also be possible to translate the verb as a jussive: Let the king not act treacherously against justice. For duties of the king, e.g., Psalm 72 and Isaiah 11. For a comparison with Ezekiel 21:23-26, see E. W. Davies, “The Meaning of qesem in Prov 16:10,” Bib 61 (1980): 554-56.