Proverbs - Lesson 12

Proverbs 16:10-15 (part b)

Dr. Waltke concludes this lecture on 16:10-15 and the discussion on the king.

Bruce Waltke
Lesson 12
Watching Now
Proverbs 16:10-15 (part b)

III. I AM’s Mediatorial King

A. The Translation

B. The King’s Authority 16:10-11

C. The King’s Moral Sensibilities 16:12-13

D. The King’s Power 16:14-15

E. Conclusion

Class Resources
  • Dr. Waltke covers some introductory issues for the class.

  • The aim of this lecture is to determine our pre-understanding of life and Proverbs. Dr. Waltke discusses issues of God as author, human author as inspired, and Lectio Divina.

  • The preamble and initial verses are key to understanding Proverbs properly.

  • Second half of the Preamble dealing with the issues of moral and mental acumen.

  • We now meet the ten lectures in Proverbs of the parent's teaching to the son/daughter. When Dr. Waltke originally lectured, he skipped ahead to the discussion of politics, and is now resuming the normal order. Those lectures on politics are our lectures 24-26.

  • Dr. Waltke begins with a 20 minute summary of the class so far, and then moves into Proverbs 2 and "Safeguards Against the Wicked." This is the second Proverbs lecture.

  • After a seven minute review and some questions, Dr. Waltke moves into Proverbs 2 and its description of the purpose of godly character/fruit. It is a safeguard against the wicked man and woman, and closes in a summary of life, not death.

  • In dealing with 3:-12, Dr. Waltke raises the legitimate hermeneutical question if the book promises too much. Does it make promises it can't keep?

  • The value of wisdom and applying it to living it out in community.

  • Proverb's teaching on getting the family heritage (4:1-9), staying off the wrong way (4:10-19), not swerving from the right way (4:20-27).

  • The final part of the previous lecture.

  • Dr. Waltke concludes this lecture on 16:10-15 and the discussion on the king.

  • The author deals with the topic of the wicked woman. Proverbs 5:1-14.

  • Dr. Waltke continue his discussion of this topic, picking up at Proverbs 5:15.

  • The final lecture on this topic, picking up at Proverbs 8.

  • Covers the topic of money, drawing thematically from through the book. Proverbs 6:1-19; 10:1-5; Psalm 49; various passages.

  • After a 18 minute summary of the entire book of Proverbs, Dr. Waltke moves into discussing the topic of being money-wise but drawing from many different passages in Proverbs.

  • Dr. Waltke concludes the topic of money by talking about the value of wealth, and how to have enduring wealth.

  • Drawing from passages throughout Proverbs, Dr. Waltke looks at the topics of the power of words, the limitations of words, and the characteristics of wise speech (B.R.E.A.T.H.).

  • After introducing the need for a study on marriage, we look at the characteristics of a wise husband and a wise wife. One of the many points is that both husband and wife are to be involved in the teaching of their children.

  • This lesson focuses on the teaching of the children by both parents (with a discussion of 1 Timothy 2:12-3:1), believing that this teaching will be effective, and recognizing the dignity of the child (among other topics).

  • After a discussion of the structure of the famous poem in Proverbs 31, Dr. Waltke moves into a verse by verse exegesis, emphasizing her entrepreneurial spirit and social consciousness.

  • Discussion of Proverbs 30 with a strong emphasis in understanding its poetic structure.

  • Christians should be involved in politics. Politics and the Christian life are inseparable just as ethics and the Christian life are inseparable. A just government is the foundation for a nation's economic prosperity and social well-being. In biblical theology, the king is replaced by voting citizens.

    There is an outline for each lecture to help you follow the main points. You may also download a complete outline that includes comments from Dr. Waltke's research that he was not able to cover in the lectures.

  • After a review of the preceding lecture, Dr. Waltke talks about how we are in a spiritual and political war with "fools." The wise retrain evil by punishing wrong doers. Non-involvement is a vote for the wicked. The benefits of a righteous and just government.

  • What are the foundations for a good government? What are the characteristics of a good ruler?

  • Dr. Waltke concludes the class by summarizing the basic theology of Proverbs in an attempt to show that it is in agreement with the rest of the Old Testament. 

Prof. Bruce Waltke is acknowledged as the most accomplished scholar of Proverbs of this generation. His two-volume commentary on Proverbs and the relevant sections of his Old Testament Theology show an honesty and mastery of the text rarely seen. When you watch him teach, you will see both a magisterial handling of the material and also a gentleness that is not always present in a scholar of his caliber. This is an expansive class that covers the structure, theology, and content of the entire book. Some of the classes were even filmed in his home.

You may download the notes that Dr. Waltke is using as he teaches the course on Proverbs by clicking on the Lecture Notes link under Downloads on the home page.

III. I AM’s Mediatorial King

A. The Translation

  1. The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth does not betray justice.

  2. Honest scales and balances belong to I AM; all the weights in the bag are of his making.

  3. Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness.
  4. Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value persons who speak what is right.
  5. A king's wrath is a messenger of death, but the wise will appease (kpr) it
  6. When a king's face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.

(Note: a quatrain is a poem or verse that has four lines.)

We have noted already that 15:30 – 16:15 is a unity and it has three distinct stanzas to it. The prologue is 15:30-33 and the 2nd section deals with heeding and acceptance of the teachings. It is all about the Lord’s sovereignty in conjunction with his morality. Now the 3rd section 16:10-15 is about the king. First we have a link between the King and I AMs sovereign and moral rule. The king is the one who implements the moral rule; he is the mediatorial king between God’s rule and what happens on earth. The separation is clear by the change of catchwords from I AM which occurs in every verse except the second from the end and then the King appears in every verse except the second from the beginning. Whether this is intentional or not, we are not certain about it. But in verse 10, The King and I AM are united in a quatrain on justice. That is in 16:10, we have ‘his mouth does not betray justice.’ The one who is behind justice is the Lord, for he makes honest scales and balances and all the weights in his bag are of his making. So everything that is just is of the Lord and the king doesn’t betray what he has established. So the link is between the weights and balances of I AM with the king administering the justice according to accurate weights and balances.

B. The King’s Authority 16:10-11

We saw that in 16:5 that the Lord detests the proud of heart and in verse 12 and 13, the king detest wrongdoing and take pleasure in honest lips. So he has moral sensibilities, comparable to that of the Lords of what he loves and hates. Both the King and the Lord has the power to dispense life and death. We saw that in 1-9 they (the wicked) will not go unpunished. In verse 14, the King’s wrath is death. And the light of his face is life. So he has the power of life and death as God has. When he says King, it is what a king should be because wicked kings don’t measure up to this. He doesn’t say good kings but when he refers to son, wife and king, he is referring to a real one and obviously this is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

To put this together with the first section, God establishes his sovereign and moral rule through the King and this conforms to what I see in Lord’s Prayer: ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done,’ and he is the one that brings the kingdom already and will bring it in his fullness in the Eschaton. So we have the King’s authority from I AM in verses 10-11. He speaks as an oracle, a divine being with the authority of God. He does so because his mouth doesn’t betray justice as it is God who has established the standards for justice. The king’s moral sensibility is shown in verse 12-13. This is what he detests and what he favors. Then the king’s power over life and death is in 14-15. So we have six verses and three quatrains of two verses each. These quatrains establish a sense from moral sensibility to life and death. So the king’s authority is from I AM in 16:10-11; that is the lips of a king speak as an oracle or qesem and his mouth does not betray justice or mishpat. The word ‘honest’ is the word ‘justice.’ The word mishpat connects verses 10 and 11 with honest and justice being the same word mishpat. And mishpat belongs to the Lord in terms of weight and measures. Also we have quesem (oracle) and peles (scales) in verses 10 and 11. These are also connected in the sense that they are segholate nouns whose end is of the form of CVCVC with the final vowel being typically unstressed. Look at the following:

The quatrain here deals with the king’s authority because he has justice and the Lord stands behind him.


The lips of a king speak as an oracle [קֶ֤סֶם], and his mouth [פִּֽיו] does not betray justice [֝מִשְׁפָּ֗ט].

The quatrain signifies in v. 10: “oracle”: the king is inspired and so infallible to uphold justice. God stands behinds king’s verdicts


Oracle - qesem

Justice - mishpat


Honest [מִשְׁפָּ֗ט] scales [פֶּ֤לֶס] and balances belong to I AM; all the weights in the bag [כִֽיס] are of his making.


The quatrain signifies in 11:  I AM ultimate source of king’s justice Scales fixed by God and king administers them and God stands behind king’s rule government.


Honest – mishpat

Scales - peles

C. The King’s Moral Sensibilities 16:12-13

First of all, the quatrain links king in verses 10-15 to the Lord in verses 1-9 by the catchwords detest and pleasure as we have in verse 12, ‘Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness’ and in verse 13, ‘Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a person who speaks what is right’. Remember in verses 5 and 7, it says, ‘I AM detests all the proud of heart……….’ And ‘When I AM takes pleasure in anyone’s way……..’ So the King’s moral sensibilities in 12 & 13 match those of God in verses 5 and 7. In regards to the quatrain, we see that Kings are in the plural in both verses; everywhere else it is singular. We also have parallels contrasting their moral sensibilities of what he detests and what he delights in. You can also see the parallels in the Kings who detests wrong doings and take pleasure in honest lips. We have action and speech which is normal pairing in the Book of Proverbs. Look at the following:


Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness (צְדָקָ֗ה).


Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value persons who speaks what is right (צֶ֑דֶק).


The quatrain is linked to Verses 10-11 by the catchword ‘king’ and assonance of last words in verses 11 and 12. The quatrain signifies that the king is informed by God’s moral sensibility and his just rule of the verdicts and actions from verses 10 & 11 depend upon his intuitive and moral sensibility in verses 12 & 13. So we have:


Catchword - Kings in the plural are unique – melachim / malek - singular


Catchword – righteousness - tseddiq


There is a antithetical theme that contrasts moral sensibilities and


There is a synthetic theme that contrasts wrong doing and right speaking


Note that Solomon’s throne is modeled after Egyptian based on a ma’at sign.

D. The King’s Power 16:14-15

‘A king’s wrath is a messenger (plural) of death, but the wise will appease it. When a King’s face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring. We have appease here from the Hebrew word, kaphar which means the same for atone in verse 14 and this appeasement is made through wisdom in verse 6 in 16:1-9. So the King’s wrath has to be appeased, which is done by love and faithfulness. So in verses 6 and 14, appease and atoned are the same in Hebrew and thus links the two verses below.


Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.


A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, but the wise will appease it.

Verses 14 & 15 are linked also to verses 12 & 13 by the words ‘king’ and ‘takes pleasure in or favor’.

E. Conclusion

The conclusion is that I Am is sovereign. He is over human plans and thoughts and that we are to trust him and not self. We are to trust him in everything with words and deeds. Her is moral and works out everything to its proper moral end. And one finds atonement for past sins through kindness and fidelity. And we avoid future evil through the Fear of God. God mediates his sovereign, moral rule through his chosen king whose rules and verdicts are just as they shares God’s moral sensibility. The King has the power of life and death and he is realized in the person of Jesus Christ. The king finds its reality in Christ but we are his disciples and have to be like Jesus. We are to look at him and be transformed into his glory. Note also that the Proverbs were originally designed for nobility and also for the rulers; thus has a royal background, but saying that; it is addressed to all Israel’s youth. So we could assume that we too are the instruments of life and death.