IX. Court Protocol (8:2–9)

Sages were essentially favorable to the monarchy, and their pupils were probably from the upper classes and had contact with the king. They needed practical advice. Having taken an oath of loyalty, the subject should not be quick to desert his post (8:2-3). Since kings can be capricious and unpredictable, subjects must exercise discretion, even expediency. “With the dangerous caprices of a king to reckon with, wisdom has to fold its wings and take the form of discretion, content to keep its possessor out of trouble” (Kidner, 74). Such a call may be seen as unworthy of the Bible unless it is balanced by the rest of Scripture where principles and examples of courage and integrity in government are given. Not only are a people limited by royal power, but they are also helpless in the presence of the wind, death, war, and evil (vv. 7-8). Unable to control these phenomena, they turn to lording it over other humans, and the result often is injustice (v. 9).