Abuse of authority
The misuse of a person’s freedom of action in order to exploit, oppress or treat other people in a way that is not for their good.
Warnings against the abuse of authority
By employers over employees
Ephesians 6:9 (KJV 1900) — 9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
See also Le 25:43; Dt 24:14
Leviticus 25:43 (KJV 1900) — 43 Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God.
Deuteronomy 24:14 (KJV 1900) — 14 Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates:
By fathers over children
Ephesians 6:4 (KJV 1900) — 4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
By husbands over wives
Colossians 3:19 (KJV 1900) — 19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
By elders over the church
1 Pe 5:2–3
1 Peter 5:2–3 (KJV 1900) — 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
See also Eze 34:2–7
Ezekiel 34:2–7 (KJV 1900) — 2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. 4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. 5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. 7 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord;
By those mistreating foreigners
Exodus 22:21 (KJV 1900) — 21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
See also Ex 23:9
Exodus 23:9 (KJV 1900) — 9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
By leaders over those who are led
Matthew 20:25–27 (KJV 1900) — 25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
See also Lk 22:25–26
Luke 22:25–26 (KJV 1900) — 25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
By those taking advantage of the helpless or poor
Exodus 22:22 (KJV 1900) — 22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.
See also Pr 22:22; Eze 22:29; Zec 7:10
Proverbs 22:22 (KJV 1900) — 22 Rob not the poor, because he is poor: Neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
Ezekiel 22:29 (KJV 1900) — 29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
Zechariah 7:10 (KJV 1900) — 10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; And let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
By those who oppress others
Jeremiah 22:17 (KJV 1900) — 17 But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, And for to shed innocent blood, And for oppression, and for violence, to do it.
See also Ps 73:8; Ps 119:134; Eze 22:7
Psalm 73:8 (KJV 1900) — 8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: They speak loftily.
Psalm 119:134 (KJV 1900) — 134 Deliver me from the oppression of man: So will I keep thy precepts.
Ezekiel 22:7 (KJV 1900) — 7 In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.
Examples of the abuse of authority
Genesis 16:6 (KJV 1900) — 6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
See also Ex 1:11; 1 Ki 12:14; Jas 2:6
Exodus 1:11 (KJV 1900) — 11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.
1 Kings 12:14 (KJV 1900) — 14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
James 2:6 (KJV 1900) — 6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?