Proverbs. Poverty and Wealth.
Key Notes: Causes and consequences of wealth and poverty. A prayer for all of us.
The perspective of the writer on these topics seems quite pragmatic, even hard-hearted, but when we read how the poor are to be treated we will find words that are confirmed in the rest of the Bible where there are many references to the care of the poor.
"Some pretend to be rich, yet have nothing; others pretend to be poor, yet have great wealth." (Prov. 13:7)
"The rich and the poor have this in common: the LORD is the maker of them all." (Prov. 22:2)
"The poor and the oppressor have this in common: the LORD gives light to the eyes of both." (Prov. 29:13)
" The poor use entreaties, but the rich answer roughly." (Prov.‘:23)
"The rich is wise in self-esteem, but an intelligent poor person sees through the pose." (Prov. 28:11)
" Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and human eyes are never satisfied." (Prov. 27:20)
Causes of poverty and wealth.
"Riches and honor are with me (Wisdom), enduring wealth and prosperity." (Prov. 8:18)
"A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich." (Prov. 10:4)
"The lazy do not roast their game, but the diligent obtain precious wealth." (Prov. 12:27)
"Do not love sleep, or else you will come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread." (Prov. 20:13)
"...for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe them with rags." (Prov. 23:21)
"Anyone who tills the land will have plenty of bread, but one who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty." (Prov. 28:19)
"Poverty and disgrace are for the one who ignores instruction, but one who heeds reproof is honored." (Prov. 13:18)
" In all toil there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." (Prov. 14:23)
"The good leave an inheritance to their children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous." (Prov. 13:22)
"A slave who deals wisely will rule over a child who acts shamefully, and will share the inheritance as one of the family." (Prov. 17:2)
Consequences of wealth.
"The wealth of the rich is their fortress; the poverty of the poor is their ruin." (Prov. 10:15)
"The wealth of the rich is their strong city; in their imagination it is like a high wall." (Prov.‘:11)
"Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death." (Prov. 11:4)
"Those who trust in their riches will wither, but the righteous will flourish like green leaves." (Prov. 11:28)
"Wealth is a ransom for a person’s life, but the poor get no threats." (Prov. 13:8)
"Many seek the favor of the generous, and everyone is a friend to a giver of gifts." (Prov.’:6)
Consequences of poverty.
"The field of the poor may yield much food, but it is swept away through injustice." (Prov. 13:23)
"The poor are disliked even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends." (Prov. 14:20)
"All the days of the poor are hard, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast." (Prov. 15:15)
"Wealth brings many friends, but the poor are left friendless. " (Prov.’:4)
" If the poor are hated even by their kin, how much more are they shunned by their friends! When they call after them, they are not there." (Prov.’:7)
"Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people." (Prov. 28:15)
"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." (Prov. 22:7)
How to respond to the poor.
"Those who despise their neighbors are sinners, but happy are those who are kind to the poor. " (Prov. 14:21)
"Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor Him." (Prov. 14:31)
"Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; those who are glad at calamity will not go unpunished." (Prov. 17:5)
"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and will be repaid in full." (Prov.’:17)
"If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not be heard." (Prov. 21:13)
"Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor." (Prov. 22:9)
"Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but one who turns a blind eye will get many a curse." (Prov. 28:27)
"Some give freely, yet grow all the richer; others withhold what is due, and only suffer want." (Prov. 11:24)
"Oppressing the poor in order to enrich oneself, and giving to the rich, will lead only to loss." (Prov. 22:16)
"Do not rob the poor because they are poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate; for the LORD pleads their cause and despoils of life those who despoil them." (Prov. 22:22–3)
"A ruler who oppresses the poor is a beating rain that leaves no food." (Prov. 28:3)
"If a king judges the poor with equity, his throne will be established forever." (Prov. 29:14)
"One who augments wealth by exorbitant interest gathers it for another who is kind to the poor." (Prov. 28:8)
"There are those whose teeth are swords, whose teeth are knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, the needy from among mortals." (Prov. 30:14)
"She (The Virtuous Woman) opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy. " (Prov. 31:20)
"The righteous know the rights of the poor; the wicked have no such understanding." (Prov. 29:7)
"Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute." (Prov. 31:8–9)
Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy!
There are worse conditions than poverty.
"Better to be poor and walk in integrity than to be crooked in one’s ways even though rich." (Prov. 28:6)
"Better the poor walking in integrity than one perverse of speech who is a fool." (Prov. 19:1)
"What is desirable in a person is loyalty, and it is better to be poor than a liar." (Prov. 19:22)
" It is better to be of a lowly spirit among the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud." (Prov. 16:19)
A prayer for all of us.
"Two things I ask of you; do not deny them to me before I die: remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that I need, or I shall be full, and deny you, and say, “Who is the LORD?” or I shall be poor, and steal, and profane the Name of my God." (Prov. 30:7–9)