Proverbs 28:22

He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
– Proverbs 28:22

This saying continues the theme of greed from the previous one. The phrase evil eye literally means bad of eye and is contrasted with the bountiful eye, or good of eye in Proverbs 22:9. Here, hasteth to be rich is a consequence of having an evil eye. The evil eye is a recurring figure that refers to greed, covetousness, and stinginess. It is contrasted with kind generosity (Proverbs 22:9; 23:6).

The figure is first used in the books of the law in Deuteronomy 28:54-55. The wider context there are the curses upon Israel for covenant disobedience and the more immediate context is talking about famine conditions. The verses describe the severity of the judgments such that a tender man becomes hardened and stingy (evil eye) with his own wife and children in refusing to share food with them. Jesus also used this figure of greed and stinginess during his ministry (Matthew 6:23; 20:15; Mark 7:22; Luke 11:34).

Jesus spoke of the evil eye, which distorted a person’s ability to see reality clearly and the second phrase of the saying agrees with this. The stingy, greedy man is in a hurry to get rich and considereth not, or does not know, the consequences of poverty to come. On the one hand, wisdom has cried out in the streets a warning for the covetous in a hurry to be rich (Proverbs 10:22; 19:2; 20:21; 21:15). The evil eye is darkened and turned away from wisdom and so does not know or consider the end (Proverbs 7:23; 9:18).

Proverbs 21:26

He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.
– Proverbs 21:26

This proverb continues from the previous one and describes the desire of the slothful. Greed marks the slothful and unrighteous. Greed contributes to their ruin (Proverbs 15:27; 28:22, 25). The antithesis in the second phrase shows generosity a mark of the righteous. Generosity is set against greedy coveting by showing the righteous giving without restraining their giving (Proverbs 11:24-26; 14:21, 31; 19:17; 22:9; 28:27).

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