Proverbs 23:11

For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.
– Proverbs 23:11

This verse adds the consequential warning for the command, “Remove not the old landmark,” in verse 10. The warning has primarily to do with theft and oppression of the poor. The word for redeemer means next of kin and we sometimes refer to kinsman redeemer. A near kinsman was an advocate and deliverer by the law. Sometimes this might be through relieving the suffering of poor relatives (Leviticus 25:25; Ruth 3:12-13). The redeemer might also be the avenger of blood (Number 35:19). Yahweh is the ultimate redeemer who will defend the weak and exact justice (Proverbs 22:23; Exodus 22:22-24). Wisdom teaches us to be mindful of this, though the poor are easily taken advantage of.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 23:10

Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
– Proverbs 23:10

The old landmark refers to the boundary markers that were set to apportion the land inheritance to the tribes and families throughout Israel. The word for old means time out of mind, referring to antiquity. The saying accords with the setting of landmarks by “thy fathers” in Proverbs 22:28. The law forbade moving or removing those landmarks so as to encroach on the inheritance of another (Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17). The old landmark is here tied to the fields of the fatherless, which is the focus of the saying. Wisdom teaches with the law against the oppressing, defrauding, extorting, or otherwise afflicted the weak, i.e., widows and fatherless (Jeremiah 22:3; Zechariah 7:10; Malachi 3:5; James 1:27).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 22:23

For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
– Proverbs 22:23

Verse 23 gives the consequence for verse 22, which forbids unjust treatment of the weak and needy. Wisdom has previously given warning against injustice toward the poor because God is their Creator (Proverbs 14:31; 17:5). Here God is their counsellor and protector. He will plead their cause means he will take their case and contend for them. The word for spoil means to rob. Yahweh will also mete out justice to those who have oppressed the poor. In due time, exploiters will reap what they have sown (Proverbs 1:16-19; 5:22-23; 28:17).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 22:22

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
– Proverbs 22:22

Verse 22 begins “The Words of the Wise” proper and is the largest section. Verses 22 and 23 form a complete saying. The word for rob means take away, or plunder. The word for poor means weak, or needy. The poor are often representative of the weak and vulnerable. Wisdom is very much concerned with righteousness, or justice, and has many sayings concerning just treatment of the poor (Proverbs 10:15; 14:31; 17:5; 19:4, 17; 21:13). The second phrase completes the picture. The word for oppress means to crumble, or crush. The word for afflicted means lowly. The reference to the gate is a reference to the place of judgment. We would say court today. The overall warning is against exploiting, oppressing, or extorting the weak, needy, and otherwise vulnerable, even if it be done legally.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 22:16

He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
– Proverbs 22:16

The wording of this proverb is difficult and interpretations vary. The word for oppresseth means to press upon, or defraud. The word refers to extortion of the poor, which can indicate needy and/or weak. Giving to the rich refers to giving gifts, or even bribes. Wisdom warns against the folly and evil of both bribery and extortion (Proverbs 17:23; 22:22-23; 28:3). The end of this way is want, or poverty. This proverb ends the large collection of the Proverbs of Solomon, which form the largest section of this book.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 22:9

He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
– Proverbs 22:9

The word for bountiful means good. A good eye is linked with generosity, or a generous disposition. The figure of the eye is used to emphasize seeing needs. A good eye contrasts with the stingy and covetous, evil eye in the New Testament (Matthew 6:21-24; 20:1-16; Mark 7:22). The evil, or dark, eye is a figure of one who greedily hoards his own treasure and will not share, or shares begrudgingly, with those who have needs (Proverbs 23:6-7; 28:22). Wisdom teaches an open-handed, giving disposition to the poor will be blessed (Proverbs 11:24-26; 19:17).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 21:13

Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.
– Proverbs 21:13

This proverb is the alternative to Proverbs 19:17, which promises recompense to the generous. Wisdom teaches eye-for-eye justice will be given. The warning here is similar to the warning to those who refuse to hear God’s word (Proverbs 1:22-33). The word for poor means weak, or needy. It’s not just a lack of money, but a vulnerable helplessness. It may include lack of money or be a lack of connection due to low social standing, etc. One’s view and treatment of the poor is an important marker of wisdom (Proverbs 14:31; 17:5; 19:17). Oppressing the poor is wicked and shortsighted (Proverbs 22:16; 28:8, 27).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 19:17

He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
– Proverbs 19:17

Oppressing or mocking the poor will meet with retribution (Proverbs 14:31; 17:5). This proverb gives the same connection. To mock or give to the poor is to mock or give to God, respectively. Jesus affirmed this in the judgment narrative in Matthew 25:40, 46. The word for pity means to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior. The context with lendeth and pay him again, obviously indicates a giving to the poor. The second phrase promises a recompense for compassionate generosity. God promises reward that could come in different forms and at different times (Proverbs 11:24-25; 28:27).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 17:5

Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Marker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.
– Proverbs 17:5

The word for mocketh means to deride, or ridicule. The word for reproacheth means to defame, or blaspheme. The poor are those who are destitute and needy. The first shows that selfish cruel treatment of the unfortunate is a slight not only to them, but to the God who made them (Proverbs 14:31; Exodus 4:11). The word for calamities means misfortune, or ruin. The word for unpunished means to be held guiltless, or innocent. The second phrase furthers the seriousness of the first. To rejoice in the calamities of others and to take delight in their ruin is evil and God will avenge it (Proverbs 16:5; 24:17).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Next Page »