Proverbs 19:7

All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him! He pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.
– Proverbs 19:7

The kin of the poor are said to hate him. His friends have even less reason or attachment and so abandon him as well. The word for pursueth means to run after, and he has nothing to offer them but his words, or pleadings (Proverbs 18:23). The poor man has no leverage or natural attraction for people, so he is hated by all (Proverbs 14:20). This proverb furthers the observations of Proverbs 19:4, 6.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 19:4

Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbor.
– Proverbs 19:4

The word for maketh means to add. Wealth adds many friends, or continues to add them. The word for friends is a common and general word that can cover a range of associations. The same word is translated neighbor in the second phrase. The contrast indicates the poor lose friends as the rich add them (Proverbs 14:20). This proverb is a wisdom observation and complements Proverbs 18:24.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 19:1

Chapter 19 continues the proverbs of Solomon. The chapter touches on friendships, wealth, laziness, the home, and more.

Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
– Proverbs 19:1

We expect the poor to be contrasted with the rich, and Proverbs 28:6 does that in a similar proverb. So the fool in the second phrase is understood to be a wealthy fool. The word for integrity means completeness, or innocence in the sense of being blameless. It is sometimes translated as upright. Walking uprightly means having wisdom and walking in wisdom (Proverbs 2:6-7; 13:6; 20:7). The word for perverse means distorted, or crooked. It is sometimes translated as froward. Cleverness is implicit in the twisting of words by the obstinate fool. Being poor and possessing wisdom is possible and better than being such a rich fool.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 18:23

The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.
– Proverbs 18:23

The next several proverbs speak of the poor, rich, and friendships. The word for intreaties means supplication, so it is a humble request. The word for roughly means harshly. The proverb contrasts the rich and poor and how they interact in society. Wisdom observes the limitations of the poor, which humble him to mercy pleas. Wisdom also observes the conveniences the rich have to harden them to such pleas.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 15:17

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
– Proverbs 15:17

This proverb also deals with wealth, though indirectly. Wealth is not the focus, rather the contrast of love and hatred. To have love is to have good relationships with family and even friends. It is to have a home of peace and contentment. The dinner of herbs is a modest meal as opposed to the stalled ox, which is an indication of means. Love is absent where hatred is present and it brings strife and contention to a house. Obviously, the first condition is better than the second with a house of strife, anger, and contentions (Proverbs 17:1; 21:19).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 13:8

The ransom of a man’s life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.
– Proverbs 13:8

The word for ransom means a price or even a bribe. The word for rebuke in this context likely means a threat. This proverb is obscure but it seems the contrast indicates a rich man is a target for extortion perhaps, whereas the poor man offers no such target and is not bothered with the fear of it. In this sense, the poor man is freer.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 13:7

There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
– Proverbs 13:7

This proverb seems ambiguous. It is a wisdom observation and doesn’t immediately make a value judgment. One way to take it is as an ironic statement. Some people have great wealth but really have nothing and are poor because wealth is all they have. Some have no wealth but are truly rich because of all they do have in terms of people and relationships. The moral in this case would be that money is not everything. Another way to take it, and the way that seems most natural, is as a character observation. Men are not always what they seem to be. Some pretend to be rich and they are not. Others pretend to be poor and they are not. Wisdom then will look beyond superficial appearances.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 11:24

There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
– Proverbs 11:24

This proverb and the next two deal with generous giving and its reward. This first proverb reveals God’s counterintuitive economy. The one who scatters is the one who gives generously with an open hand. It would seem that generous giving would diminish and reduce a person to poverty. Yet, wisdom teaches the contrary that it increases a person. He that withholds is stingy, greedy, and grasping. They cannot and will not give because they believe it will lead them to poverty. Yet, wisdom teaches that is exactly what happens to those who withhold.

The few proverbs here don’t give a full explanation of the rewards for giving, but we can fill out that picture from the rest of Scripture. Some have erred badly here by supposing they have found some secret to growing rich on this earth. Prosperity preachers grow rich by selling this erroneous notion to eager coveters. God does reward generous giving (Deuteronomy 15:10-11; Psalm 112:9; 2 Corinthians 9:6-9). The few verses referenced sufficiently show that God’s reward of giving is not to make a person wealthy on this earth. He rewards giving by the giver having sufficient for his needs and to keep on giving. Unquestionably, some of those rewards are spiritual rewards and treasure laid up in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-20).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 10:15

The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.
– Proverbs 10:15

There are some truths about life and reality that we simply have to face. Wealth can be a defense and help to those who have it. Poverty can be the vulnerability and isolation of those who suffer it. Solomon later warns we should not be hasty to decide wealth or poverty is better to have (Ecclesiastes 6:8, 12). Wisdom is discerning the world we actually live in and not the world we “imagine.” The world we live in is subject to vanity (Ecclesiastes 6:9) and there are realities about wealth and poverty we cannot escape (Proverbs 14:20; 18:23; 19:7; 22:7).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Next Page »