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.

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Proverbs 19:1

Introduction
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.

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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.

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Proverbs 18:11

The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.
– Proverbs 18:11

This proverb is linked to the previous one with similar images, though wealth is contrasted with the name of the Lord as safety. Wealth has benefits and offers protections of a sort on earth, but those are limited. Wealth in itself is neither good nor bad, right nor wrong. Trusting in riches is to be ultimately confounded (Proverbs 11:4).

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Proverbs 17:1

Introduction
Chapter 17 continues the “Proverbs of Solomon.” The proverbs in this chapter are general with no grouping. They touch on a variety of topics, such as fools, speech, friendships, etc.

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than a house full of sacrifices with strife.
– Proverbs 17:1

The overall statement of this proverb is being poor but having peace is better than being prosperous but having contentions. A dry morsel is a crust of bread without anything on it or to dip it in. It is a poor meal (Proverbs 15:17). The word for quietness means peace and security. A house full refers to abundance and sacrifices, by the parallelism, refers to a feast. The word for strife means controversy or dispute. Opportunities abound in life for strife, but wisdom avoids and appeases it, while folly starts it or enflames it (Proverbs 15:17; 17:14; 18:6; 20:3; 26:17, 21).

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Proverbs 16:16

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
– Proverbs 16:16

Verse 16 starts a new group of proverbs themed around general wisdom. This group goes through verse 30 and touches on general wisdom topics, e.g., wealth, speech, work, etc. The word for better means good in its root form and is used here comparatively. The second phrase of this proverb is likewise comparative in choosing to get understanding over silver. Comparison is common in the Proverbs and it means the things compared are not antithetical. So here, wisdom and wealth are compared, but not shown to be opposites. The proverb states it’s better, or more important, to seek and acquire wisdom than gold and silver.

Proverbs mentions many things better than wealth: righteousness or justice (Proverbs 15:27; 16:8); family love (Proverbs 15:17; 17:1); and honesty and integrity (Proverbs 19:1, 22). Proverbs emphatically teaches wisdom is better than wealth (Proverbs 3:15-18; 8:10-11, 19). Choose wisdom above all, whether wealth comes or not (Proverbs 4:7).

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Proverbs 16:8

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
– Proverbs 16:8

Proverbs doesn’t denounce wealth in itself, just as the rest of Scripture, though wealth is never exalted as a goal or the ultimate mark of God’s favor. This proverb highlights wealth in relation to ethics and approaching legality. The terms, righteousness and right, refer to justice. The contrast is between having little or great revenues, or income. The proverb does not exalt poverty, for little is what we would call a modest income. The point of interest is how the little or the great is obtained. It is better to be just in whatever we have, whether little or great (Proverbs 15:16; 21:6-7).

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Proverbs 15:27

He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.
– Proverbs 15:27

The word for greedy means covetous, but also violence. The greedy want gain at all costs, even to death (Proverbs 1:19). They are in a hurry to get rich (Proverbs 28:22). Greed is a driving force rather than wisdom and brings trouble, or disturbance, to his own house (Proverbs 11:29). The contrasting phrase juxtaposes life, so we infer pursuing greed leads to death (Proverbs 11:19). The way of wisdom and way of life is to hate gifts (Proverbs 8:13). The word for gifts means a present. The word sometimes means a bribe and Proverbs warns against bribes to pervert justice (Proverbs 28:16; 29:4).

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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).

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