1. The wicked flee when no one pursues,
but the righteous are bold as a lion.
2. When a land transgresses, it has many rulers,
but with a man of understanding and knowledge,
its stability will long continue.
3. A poor man who oppresses the poor
is a beating rain that leaves no food.
4. Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
but those who keep the law strive against them.
5. Evil men do not understand justice,
but those who seek the LORD understand it completely.
6. Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
7. The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding,
but a companion of gluttons shames his father.
8. Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit
gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.
9. If one turns away his ear from hearing the law,
even his prayer is an abomination.
10. Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way
will fall into his own pit,
but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.
11. A rich man is wise in his own eyes,
but a poor man who has understanding will find him out.
12. When the righteous triumph, there is great glory,
but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.
13. Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
14. Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always,
but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
Comment: Using the same method as yesterday I wish to pick out the thoughts on poverty. It isn’t seen as punishment nor are the poor seen as an object for derision but Solomon wants them treated justly.
- 3. A poor man fighting another poor man is like heavy rain beating down on a crop so that there is no harvest left. He’s wasting his time.
- 6. A poor man with integrity is much ‘richer’ than a crooked rich man.
- 8. Not easy to understand for me. The assumption is either that the wealthy man is generous, which is by no means always true. Or maybe it is a bit like the line in Hamlet where the king takes a trip through the belly of a beggar; the king dies, is buried, eaten by worms which are used as bait by a beggar who catches a fish and eats ‘the king’. Riches can’t be taken to the grave with you and with taxes etc, the beggar gets his share of the rich man’s left behind wealth. I don’t think Solomon had read Shakespeare!
- 11. A man, wise in his own eyes, can be seen through by an astute poor man.
- 14. Rich or poor, it is much better to fear the Lord God and not to harden your heart!
Prayer: May my riches be chiefly in character, please.