|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:6. An honest desire to do right, preserves a man from fatal mistakes, better than a thousand fine-drawn distinctions. 7. Some who are really poor, trade and spend as if they were rich: this is sin, and will be shame, and it will end accordingly. Some that are really rich, would be thought to be poor: in this there is want of gratitude to God, want of justice and charity to others. There are many hypocrites, empty of grace, who will not be convinced of their poverty. There are many fearing Christians, who are spiritually rich, yet think themselves poor; by their doubts, and complaints, and griefs, they make themselves poor. 8. Great riches often tempt to violence against those that possess them; but the poor are free from such perils. 9. The light of the righteous is as that of the sun, which may be eclipsed and clouded, but will continue: the Spirit is their Light, he gives a fulness of joy: that of the wicked is as a lamp of their own kindling, easily put out. 10. All contentions, whether between private persons, families, churches, or nations, are begun and carried forward by pride. Disputes would be easily prevented or ended, if it were not for pride. 11. Wealth gotten by dishonesty or vice, has a secret curse, which will speedily waste it. 12. The delay of what is anxiously hoped for, is very painful to the mind; obtaining it is very pleasant. But spiritual blessings are chiefly intended.
Verse 8. - The ransom of a man's life are his riches. A rich man can save himself from many difficulties and dangers by the sacrifice of a portion of his wealth, e.g. when his money or his life is demanded by a robber; when men in authority make extortionate demands on pain of death; or when he has incurred extreme penalty by infringement of law (Exodus 21:22, 30). Spiritually discerned, the passage recalls Christ's injunction, "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles" (Luke 16:9). The poor heareth not rebuke; has not to listen to (Job 3:18) threats from the covetous or abuse from the envious. He has nothing to lose, and no one can gain anything by interfering with him. So the poor man is at peace. "A hundred men cannot rob one pauper."
"Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The ransom of a man's life are his riches,.... As Benhadad's were to him, when he was in the hands of the king of Israel, 1 Kings 20:34; and as the treasures the ten men had in the field were to them, for the sake of which Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, slew them not, Jeremiah 41:8. This is the advantage of riches when a man is taken captive in war, or by pirates, or is in the hands of thieves and robbers, he can redeem himself by his money; or when his life is in danger by diseases, he can procure healing medicines; or by famine, he can get food to preserve it, when a poor man cannot: but this is not to be done always, and is only to be understood of a temporal life; for, as to the spiritual and eternal redemption of the soul of man, that requires a greater ransom price than such corruptible things as silver and gold; nothing short of the precious blood of Christ is sufficient for that, Job 36:18. Moreover, these words may not so much design the convenience as the inconvenience of riches to men; since these often invite thieves to assault their persons, and break into their houses, and threaten their lives; and put wicked men upon forming schemes, and drawing up charges and accusations against them, purely to get their money; which bring their lives into danger, and which they can only redeem by their riches;
but the poor heareth not rebuke; no charge and accusation is brought against him; no rebuke or reproof is given him; no notice is taken of him, because nothing is to be got from him; he may sleep with his door unlocked, thieves will give him no disturbance; he may travel upon the road without being bid to stand (c). Jarchi interprets this of him that is poor in the law; that hearkens not to reproofs and admonitions, given him to depart from evil: but rather it may be applied to the poor in spirit; who trust not in themselves and their own righteousness, but in the grace of God and righteousness of Christ; who indeed hear the rebukes of good men, and take them kindly; and of bad men, and return not revilings for them; and also the rebukes of Providence, or the chastisements of their heavenly Father, yet they will never hear any rebuke in wrath from him here or hereafter; when the rich in their own conceit, who trust in their riches and righteousness, and think to ransom their souls from death by them, will have rebukes with flames of fire.
(c) "Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator", Juvenal. Sat. 10. v. 23.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. Riches save some from punishment, while others suffer because they will not heed the rebuke of sloth, which makes and keeps them poor.
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