|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22:1 We should be more careful to do that by which we may get and keep a good name, than to raise or add unto a great estate. 2. Divine Providence has so ordered it, that some are rich, and others poor, but all are guilty before God; and at the throne of God's grace the poor are as welcome as the rich. 3. Faith foresees the evil coming upon sinners, and looks to Jesus Christ as the sure refuge from the storm. 4. Where the fear of God is, there will be humility. And much is to be enjoyed by it; spiritual riches, and eternal life at last. 5. The way of sin is vexatious and dangerous. But the way of duty is safe and easy. 6. Train children, not in the way they would go, that of their corrupt hearts, but in the way they should go; in which, if you love them, you would have them go. As soon as possible every child should be led to the knowledge of the Saviour. 7. This shows how important it is for every man to keep out of debt. As to the things of this life, there is a difference between the rich and the poor; but let the poor remember, it is the Lord that made the difference. 8. The power which many abuse, will soon fail them. 9. He that seeks to relieve the wants and miseries of others shall be blessed. 10. Profane scoffers and revilers disturb the peace. 11. God will be the Friend of a man in whose spirit there is no guile; this honour have all the saints. 12. God turns the counsels and designs of treacherous men to their own confusion. 13. The slothful man talks of a lion without, but considers not his real danger from the devil, that roaring lion within, and from his own slothfulness, which kills him. 14. The vile sin of licentiousness commonly besots the mind beyond recovery. 15. Sin is foolishness, it is in the heart, there is an inward inclination to sin: children bring it into the world with them; and it cleaves close to the soul. We all need to be corrected by our heavenly Father. 16. We are but stewards, and must distribute what God intrusts to our care, according to his will.
Verse 16. - He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches (so the Vulgate), and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want. There are various renderings and explanations of this verse. The Authorized Version says that he who oppresseth the poor to enrich himself, and he who wastes his means by giving to those who do not need it, will come to poverty. But the antithesis of this distich is thus lost. The Hebrew literally rendered brings out the contrast, Whosoever oppresseth the poor, it is for his gain; whosoever giveth to the rich, it is for his loss. Delitzsch explains the sentence thus: "He who enriches himself by extortion from the poor, at any rate gains what he desires; but he who gives to the rich impoverishes himself in vain, has no thanks, reaps only disappointment." One cannot but feel that the maxim thus interpreted is poor and unsatisfactory. The interpretation in the 'Speaker's Commentary' is more plausible: The oppressor of the poor will himself suffer in a similar mode, and will have to surrender his ill-gotten gains to some equally unscrupulous rich man. But the terse antithesis of the original is wholly obscured by this view of the distich. It is far better, with Hitzig, Ewald, and others, to take the gain in the first hemistich as that of the poor man, equivalent to "doth but bring him gain;" though the sentence is not necessarily to be explained as suggesting that the injustice which the poor man suffers at the hand of his wealthy neighbour is a stimulus to him to exert himself in order to better his position, and thus indirectly tends to his enrichment. The maxim is really conceived in the religious style of so many of these apparently worldly pronouncements, and states a truth in the moral government of God intimated elsewhere, e.g. Proverbs 13:22; Proverbs 28:8; and that truth is that the riches extorted from the poor man will in the end redound to his benefit, that by God's providential control the oppression and injustice from which he has suffered shall work to his good. In the second hemistich the loss is that of the rich man. By adding to the wealth of the rich the donor increases his indolence, encourages his luxury, vice, and extravagance, and thus leads to his ruin - "bringeth only to want. Septuagint, "He that calumniates (συκοφαντῶν) the poor increaseth his own substance, but giveth to the rich at a loss (ἐπ ἐλάσσονι)" i.e. so as to lessen his substance.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches,.... By taking away from them the little they have; by keeping back their hire, defrauding them of the just wages of their labours; or by usury and extortion, or any other unjust method, whereby they distress the poor, and enrich themselves;
and he that giveth to the rich shall surely come to want: that gives to those that are richer than he; or that are in greater power and authority, that they may protect him in the possession of his ill gotten riches; yet, after all, it shall not thrive and prosper with him, it will all issue in poverty and want: or, as the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "he shall give to one more rich, and shall want"; he shall be forced to give it to another richer than he, and of greater power, and so shall get nothing by his oppression of the poor; but as he has served the poor, so shall he be served himself, and be brought to beggary and want; see Proverbs 21:13.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. These two vices pertain to the same selfish feeling. Both are deservedly odious to God and incur punishment.
Proverbs 22:16 Parallel Commentaries
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