Proverbs 14:20
The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
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(20) The poor is hated even of his own neighbour.—This sad experience of life is repeated in Proverbs 19:7. The following verse serves as a corrective of this selfish tendency of mankind.

Proverbs 14:20. The poor is hated — That is, despised and abandoned, as hateful persons and things are; of his own neighbour — Strictly so called of persons nearest to him, either by habitation or relation, and therefore most obliged to love and help him; but the rich hath many friends — As matter of fact daily shows. Every one is ready to make court to those whom the world smiles upon, though otherwise unworthy. Such, however, are not so much friends to the rich as to their riches, hoping to get some benefit by them. There is little friendship in the world but what is governed by self- interest, which is no true friendship at all; nor what a wise man will value himself upon, or put any confidence in.

14:18. Sin is the shame of sinners; but wisdom is the honour of the wise. 19. Even bad men acknowledge the excellency of God's people. 20. Friendship in the world is governed by self-interest. It is good to have God our Friend; he will not desert us. 21. To despise a man for his employment or appearance is a sin. 22. How wisely those consult their own interest, who not only do good, but devise it! 23. Labour of the head, or of the hand, will turn to some good account. But if men's religion runs all out in talk and noise, they will come to nothing. 24. The riches of men of wisdom and piety enlarge their usefulness. 25. An upright man will venture the displeasure of the greatest, to bring truth to light. 26,27. Those who fear the Lord so as to obey and serve him, have a strong ground of confidence, and will be preserved. Let us seek to this Fountain of life, that we may escape the snares of death. 28. Let all that wish well to the kingdom of Christ, do what they can, that many may be added to his church. 29. A mild, patient man is one that learns of Christ, who is Wisdom itself. Unbridled passion is folly made known. 30. An upright, contented, and benevolent mind, tends to health. 31. To oppress the poor is to reproach our Creator. 32. The wicked man has his soul forced from him; he dies in his sins, under the guilt and power of them. But godly men, though they have pain and some dread of death, have the blessed hope, which God, who cannot lie, has given them. 33. Wisdom possesses the heart, and thus regulates the affections and tempers. 34. Piety and holiness always promote industry, sobriety, and honesty. 35. The great King who reigns over heaven and earth, will reward faithful servants who honour his gospel by the proper discharge of the duties of their stations: he despises not the services of the lowest.The maxim, jarring as it is, represents the generalization of a wide experience; but the words which follow Proverbs 14:21 show that it is not to be taken by itself. In spite of all the selfish morality of mere prudence, the hearer is warned that to despise his "neighbor" (Christians must take the word in all the width given to it by the parable of the Good Samaritan) is to sin. The fullness of blessing comes on him who sees in the poor the objects of his mercy. 20. This sad but true picture of human nature is not given approvingly, but only as a fact. Is hated, i.e. despised and abandoned, as hateful persons and things are.

His own neighbour; strictly so called, who is nearest to him, either by habitation or by relation, and therefore most obliged to love and help him.

The poor is hated even of his own neighbour,.... As well as of strangers; that is, he is shy of him; he does not care to take any notice of him, or be friendly with him, lest he should be burdensome to him. Poverty brings a man into contempt and disgrace; the same man, in affluence and indigence, is respected or disrespected: this is true, as Gersom observes, of a man that is poor, whether in money or in knowledge, in his purse or in his understanding;

but the rich hath many friends; or, "many are the lovers of the rich" (r): for the sake of their riches; either for the sake of honour or profit, or because the rich want nothing of them, or because they themselves may gain something by them: this also is observed by the above Jewish commentator to be true of the rich in substance or in wisdom; but the former sense is best; for a wise man, if poor in the world, is but little regarded.

(r) "et amatores divitiis spissi", Schultens; "dilectores autem divitis multi sunt", Piscator. "Donec eris felix, multos numerabis amicos", Ovid. Trist. Eleg. 8. "Dat census honores, census amicitias", ib. Fasti, l. 1. so Phocylides, v. 925, 926.

The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
Verse 20. - The poor is hated even of his own neighbour (Proverbs 19:4, 7). This sad experience of selfishness (comp. Ecclus. 6:8, etc.; 12:8) is corrected by the following verse, which must be taken in connection with this; at the same time, it is a truth which has been expressed in various ways by many moralists and satirists. Says the Greek Theognis -

Πᾶς τις πλούσιον ἄνδρα τίει ἀτίει δὲ πενιχρόν.

"The rich all honour, but the poor man slight." Says Ovid, 'Trist.,' 1:9. 6 -

"Donec eris felix, multos numerabis amicos;
Tempora si fuerint nubila, solus eris."

"Prosperous, you many friends will own;
In cloudy days you stand alone." In the Talmud we find (Dukes, 'Rabb. Blum.'), "At the door of the tavern there are many brethren and friends, at the poor man's gate not one." The rich hath many friends. Says Theognis again -

Αϋ μεν ἔχοντος ἐμοῦ πολλοὶ φίλοι η}ν δέ τι δεινον
Συγκύρσῃ παῦροι πιστὸν ἔχουσι νόον And again, a distich which might have been written today -

Πλήθει δ ἀνθρώπων ἀρετὴ μία γίγνεται ἥδε
Πλουτεῖν τῶν δ ἄλλων οὐδὲν ἄρ η΅ν ὄφελος

"One only virtue you must needs possess
(As say the most of men), and that is wealth;
All others are of small account."
Proverbs 14:20Three proverbs on the hatred of men:

20 The poor is hated even by his neighbour;

     But of those who love the rich there are many.

This is the old history daily repeating itself. Among all people is the saying and the complaint:

Donec eris felix multos numerabis amicos,

Tempora si fuerint nubilia solus eris.

(Note: Ovid, Trist. i.8.)

The Book of Proverbs also speaks of this lamentable phenomenon. It is a part of the dark side of human nature, and one should take notice of it, so that when it goes well with him, he may not regard his many friends as all genuine, and when he becomes poor, he may not be surprised by the dissolution of earlier friendship, but may value so much the higher exceptions to the rule. The connection of the passive with ל of the subject (cf. Proverbs 13:13), as in the Greek with the dative, is pure Semitic; sometimes it stands with מן, but in the sense of ἀπό, Sol 3:10, before the influence of the West led to its being used in the sense of ὑπό (Ges. 143, 2); ישּׂנא, is hated (Cod. 1294: ישּׂנא, connects with the hatred which is directed against the poor also the indifference which makes him without sympathy, for one feels himself troubled by him and ashamed.

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