Proverbs 18:23
The poor uses entreaties; but the rich answers roughly.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) The rich answereth roughly.—A warning against the hardening effect of riches. (Comp. Mark 10:23.)

Proverbs 18:23. The poor useth entreaties — Humbly begs the favour of rich and powerful men, as his necessities and occasions require; but the rich answereth roughly — Speaks proudly and scornfully, either to the poor, or to others that converse with him, being puffed up with a conceit of his riches and self-sufficiency.18:19. Great care must be taken to prevent quarrels among relations and those under obligations to each other. Wisdom and grace make it easy to forgive; but corruption makes it difficult. 20. The belly is here put for the heart, as elsewhere; and what that is filled with, our satisfaction will be accordingly, and our inward peace. 21. Many a one has caused his own death, or the death of others, by a false or injurious tongue. 22. A good wife is a great blessing to a man, and it is a token of Divine favour. 23. Poverty tells men they must not order or demand. And at the throne of God's grace we are all poor, and must use entreaties. 24. Christ Jesus never will forsake those who trust in and love him. May we be such friends to others, for our Master's sake. Having loved his own, which were in the world, he loved them unto the end; and we are his friends if we do whatever he commands us, Joh 15:14.Note the paradox. The poor man, of whom one might expect roughness, supplicates; the rich, well nurtured, from whom one might look for courtesy, answers harshly and brusquely. 23. the rich … roughly—He is tolerated because rich, implying that the estimate of men by wealth is wrong. Useth entreaties; humbly begs the favour of rich men, as his necessities and occasions require it.

Answereth roughly; speaketh proudly and scornfully, either to the poor, or to others that converse with him, being puffed up with a conceit of his riches, and of his self-sufficiency. The poor useth entreaties,.... Or "supplications" (a); he is an humble supplicant to others for favours he asks in a submissive and lowly manner; he does not demand anything, nor prescribe what shall be done for him, but modestly tells his case, and submits it; so such who are poor in spirit are humble supplicants at the throne of grace;

but the rich answereth roughly; being proud and haughty, lifted up with their riches, and in fear of none, they answer others with hard and rough words, especially their inferiors, and particularly the poor. This is not what ought to be, but what commonly is. This verse and Proverbs 18:24 are not in the Arabic version.

(a) "supplicationes", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Michaelis.

The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 23. - This and the following verse, and the first two verses of the next chapter, are not found in the chief manuscripts of the Septuagint, though in later codices they have been supplied from the version of Theodotion. The Codex Venetus Marcianus (23, Holmes and Parsons) is the only uncial that contains them. The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly. The irony of the passage is more strongly expressed by Siracides: "The rich man hath done wrong, and yet he threateneth withal: the poor is wronged, and he must intreat also" (Ecclus. 13:3). The rich man not only does wrong, but accompanies the injury with passionate language and abuse, as if he were the sufferer; while the poor man has humbly to ask pardon, as if he were in the wrong. Thus the Roman satirist writes -

"Libertas pauperis haec est:
Pulsatus rogat et pugnis concisus adorat,
Ut liceat paucis cum dentibus inde reverti."

(Juv., 'Sat.,' 3:299.) Aben Ezra explains the verse as denoting that a poor man making a submissive request from a rich man is answered cruelly and roughly. The hardening effect of wealth is seen in our Lord's parables of Dives and Lazarus (Luke 16), and the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18). 17 He that is first in his controversy is right;

     But there cometh another and searcheth him thoroughly -

an exhortation to be cautious in a lawsuit, and not to justify without more ado him who first brings forward his cause, and supports it by reasons, since, if the second party afterwards search into the reasons of the first, they show themselves untenable. הראשׁון בּריבו are to be taken together; the words are equivalent to אשׁר יבא בריבו בראשׁונה: qui prior cum causa sua venit, i.e., eam ad judicem defert (Fl.). הראשׁון may, however, also of itself alone be qui prior venit; and בריבו will be taken with צדיק: justus qui prior venit in causa sua (esse videtur). The accentuation rightly leaves the relation undecided. Instead of יבא (יבא) the Kerı̂ has וּבא, as it elsewhere, at one time, changes the fut. into the perf. with ו (e.g., Proverbs 20:4; Jeremiah 6:21); and, at another time, the perf. with ו into the fut. (e.g., Psalm 10:10; Isaiah 5:29). But here, where the perf. consec. is not so admissible, as Proverbs 6:11; Proverbs 20:4, the fut. ought to remain unchanged. רעהוּ is the other part, synon. with בעל דין חברו, Sanhedrin 7b, where the אזהרה לבית־דין (admonition for the court of justice) is derived from Deuteronomy 1:16, to hear the accused at the same time with the accuser, that nothing of the latter may be adopted beforehand. This proverb is just such an audiatur et altera pars. The status controversiae is only brought fairly into the light by the hearing of the altera pars: then comes the other and examines him (the first) to the very bottom. חקר, elsewhere with the accus. of the thing, e.g., ריב ,., thoroughly to search into a strife, Job 29:16, is here, as at Job 28:11, connected with the accus. of the person: to examine or lay bare any one thoroughly; here, so that the misrepresentations of the state of the matter might come out to view along with the reasons assigned by the accuser.

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