Proverbs 18:23
The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth 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). Proverbs 18:2323 The poor uttereth suppliant entreaties;

     And the rich answereth rudenesses.

The oriental proverbial poetry furnishes many parallels to this. It delights in the description of the contrast between a suppliant poor man and the proud and avaricious rich man; vid., e.g., Samachschari's Goldene Halsbnder, No. 58. תּחנוּנים, according to its meaning, refers to the Hithpa. התחנּן, misericordiam alicujus pro se imploravit; cf. the old vulgar "barmen," i.e., to seek to move others to Erbarmen [compassion] (רחמים). עזּות, dura, from עז (synon. קשׁה), hard, fast, of bodies, and figuratively of an unbending, hard, haughty disposition, and thence of words of such a nature (Fl.). Both nouns are accus. of the object, as Job 40:27, תחנונים with the parallel רכּות. The proverb expresses a fact of experience as a consolation to the poor to whom, if a rich man insults him, nothing unusual occurs, and as a warning to the rich that he may not permit himself to be divested of humanity by mammon. A hard wedge to a hard clod; but whoever, as the Scripture saith, grindeth the poor by hard stubborn-hearted conduct, and grindeth his bashful face (Isaiah 3:15), challenges unmerciful judgment against himself; for the merciful, only they shall obtain mercy, αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθήσονται (Matthew 5:7).

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