Right in Social Relations
Proverbs 22:22-29
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:…

I. RELATIONS TO THE POOR. (Vers. 22, 23.)

1. Robbery and oppression are a breach of the positive external law (Exodus 20:15), much more of the inward and eternal law written in the heart, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

2. The perversion of law and magisterial authority to this end is an aggravation of the offence. It makes the refuge of the poor the market for bribery.

3. Above all, such oppression shows contempt for the authority of God. Among his titles to the throne of the world are these - that he is Protector of the helpless, Father of the fatherless, Judge of widows. The judgment on Ahab and the Captivity in Babylon (1 Kings 21:18-24; Isaiah 33:1) may be referred to as examples of retributive judgment on the spoilers of the poor.

II. AGAINST ASSOCIATION WITH PASSIONATE AND PRECIPITATE MEN. (Vers. 24, 28.) It is a contagious temper. How soon is the habit of hot and violent language caught up from another! It is a dangerous temper. "Never anger made good guard for itself." It becomes more hurtful than the injury which provoked it. It is often an affected temper, compounded of pride and folly, and an intention to do commonly more mischief than it can bring to pass.

III. AGAINST THE RASH INCURRING OF LIABILITIES. (Vers. 26, 27; see on Proverbs 6:1-4; Proverbs 11:15; Proverbs 17:18; Proverbs 20:16.)

IV. AGAINST THE REMOVAL OF THE OLD LANDMARKS. (Ver. 28. See the express commands of the Law, Deuteronomy 19:14; Deuteronomy 27:17; Job 24:2; Hosea 5:10.) A strict respect for the righits of others is the foundation of all social order. And connected with this is the duty of respect for the feelings for what is ancient and time honoured. There should be no violent change in old customs of life and thought. Necessity may compel them; caprice should never dictate them. A spirit ever restless and bent on innovation is a nuisance in society. The existence of a custom is a proof of its meaning and relative worth; until it is discerned that the significance is now a false one, it should not be swept away.


1. A man must know his business in the world. This is determined partly by his talents, partly by providential circumstances. "Know thy work "is as important a precept as "Know thyself."

2. He must be diligent in his business, doing "with his might" what his band finds to do, laboring "with both hands earnestly" in every good cause.

3. The result will be advancement and honour. We have shining examples in Joseph, Nehemiah, Daniel. Ability and capacity are no less acquired than natural; use alone fully brings to light the talent, and to it Providence opens the suitable sphere of activity. Men may seem to be failures in this world who are not really so. He alone can judge of the fidelity of the heart who is to utter at the end of the sentence, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" "Many that are first will be last, and the last first." - J.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:

WEB: Don't exploit the poor, because he is poor; and don't crush the needy in court;

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