The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
The mere circumstance of being rich gives one man superiority over another who is poor. He who is forced to borrow is placed on that very account in a sort of relative inferiority to him whose position enables him to lend. These words may be compared with those attributed to the Lord Jesus, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
I. THE PRINCIPLE MAY BE UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED AND ACTED UPON. Though a man may have received much — a vigorous intellect, a commanding judgment, a rich imagination — he will be miserable if he can give nothing. If a man were assured that he would never be permitted to tell what he had done or recite what he had seen, he loses at once the great impetus which urges him to do much or to see much. A man is not satisfied with being rich, he must be in circumstances to give; some one must be borrower, while he is a lender. It is the giving which makes the receiving of any worth. What is the reason of this alleged supremacy of giving over receiving?
1. The resemblance which is thus acquired to our Redeemer and Creator. If God be love, there is no presumption in supposing that without objects over which the love might expand the Almighty Himself would have remained unsatisfied. Lending, not borrowing, constitutes the happiness of God. And there is more like-mindedness to Christ in giving than in receiving.
2. The giver or the lender has necessarily an advantage over the receiver or the borrower, and this explains how the one is the servant of the other. In all cases the giving seems to imply a relative superiority and the receiving a relative inferiority.
3. Notice the reflex character of benevolence which causes that whatever is bestowed is restored to us tenfold.
II. OBJECTIONS URGED AGAINST THE STATEMENT OF THE TEXT. In dividing society into the lenders and the borrowers you would exclude the vast majority of mankind from the possibility of being charitable. But being charitable is not limited to any class of society. The poor man may be a giver as well as the rich. God has not granted to the wealthy a monopoly of benevolence.
(H. Melvill, B.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.