There is that makes himself rich, yet has nothing: there is that makes himself poor, yet has great riches.
This proverb denotes either a mean, social fact, or a grand moral contrast. Here is the man who makes himself out to be rich, either to gratify his vanity or to impose on and defraud others. And here is the man who makes himself out to be poor, that he may escape the reproach of neglecting his own kith and kin. Both are essentially and execrably hypocritical. In the first is the hypocrisy of vanity; in the second of greed. Both are dishonest and demoralising. A corrupt state of society alone suggests such expedients, and only a depraved man resorts to them. The Old and New Testaments distinguish between the outer and the inner man. We may make the outer either nurture or kill the inner man. The two conditions, poverty and wealth, betoken no moral difference; they do betoken great social difference. Spiritually the extremes of each may be utterly reversed. The rich may spiritually have nothing, and the poor have great riches. But poverty is not necessarily the concomitant of piety.
Parallel VersesKJV: There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.