Monday, November 26, 2012

The poverty of proverbs

The Old Testament book of Proverbs contains much wisdom about life: relationships, money, work, speech,...
It can provide comfort and inspiration as we strain to achieve our Western middle class goals and aspirations.
But, perhaps we skim too easily over verses such as the following.
The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food, but it is swept away through injustice. 
Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor. 
Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. 
It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. 
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed. 
Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. 
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. 
Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. 
Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty. 
Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate, 
Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse. 
Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

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