Proverb for the Day 22:16 — He Be Watching!

One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.

This wise saying discusses two of the most mentioned characters in Proverbs – “the poor” and “the rich.” The message here is that our relationship to them will make a difference in our lives.

“One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth” talks about both actions (“oppresses the poor”) and motivations (“to increase his wealth”). Neither is very good.

“One who gives gifts to the rich” would not seem to be a bad thing. But, it’s probably suggesting a selfish focus. The rich don’t need any more gifts! But I may want something for myself and think giving stuff to them just might hook me up!

So the actions discussed in this verse – toward the poor or the rich – that are for my own benefit, will do me no good. I will “come to poverty.” That’s certainly not be the end result for which I’d be looking.

Admittedly, God isn’t even mentioned here, But He’s clearly the One watching and moving behind the scenes to deal with us, our poor motives and inappropriate actions.

So this verse is just a good reminder that, like it might be said here in East Baltimore, — “He be watching!”