The Rights of the Poor (Notes on Proverbs)

My Son, Hear My Words: Notes on Proverbs

The following is an excerpt from the book, My Son, Hear My Words: Notes on Proverbs.

The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor, the wicked does not understand such concern” (29:7). The phrase, “rights of the poor,” refers to the application of justice – that the poor will be treated fairly. Often those who are rich are able to manipulate the justice system to their advantage (cf. 17:23). But Solomon is clear: “To show partiality to the wicked is not good, nor to thrust aside the righteous in judgment” (18:5; cf. 24:23; 28:21). In order for justice to be carried out, the rich must have no advantage over the poor. However, the poor are not to be given special treatment either, as this is also a perversion of justice. The Law of Moses was clear about this. After telling the people not to “pervert justice,” God adds: “nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute” (Exodus 23:2-3). For justice to be carried out, all men must be treated impartially as equals.

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