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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 13:7

 

 

There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing; Another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth.

Adam Clarke Commentary

There is that maketh himself rich - That labors hard to acquire money, yet hath nothing; his excessive covetousness not being satisfied with what he possesses, nor permitting him to enjoy with comfort what he has acquired. The fable of the dog in the manger will illustrate this.

There is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches - "As poor," said St. Paul, "yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things." The former is the rich poor man; the latter is the poor rich man.

As the words are here in the hithpael conjugation, which implies reflex action, or the action performed on one's self, and often signifies feigning or pretending to be what one is not, or not to be what one is; the words may be understood of persons who feign or pretend to be either richer or poorer than they really are, to accomplish some particular purpose. "There is that feigneth himself to be rich, yet hath nothing; there is that feigneth himself to be poor, yet hath great riches." Both these characters frequently occur in life.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Compare Proverbs 11:24. There is a seeming wealth behind which there lies a deep spiritual poverty and wretchedness. There is a poverty which makes a person rich for the kingdom of God.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-13.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 13:7

There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing.

The poor rich and the rich poor

Two singularly-contrasted characters are set in opposition here. One, that of a man who lives like a millionaire and is a pauper; another, that of a man who lives like a pauper and is rich. Now, I do not suppose that the author of this proverb attached any kind of moral to it, in his own mind. It is simply a jotting of an observation drawn from a wide experience; and if he meant to teach any lesson by it, I suppose it was nothing more than that in regard to money, as to other things, we should avoid extremes, and should try to show what we are, and to be what we seem. This finds its highest application in regard to Christianity, and our relation to Jesus Christ.

I. Our universal poverty. However a man may estimate himself and conceit himself, there stand out two salient facts.

1. The fact of universal dependence. Whatever else may be dark and difficult about the co-existence of these two, the infinite God and the finite universe, this at least is sun-clear, that the creature depends absolutely for everything on that infinite Creator. People talk sometimes, and we are all too apt to think, as if God had made the world and left it. And we are all apt to think that, however we may owe the origination of our own personal existence to a Divine act, the act was done when we began to be, and the life was given as a gift that could be separated from the Bestower. If it were possible to cut a sunbeam in two, so that the further half of it should be separated from its vital union with the great central fire from which it rushed long, long ago, that further half would pale into darkness. And if you cut the connection between God and the creature, the creature shrivels into nothing. So at the very foundation of our being there lies absolute dependence. In like manner, all that we call faculties, capacities, and the like, are, in a far deeper sense than the conventional use of the word “gift” implies, bestowments from Him. As well, then, might the pitcher boast itself of the sparkling water that it only holds, as well might the earthen jar plume itself on the treasure that has been deposited in it, as we make ourselves rich because of the riches that we have received. “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his strength. Let not the rich man glory in his riches; but he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

2. Then, turn to the second of the facts on which this universal poverty depends, and that is, the fact of universal sinfulness. Ah, there is one thing that is our own--“If any power we have, it is to will.” Conscience tells us, and we all know it, that we are the causes of our own actions, though from Him come the powers by which we do them. The electricity comes from the central power-station, but it depends on us what sort of wheels we make it drive, and what kind of work we set it to do. So, then, there are these two things, universal dependence and universal sinfulness, and on them is built the declaration of universal poverty. Duty is debt. What we ought is what we owe. We all owe an obedience which none of us has rendered. We are all paupers.

II. The poor rich man. “There is that maketh himself rich, and yet hath nothing.” That describes accurately the type of man who ignores dependence, and is not conscious of sin, and so struts about in self-complacent satisfaction with himself, and knows nothing of his true condition. There is nothing more tragic than that a man, laden, as we each of us are, with burden of evil that we cannot get rid of, should yet conceit himself to possess merits, virtues, graces, that ought to secure for him the admiration of his fellows and the approbation of God. “The deceitfulness of sin” is one of its mightiest powers. You condemn in other people the very things you do yourself. Many of you have never ventured upon a careful examination and appraisement of your own moral and religious character. You durst not, for you are afraid that it would turn out badly. Then you have far too low a standard, and one of the main reasons why you have so low a standard is just because the sins that you do have dulled your consciences. Aye, and more than that. The making of yourself rich is the sure way to prevent yourself from ever being so. We see that in all other regions of life. If a student says to himself, “Oh! I know all that subject,” the chances are that he will not get it up any more. And in any department, when a man says, “Lo! I have attained,” then he ceases to advance. If you fancy yourselves to be quite well, though a mortal disease has gripped you, you will take no medicine, nor have recourse to any physician. If you think that you have enough good to show for man’s judgment and for God’s, and have not been convinced of your dependence and your sinfulness, then Jesus Christ will be very little to you. I believe that this generation needs few things more than it needs a deepened consciousness of the reality of sin and of the depth and damnable nature of it.

III. The rich poor man. “There is that maketh himself poor, and yet”--or, as varied, the expression is, therefore hath great riches. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Consciousness of poverty is the only fitting attitude for any of us to take up in view of the fact of our dependence and the fact of our sinfulness. Then let me remind you that this wholesome recognition of facts about ourselves as they are is the sure way to possess the wealth. If you see your poverty, let self-distrust be the nadir, the lowest point, and let faith be the complementary high point, the zenith. The rebound from self-distrust to trust in Christ is that which makes the consciousness of poverty the condition of receiving wealth. And what wealth it is!--the wealth of a peaceful conscience, of a quiet heart, of lofty aims, of a pure mind, of strength according to our need, of an immortal hope, of a treasure in the heavens that faileth not. Do you estimate yourself as you are? Have you taken stock of yourself? Have you got away from the hallucination of possessing wealth? Have you taken the wealth which He freely gives to all who sue in forma pauperis? He does not ask you to bring anything but debts and sins, emptiness and weakness, and penitent faith. And then you will be of those blessed poor ones who are rich through faith, and heirs of the kingdom. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)

The policy that degrades and the policy that ennobles

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. (W. Wheeler.)

The danger of mistaking our spiritual state

I. There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing.

I. Such are they who are unacquainted with their real character. “Among these may be reckoned all who are ignorant even of fundamental truths, or pervert them.

2. Such are they who, notwithstanding, entertain a high opinion of their spiritual condition. To beast of what we have not is the greatest folly; to glory of what we have is the most intolerable vanity.

3. Such are they who are indifferent to the means of obtaining relief, and the supply of their spiritual wants.

II. There is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

1. Persons of this sort commonly complain much of themselves and their condition.

2. The temper and conduct of such persons serves to discover the mistaken judgment which they have formed of their spiritual condition. From whatever cause this error in opinion may proceed, there is always something in the temper and conduct of people of this sort that shows the high value which they put upon the true riches, and the humbling sense they entertain of their apprehended spiritual poverty. This distinguishes them from those who only pretend to the character of which I am speaking.

3. Notwithstanding they think themselves poor, they have great riches. The Lord, whose loving-kindness is better than life, is their God, the strength of their hearts, and their portion for ever. (W. McCulloch.)

The truly rich man

Amongst great numbers of men accounted rich, but few really are so. I take him to be the only rich man that lives upon what he has, owes nothing, and is contented. For there is no determinate sum of money, nor quantity of estate, that can denote a man rich; since no man is truly rich that has not so much as perfectly satiates his desire of having more. For the desire of more is want, and want is poverty. (J. Howe.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 13:7". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-13.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: There is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great wealth."

"The KJV, ASV, and the the English Revised Version (1881) miss the point here. What we have is two equally obnoxious social shams. Translate: "There are poor people who pretend to be rich, and there are rich people who feign they are poor."[12] The reasons why such pretending is done both by the rich and the poor was explained by McGee.

"Some people drive a Cadillac automobile to impress the neighbors, when they can't really afford it, but there are also very wealthy people who complain of their financial hardships to avoid appeals for contributions. A member of a church where I preached was very wealthy; but he gave less than most of the others and was always talking about how hard times were."[13]


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing,.... Some persons make a great show of riches, and would be thought to be rich; put on fine clothes, live at a high rate, and appear in great pomp, and yet not worth a farthing; which they do to gratify their pride and ambition, and to draw in others to trust them with their substance. So in spirituals; some persons, as hypocrites, would be thought to be rich in grace, and to be possessed of all the graces of the Spirit, faith, hope, and love; and yet have nothing of true grace, only what is counterfeit; the root of the matter is not in them; no principle of life and grace, only a name to live; nothing of the power, only the form, of godliness; no oil of grace in the vessels of their hearts, only the lamp of an outward profession: some, as the Pharisees, would be thought to be rich in good works, when they have no good thing in them, and do nothing that is spiritually good; either what they do is not done according to the revealed will of God, as many things done by the Pharisees formerly, and by the Papists now, or they do not flow from love; nor i are they done in faith, nor in the name and strength of Christ, nor to the glory of God by him: some, as the same persons, would be thought to be rich in righteousness, when they have no true righteousness at all; not the righteousness of the law, which requires perfection of obedience; not the righteousness of faith, which is the righteousness of another; the righteousness of God is imputed, and is without the works of men; they have no righteousness that can justify them, or save them, or bring them to heaven: some, as the Arminians, would be thought to be rich in spiritual strength, and in the power of their free will, when they have neither will nor power to do anything spiritually good; neither to regenerate and convert themselves, nor to come to Christ, nor to do any good work: some, as the Perfectionists, would be thought to be so rich as to be free from sin, and perfect in grace, when they have none at all, as says the apostle, 1 John 1:8; their picture is drawn in Ephraim, and their language spoke by him, Hosea 12:8. The apostate church of Rome would be thought rich with the merits of saints, and works of supererogation, when she has no merit at all; nor is it possible for a creature to, merit anything at the hands of God; compare with all this Revelation 3:17;

there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches; there are some, on the other hand, who greatly degrade themselves; live in a very mean way, as though they were very poor; either through covetousness, or because they would not draw upon them the envy of their neighbours, or encourage their friends to borrow of them, or invite thieves to steal from them, or for some low end or another: the pope of Rome sometimes affects to seem poor, though at other times, and in other respects, he would be thought rich; at the Lateran procession the newly elected pope scatters pieces of brass money among the people, saying, as Peter, whose successor he pretends to be, did, "Silver and gold have I none", Acts 3:6; yet comes into great riches. These words may be applied spiritually, in a good sense; there are some who are sensible of their spiritual poverty, and own it; they ingenuously express the sense they have of their own nothingness and unworthiness; they declare they have nothing, and can do nothing; they renounce all their own works in the business of salvation, and ascribe it wholly to the grace of God; they have very mean thoughts, and speak very meanly of themselves, as less than the least of saints, and the chief of sinners: yea, some carry the matter too far in the expressions of their poverty; will not be persuaded that they have the true riches of grace, at least will not own it; but give way to their doubts and fears about it, when they are possessed of much; to whom some think these words are applicable. However, they are to such who are "poor in spirit", Matthew 5:3, as before described; who have, notwithstanding, "great riches", the riches of justifying grace, the riches of Christ's righteousness: the riches of pardoning grace, a large share thereof, much being forgiven them; the riches of sanctifying grace, faith, more precious than that of gold that perisheth, with all other graces; the riches of spiritual knowledge, preferable to gold and silver: they have Christ, and all things along with him; they have God to be their portion, and exceeding great reward; they have a large estate, an incorruptible inheritance, in heaven; they have a better and a more enduring substance there; "theirs is the kingdom of heaven", Matthew 5:3; it is prepared for them, and given to them; compare with this 2 Corinthians 6:10.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-13.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

In opposite ways men act hypocritically for gain of honor or wealth.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-13.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Two proverbs of riches and poverty: -

There is one who maketh himself rich and hath nothing;

There is another who representeth himself poor amid great riches.

A sentence which includes in itself the judgment which Proverbs 12:9 expresses. To the Hithpa . התכּבּד (to make oneself of importance) there are associated here two others, in the meaning to make oneself something, without anything after it, thus to place oneself so or so, Ewald, §124a. To the clauses with ו there is supplied a self-intelligible לּו .


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The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.

Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-13.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

This observation is applicable,

I. To men's worldly estate. The world is a great cheat, not only the things of the world, but the men of the world. All men are liars. Here is an instance in two sore evils under the sun: - 1. Some that are really poor would be thought to be rich and are thought to be so; they trade and spend as if they were rich, make a great bustle and a great show as if they had hidden treasures, when perhaps, if all their debts were paid, they are not worth a groat. This is sin, and will be shame; many a one hereby ruins his family and brings reproach upon his profession of religion. Those that thus live above what they have choose to be subject to their own pride rather than to God's providence, and it will end accordingly. 2. Some that are really rich would be thought to be poor, and are thought to be so, because they sordidly and meanly live below what God has given them, and choose rather to bury it than to use it, Ecclesiastes 6:1, Ecclesiastes 6:2. In this there is an ingratitude to God, injustice to the family and neighbourhood, and uncharitableness to the poor.

II. To their spiritual state. Grace is the riches of the soul; it is true riches; but men commonly misrepresent themselves, either designedly or through mistake and ignorance of themselves. 1. There are many presuming hypocrites, that are really poor and empty of grace and yet either think themselves rich, and will not be convinced of their poverty, or pretend themselves rich, and will not own their poverty. 2. There are many timorous trembling Christians, that are spiritually rich, and full of grace, and yet think themselves poor, and will not be persuaded that they are rich, or, at least, will not own it; by their doubts and fears, their complaints and griefs, they make themselves poor. The former mistake is destroying at last; this is disquieting in the mean time.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-13.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Some who are really poor, trade and spend as if they were rich: this is sin, and will be shame, and it will end accordingly. Some that are really rich, would be thought to be poor: in this there is want of gratitude to God, want of justice and charity to others. There are many hypocrites, empty of grace, who will not be convinced of their poverty. There are many fearing Christians, who are spiritually rich, yet think themselves poor; by their doubts, and complaints, and griefs, they make themselves poor.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-13.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

Maketh rich — Some men who have little or nothing, pretend to have great riches.

Maketh rich — Some rich men profess to be poor.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-13.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 13:7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet [hath] nothing: [there is] that maketh himself poor, yet [hath] great riches.

Ver. 7. There is that maketh himself rich.] Such πτωχαλαζονες (as the witty Greek calls them) there are not few, that stretch their wing beyond their nest, that bear a port beyond their estate, that trick up themselves with other men’s plumes, laying it on above measure in clothes, fair building, &c., when not worth a groat, but die in prison, or make a fraudulent composition. This is no better before God than rapine and robbery.

There is that makes himself poor, &c.] As the newly elected Pope doth, when in his Lateran procession he casts among the people pieces of brass and copper, (a) saying, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give you." So the friars are a race of people (saith one (b) that hath been long among them) that are always vowing obedience, but still contentious; chastity, yet most luxurious; poverty, yet everywhere scraping and covetous. No Capuchin may take or touch silver; at the offer of it he starts back, as Moses from the serpent; yet he carries a boy with him that takes and carries it, and never complains of either metal or measure. (c) We had in King Stephen’s days a rich chancellor of England, who yet was, and would be, called Roger paupere censu. (d)


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-13.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 7. There is that maketh himself rich, making a pretense of wealth, trying to impress others with the greatness of his resources, yet hath nothing, all his show being idle boasting, empty vaunting; there is that maketh himself poor, making no show of his wealth, which does not necessarily infer deceitful concealment, yet hath great riches. cf Proverbs 12, 9.


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Bibliography
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-13.html. 1921-23.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 13:7. There is that maketh himself rich See 2 Corinthians 6:10 where St. Paul says, We are as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things. The literal sense of this verse seems to be, "There are those who are rich in their poverty, because they are content; desire nothing more, and use generously and charitably what they have; and there are others, who, in the midst of their riches, are really poor and in necessity, because of their insatiable covetousness or profusion." Some suppose the meaning to be, that there are those, who have the vanity to desire to appear rich, though they are poor; and others who make themselves poor, and would pass for such, though they have abundance. The Latins say well, Semper avarus eget. "The covetous man is always in want." See Calmet.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-13.html. 1801-1803.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Proverbs

THE POOR RICH AND THE RICH POOR

Proverbs 13:7.

Two singularly-contrasted characters are set in opposition here. One, that of a man who lives like a millionaire and is a pauper; another, that of a man who lives like a pauper and is rich. The latter character, that of a man who hides and hoards his wealth, was, perhaps, more common in the days when this collection of Proverbs was put together, because in all ill-governed countries, to show wealth is a short way to get rid of it. But they have their modern representatives. We who live in a commercial community have seen many a blown-out bubble soaring and glittering, and then collapsing into a drop of soapsuds, and on the other hand, we are always hearing of notes and bank-books being found stowed away in some wretched hovel where a miser has died.

Now, I do not suppose that the author of this proverb attached any kind of moral to it in his own mind. It is simply a jotting of an observation drawn from a wide experience; and if he meant to teach any lesson by it, I suppose it was nothing more than that in regard to money, as to other things, we should avoid extremes, and should try to show what we are, and to be what we seem. But whilst thus I do not take it that there is any kind of moral or religious lesson in the writer’s mind, I may venture, perhaps, to take this saying as being a picturesque illustration, putting in vivid fashion certain great truths which apply in all regions of life, and which find their highest application in regard to Christianity, and our relation to Jesus Christ. There, too, ‘there is that maketh himself rich, and yet hath nothing; and there is that maketh himself poor, and yet’-or one might, perhaps, say therefore-’hath great riches.’ It is from that point of view that I wish to look at the words at this time. I must begin with recalling to your mind, I. Our universal poverty.

Whatever a man may think about himself, however he may estimate himself and conceit himself, there stand out two salient facts, the fact of universal dependence, and the fact of universal sinfulness, which ought to bear into every heart the consciousness of this poverty. A word or two about each of these two facts.

First, the fact of universal dependence. Now, wise men and deep thinkers have found a very hard problem in the question of how it is possible that there should be an infinite God and a finite universe standing, as it were, over against Him. I am not going to trouble you with the all-but-just-succeeding answers to that great problem which the various systems of thinking have given. These lie apart from my present purpose. But what I would point out is that, whatever else may be dark and difficult about the co-existence of these two, the infinite God and the finite universe, this at least is sun-clear, that the creature depends absolutely for everything on that infinite Creator. People talk sometimes, and we are all too apt to think, as if God had made the world and left it. And we are all too apt to think that, however we may owe the origination of our own personal existence to a divine act, the act was done when we began to be, and the life was given as a gift that could be separated from the Bestower. But that is not the state of the case at all. The real fact is that life is only continued because of the continued operation on every living thing, just as being is only continued by reason of the continued operation on every existing thing, of the Divine Power. ‘In Him we live,’ and the life is the result of the perpetual impartation from Himself ‘in whom all things consist,’ according to the profound word of the Apostle. Their being depends on their union with Him. If it were possible to cut a sunbeam in two, so that the further half of it should be separated from its vital union with the great central fire from which it rushed long, long ago, that further half would pale into darkness. And if you cut the connection between God and the creature, the creature shrivels into nothing. By Him the spring buds around us unfold themselves; by Him all things are. So, at the very foundation of our being there lies absolute dependence.

In like manner, all that we call faculties, capacities, and the like, are, in a far deeper sense than the conventional use of the word ‘gift’ implies, bestowments from Him. The Old Testament goes to the root of the matter when, speaking of the artistic and aesthetic skill of the workers in the fine arts in the Tabernacle, it says, ‘the Spirit of the Lord’ taught Bezaleel; and when, even in regard to the brute strength of Samson-surely the strangest hero of faith that ever existed-it says that when ‘the Spirit of the Lord came upon him,’ into his giant hands there was infused the strength by which he tore the lion’s jaws asunder. In like manner, all the faculties that men possess they have simply because He has given them. ‘What hast thou that thou hast not received? If thou hast received, why dost thou boast thyself?’ So there is a great psalm that gathers everything that makes up human life, and traces it all to God, when it says, ‘They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house,’ for from God comes all that sustains us; ‘Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures,’ for from God comes all that gladdens us; ‘with Thee is the fountain of life,’ for from Him flow all the tiny streams that make the life of all that live; ‘in Thy light shall we see light,’ for every power of perceiving, and all grace and lustre of purity, owe their source to Him. As well, then, might the pitcher boast itself of the sparkling water that it only holds, as well might the earthen jar plume itself on the treasure that has been deposited in it, as we make ourselves rich because of the riches that we have received. ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his strength. Let not the rich man glory in his riches; but he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.’

Then, turn for a moment to the second of the facts on which this universal poverty depends, and that is the fact of universal sinfulness. Ah! there is one thing that is our own-

‘If any power we have, it is to will.’

We have that strange faculty, which nobody has ever thoroughly explained yet, but which we all know to exist, of wrenching ourselves so far away from God, ‘in whom we live and move and have our being,’ that we can make our thoughts and ways, not merely lower than, but contradictory of, and antagonistic to, His thoughts, and His ways. Conscience tells us, and we all know it, that we are the causes of our own actions, though from Him come the powers by which we do them. The electricity comes from the central powerstation, but it depends on us what sort of wheels we make it drive, and what kind of work we set it to do. Make all allowances you like for circumstances-what they call nowadays ‘environment,’ by which formidable word some people seem to think that they have explained away a great many difficulties-make all allowances you like for inheritance-what they now call ‘heredity,’ by which other magic word people seem to think that they may largely obliterate the sense of responsibility and sin-allow as much as you like, in reason, for these, and there remains the indestructible consciousness in every man, ‘I did it, and it was my fault that I did it; and the moral guilt remains.’

So, then, there are these two things, universal dependence and universal sinfulness, and on them is built the declaration of universal poverty. Duty is debt. Everybody knows that the two words come from the same root. What we ought is what we owe. We all owe an obedience which none of us has rendered. Ten thousand talents is the debt and-’they had nothing to pay.’ We are like bankrupts that begin business with a borrowed capital, by reason of our absolute dependence; and so manage their concerns as to find themselves inextricably entangled in a labyrinth of obligations which they cannot discharge. We are all paupers. And so I come to the second point, and that is-

II. The poor rich man.

‘There is that maketh himself rich, and yet hath nothing.’ That describes accurately the type of man of whom there are thousands; of whom there are dozens listening to me at this moment; who ignores dependence and is not conscious of sin, and so struts about in self-complacent satisfaction with himself, and knows nothing of his true condition. There is nothing more tragic-and so it would be seen to be if it were not so common-than that a man, laden, as we each of us are, with a burden of evil that we cannot get rid of, should yet conceit himself to possess merits, virtues, graces, that ought to secure for him the admiration of his fellows, or, at least, to exempt him from their censure, and which he thinks, when he thinks about it at all, may perhaps secure for him the approbation of God. ‘The deceitfulness of sin’ is one of its mightiest powers. There is nothing that so blinds a man to the real moral character of actions as that obstinate self-complacency which approves of a thing because it is mine. You condemn in other people the very things you do yourself. You see all their ugliness in them; you do not recognise it when it is your deed. Many of you have never ventured upon a careful examination and appraisement of your own moral and religious character. You durst not, for you are afraid that it would turn out badly. So, like some insolvent who has not the courage to face the facts, you take refuge in defective bookkeeping, and think that that is as good as being solvent. Then you have far too low a standard, and one of the main reasons why you have so low a standard is just because the sins that you do have dulled your consciences, and like the Styrian peasants that eat arsenic, the poison does not poison you, and you do not feel yourself any the worse for it. Dear brethren! these are very rude things for me to say to you. I am saying them to myself as much as to you, and I would to God that you would listen to them, not because I say them, but because they are true. The great bulk of us know our own moral characters just as little as we know the sound of our own voices. I suppose if you could hear yourself speak you would say, ‘I never knew that my voice sounded like that.’ And I am quite sure that many of you, if the curtain could be drawn aside which is largely woven out of the black yarn of your own evil thoughts, and you could see yourselves as in a mirror, you would say, ‘I had no notion that I looked like that.’ ‘There is that maketh himself rich, and yet hath nothing.’

Ay! and more than that. The making of yourself rich is the sure way to prevent yourself from ever being so. We see that in all other regions of life. If a student says to himself, ‘Oh! I know all that subject,’ the chances are that he will not get it up any more; and the further chance is that he will be ‘ploughed’ when the examination-day comes. If the artist stands before the picture, and says to himself, ‘Well done, that is the realisation of my ideal!’ he will paint no more anything worth looking at. And in any department, when a man says ‘Lo! I have attained,’ then he ceases to advance.

Now, bring all that to bear upon religion, upon Christ and His salvation, upon our own spiritual and religious and moral condition. The sense of imperfection is the salt of approximation to perfection. And the man that says ‘I am rich’ is condemning himself to poverty and pauperism. If you do not know your need, you will not go to look for the supply of it. If you fancy yourselves to be quite well, though a mortal disease has gripped you, you will take no medicine, nor have recourse to any physician. If you think that you have enough good to show for man’s judgment and for God’ s, and have not been convinced of your dependence and your sinfulness, then Jesus Christ will be very little to you, and His great work as the Redeemer and Saviour of His people from their sins will be nothing to you. And so you will condemn yourselves to have nothing unto the very end.

I believe that this generation needs few things more than it needs a deepened consciousness of the reality of sin and of the depth and damnable nature of it. It is because people feel so little of the burden of their transgression that they care so little for that gentle Hand that lifts away their burden. It is because from much of popular religion-and, alas! that I should have to say it, from much of popular preaching-there has vanished the deep wholesome sense of poverty, that, from so much of popular religion, and preaching too, there has faded away the central light of the Gospel, the proclamation of the Cross by which is taken away the sin of the whole world.

So, lastly, my text brings before us-

III. The rich poor man.

‘There is that maketh himself poor and yet’-or, as varied, the expression is, ‘therefore hath great riches.’ Jesus Christ has lifted the thoughts in my text into the very region into which I am trying to bring them, when in the first of all the Beatitudes, as they are called, ‘He opened His mouth and said, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.’ Poor, and therefore an owner of a kingdom! Now I need not, at this stage of my sermon, insist upon the fact that that consciousness of poverty is the only fitting attitude for any of us to take up in view of the two facts with which I started, the fact of our dependence and the fact of our sinfulness. What absurdity it seems for a man about whom these two things are true, that, as I said, he began with a borrowed capital, and has only incurred greater debts in his transactions, there should be any foothold left in his own estimation on which he can stand and claim to be anything but the pauper that he is. Oh! brethren, of all the hallucinations that we put upon ourselves in trying to believe that things are as we wish, there is none more subtle, more obstinate, more deeply dangerous than this, that a man full of evil should be so ignorant of his evil as to say, like that Pharisee in our Lord’s parable, ‘I thank Thee that I am not as other men are. I give tithes . . . I pray . . . I am this, that, and the other thing; not like that wretched publican over there.’ Yes, this is the fit attitude for us,-’He would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven.’

Then let me remind you that this wholesome recognition of facts about ourselves as they are is the sure way to possess the wealth. Of course, it is possible for a man by some mighty influence or other brought to bear upon him, to see himself as God sees him, and then, if there is nothing more than that, he is tortured with ‘the sorrow that worketh death.’ Judas ‘went out and hanged himself’; Peter ‘went out and wept bitterly.’ The one was sent ‘to his own place,’ wherever that was; the other was sent foremost of the Twelve. If you see your poverty, let self-distrust be the nadir, the lowest point, and let faith be the complementary high point, the zenith. The rebound from self-distrust to trust in Christ is that which makes the consciousness of poverty the condition of receiving wealth.

And what wealth it is!-the wealth of a peaceful conscience, of a quiet heart, of lofty aims, of a pure mind, of strength according to our need, of an immortal hope, of a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, ‘where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt; where thieves do not break through nor steal.’ Blessed be God! the more we have the riches of glory in Christ Jesus, the more shall we feel that we have nothing, and that all is His, and none of it ours. And so, as the rivers run in the valleys, and the high mountain-tops are dry and barren, the grace which makes us rich will run in the low ground of our conscious humiliation and nothingness.

Dear brother! do you estimate yourself as you are? Have you taken stock of yourself? Have you got away from the hallucination of possessing wealth? Has your sense of need led you to cease from trust in yourself, and to put all your trust in Jesus Christ? Have you taken the wealth which He freely gives to all who sue in forma pauperis? He does not ask you to bring anything but debts and sins, emptiness and weakness, and penitent faith. He will strengthen the weakness, fill the emptiness, forgive the sins, cancel the debts, and make you ‘rich toward God.’ I beseech you to listen to Him, speaking from heaven, and taking up the strain of this text: ‘Because thou sayest I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich.’ And then you will be of those blessed poor ones who are ‘rich through faith, and heirs of the Kingdom.’


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Bibliography
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/proverbs-13.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Some men who have little or nothing pretend to have great riches, and carry themselves accordingly; either out of pride and vanity, or with a design to gain reputation with others whom they intend to defraud. Some rich men seem and profess themselves to be very poor, that they may preserve and increase their estates, by concealing them from those who would either desire a share in them, or take them away by deceit or violence.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-13.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

7. Maketh… rich… poor — That which lies on the surface of this verse is, simulated wealth on the one hand, and pretended poverty on the other. But this is one of the proverbs in which we probably have two meanings; one on the surface, the other to be sought beneath. There is a seeming wealth beneath which lies spiritual poverty; there is a poverty which makes a man rich toward God. “As poor,” says Paul, “yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” Compare Proverbs 11:22; 2 Corinthians 6:10; Revelation 2:9; Luke 12:21; 1 Timothy 6:18; James 2:5. As to the first sense given above, which is taken as the full meaning by some, there are cases — as when a man is among marauders and freebooters, or under a rapacious despotism, so common in the East — where he may be excusable for concealing his wealth.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-13.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 13:7. There is that maketh himself rich, &c. — Some men, who have little or nothing, pretend to have great riches, and carry themselves accordingly; either out of pride and vanity, or with a design to gain reputation with others, whom they intend to defraud. There is that maketh himself poor, &c. — Some rich men seem and profess themselves to be very poor, that they may preserve and increase their estates, by concealing them from those who would either desire a share in them, or take them away by deceit and violence. Some, however, think the sense of the verse is, “There are those who are rich in their poverty, because they are content, desire nothing more, and use generously and charitably what they have: and there are others who, in the midst of their riches, are really poor and in necessity, because of their insatiable covetousness or profusion.”


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-13.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Riches. Such was St. Paul, 2 Corinthians vi. 10. Some affect to be rich, while others are never satisfied. Semper avarus eget. Lazarus was very rich in God's sight. [Luke xvi. 20.]


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

maketh himself rich: i.e. or pretendeth to be rich. Hebrew. "ashar. The Hithpael occurs only here.

poor = needy. Hebrew. rush. See note on Proverbs 6:11.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

There is that maketh himself rich, yet (hath) nothing: (there is) that maketh himself poor, yet (hath) great riches - parallel, I think, to Proverbs 11:24, "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty." There are rich men who, by not using their riches to the glory of God and the good of man, have no real good out of their riches: there are also those who make themselves poor by spending to the glory of God and the good of man; yet they have all that is really good in riches, and are counted rich by God (cf. Revelation 2:9, "I know thy ... poverty (the church of Smyrna), but thou art rich;" Luke 12:21; 1 Timothy 6:18; James 2:5). Such a rich widow before God was that one that "of her penury" cast into the Lord's treasury "all the living that she had" (Luke 21:4). On the contrary, the church of Laodicea, "rich, and increased with goods" in her own esteem, was in God's esteem "wretched, and miserable, and poor." Gejer, (Grotius, etc., explain it, 'There are persons who make a show of being rich, while all the time they have nothing' (cf. note, Proverbs 12:9, end): poor and proud at once. 'And there are those who feign themselves poor, while all the while they have ample riches.'


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-13.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(7) There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing.—Comp. Luke 12:21, and the advice given in Revelation 3:17.

There is that maketh himself poor.—Comp. Luke 12:33.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
is that maketh himself rich
11; 12:9; Luke 18:11-14; 1 Corinthians 4:8; 2 Peter 2:19; Revelation 3:17
that maketh himself poor
Ecclesiastes 11:1,2; 1 Corinthians 4:10,11; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Revelation 2:9

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-13.html.

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