The Rich and the
- There is
need once again to remind ourselves that this is a proverb.
is NOT telling the rich and poor HOW to speak.
- He is not
saying that poor people need to use humble entreaties in speaking to others
but rich people can afford to be rude!
he is simply making an observation; stating a fact;
- Like it
or not, this is the way it IS. It’s not the way it should be.
The poor useth intreaties
- To be in
want; impoverished; not having enough income or means of livelihood for
normal essential needs;
It indicates a person who has few resources and little standing or
influence in a society;
Sam. 12:1-4 –
Here the term is used to describe a man of poverty…
i. He was impoverished financially.
ii. He was a man of little means.
Sam. 18:23 – Here
the term is used to describe a lowly position in society.
i. David used it of himself to indicate
that he was not worthy to marry Michal, the king’s daughter, because of his low
standing in society.
ii. It didn’t seem right to him that a
mere shepherd boy should marry the king’s daughter!
iii. However, at that time, he was probably
pretty well off financially.
iv. Thus, it is used of it was sometimes
used of a person from a lower class.
- Thus, the
term is used of lowliness in BOTH finances and position in
society. Most often those two concepts were combined.
proverb speaks of the fact that men in lowly positions (either financially
or a low status in society) were very often careful about the WAY they
spoke to men of means… to men in high positions. (How much care
should we employ as we speak to God in prayer!!!)
- They used
- Useth: to speak; verbal
i. It is used of speaking to men or God
- Entreaties: supplication for a favor; a
plea for mercy; a petition making a request for kindness;
i. This term is most often used of men
approaching God in prayer… making requests for mercy and kindness. (Ex: Ps.
Solomon uses a term to describe a poor man pleading for mercy
from the rich and powerful… that is usually used of men approaching God!
- The term
shows the wide GAP between the one making the supplication
and the one to whom the supplication is made.
- When we approach
God in prayer seeking His mercy, we come in humility… lowly… not
demanding… but humbly asking… We come to God acknowledging His
greatness… how infinitely superior He is to us… using terms of great
respect for God… honoring Him…
some of the entreaties spoken by men when addressing one of high estate:
i. Acts 24:1-4 – Tertulus speaking before Felix
ii. That was common language for
addressing kings… who obviously were wealth AND had high status in society!
iii. Read the way the King James was
addressed in the preface to the KJV Bibles.
iv. When speaking to men in high
positions, especially kings, great care was given to approach them
humbly – and showing respect and honor.
noticed this about human nature.
he was a king!
came to him all the time making requests for kindness.
noticed that when men came to him to make a supplication that they were
always respectful, humble, and bowed before him.
- In a
sense, they HAD to!
i. These people came to the king to
request things that only he could do for them.
ii. He was their last and only hope.
They had no plan B.
iii. Thus, they wanted to be as humble
and respectful as they could before him… to make a good impression.
in some people, it was genuine.
- But it
others, it was feigned… because they wanted to GET something
from the king… or other persons of means.
poor people used “entreaties” – humble supplications when addressing
those of higher status… the upper class.
But the rich answereth roughly
- On the
other hand, Solomon noticed a distinct difference in the way the upper
class spoke to those beneath them.
- The rich
answer, respond, reply, testify, shout,
strongly, mightily, fiercely, with great force, intensely, harshly.
- Used in Deut.28:50
– a nation of fierce countenance.
Sam. 25:10-11 - Nabal
was a rich man who answered David harshly. (vs.17 – you couldn’t speak
- Gen. 42:7 – When Joseph
stood before his brothers as the prime minister of Egypt and wanted to SOUND like the prime minister (and not their brother) he spoke ROUGHLY to them!
- The rich
and the upper class aren’t so kind and humble when they answer men
– especially when they speak to the lower class.
- The rich
don’t call the poor “your highness” or “your majesty.”
- The rich
neither bow in humility before the poor, nor show respect to them.
- In fact,
Solomon noticed just the opposite. He noticed that they answered ROUGHLY.
of being kind they were often mean.
of being tenderhearted, they were fierce!
of speaking softly, they often shout.
of showing respect, they are often rude, foul, and even vulgar!
of showing humility, they were often arrogant.
of being considerate, they are overbearing.
there are exceptions to this proverb. It is after all, a
- But this
is what Solomon observed most often… often enough to be
the rough answers of the rich are not excusable, it is understandable.
i. The rich are often inundated with
people trying to take advantage of them.
ii. People come to them with their
entreaties… bowing before them in humility… many of whom are phony…
iii. They all came to him to GET
something from him… with their hands stretched out… “gimme gimme.”
iv. After being besieged with such a
constant flow of requests, it is understandable why the wealthy might be rude
and abrupt to those who come for a hand out.
v. However, that certainly does not
justify their behavior.
- When it
comes to manners, the rich are often poor and the
poor are often rich.
judge a book by its cover.
- Just because
someone is dressed in expensive clothing as a sign of their wealth, it
doesn’t mean that they are kind.
might look great, but it is often just a thin cover for an arrogant,
- They may
be rich in money and position, but they are poor in manners…
2:3 – James
warns us NEVER to display that attitude in the local assembly… or
this comes with a built in warning: if you don’t want to be treated this
way – then try to AVOID being impoverished… and thus at the mercy
of merciless, wealthy men!
- Don’t be
lazy for laziness results in poverty… and poverty results
in being treated cruelly!
- Don’t be
a know-it-all, for they end being poor… and thus at the
mercy of unkind men and treated harshly.
- Don’t be
a drunkard, because that leads to poverty… and that leads
to people treating you cruelly.
perhaps another truth is seen in this proverb too: poverty may not be good
for your body, but it’s often good for the soul
- It keeps
men humble… less likely to be harsh and arrogant.
- Now not
always. There are lots of poor mean people. But over all, poverty does
tend to help mortify pride.
- To the
degree that poverty makes us humble, it is valuable and good for us!
you glad that God,
who hears a constant chorus of requests from His children never treats us
cruelly… nor answers harshly!
- He never
grows tired of us coming to Him with our supplications.
- God also
hears all the rude and rough comments heaped upon the poor by those in
positions of prominence and wealth.
- When we
come before God’s throne to present our supplications, we must come in
lowliness and with a contrite spirit! (Isa. 66:2)
- When we
come before the throne of grace, we are all poor in spirit… regardless of
our earthly circumstances.