The Rich and the Poor
1. Verse 8 is akin to vs. 7. They both speak of a contrast between the rich and poor.
2. Vs. 7 – the rich may have nothing; the poor may have great wealth.
3. Vs. 8 – again, a contrast between the rich and the poor.
4. They both indicate that wealth isn’t all its cracked up to be.
a. Vs. 7 stated that a man might have many earthly riches, and yet have nothing… no happiness… no peace… no security… no health… no friends… and especially, he may have no salvation! He may not have God or spiritual blessings.
b. He may be a spiritual pauper… though rich in the goods of this world.
c. Ecc. 5:11 – a poor man may have only one meal in his cupboard at a time.
d. A wealthy man may have 30 years worth of wheat and grains stored up in his barns…
e. But what good is it, other than to look at? You can only eat one meal at a time!
5. We have all known people with lots of money, yet they are miserable…
a. Money can buy a lot of things, but it cannot buy happiness. If you are a miserable poor man, putting money in your wallet isn’t going to change your disposition.
b. Money cannot buy friends. It can buy leeches, but not true friends.
c. Money does NOT make all your problems go away. In fact, it simply introduces you to a whole new array of problems that poor people never have to worry about.
d. That is exactly the point of vs. 8.
1. Here again is a contrast between the rich and the poor.
2. At first glance, it appears that the rich man’s riches are quite valuable.
a. If a poor man is kidnapped, he has no riches to pay off a ransom.
b. If a rich man is kidnapped (or his wife or child), he has many riches. He is able to pay the ransom.
c. So at that level, his riches are a good thing. They may save his life… or the life of his family member.
d. Many lives have been saved by paying the ransom price.
e. Without being able to pay the ransom, their loved ones would perish.
f. The ransom of a man’s life are his riches. This has been proven to be true over and over again throughout history.
g. If someone kidnapped your son or daughter, and demanded a million dollars… you would wish you had a million dollars, and would probably do what you could to borrow it!
h. If a kidnapper called you and left a threatening message of murder to a loved one unless X amount of dollars is given them, you would wish you had X amount of dollars.
i. Thus, money has its advantages. It could save your life… or the life of a loved one.
3. Thus, Solomon makes this point in the first half of the proverb.
a. However, the point of the proverb is actually just the opposite as it begins.
b. In the second half, Solomon makes a dramatic shift in emphasis…
c. In the first half, he states: money talks; money has its advantages and privileges; it could even save your life.
d. And there is certainly an element of truth in that.
• Julio Iglesias’s father – kidnapped in 1985
• John Paul Getty III – 1973
• Patty Hearst (daughter of Wm. Randolph Hearst, publishing magnate) early 70’s
• Charles Lindbergh Jr. – 1932
1. Now Solomon makes his real point. The first part was a sub-point to accentuate what he really wanted to say.
a. He started off by implying that money has its advantages.
b. Now he states that money also carries a curse with it.
c. This thought was similar to vs. 7 – money isn’t all its cracked up to be. You can be rich… and yet have nothing!
d. Let’s look at HOW Solomon makes his second point… or his main point.
2. There are some obvious disadvantages to being poor.
a. They have to worry about little things that the wealthy never have to worry about… rent money… food… paying the bills…
b. But just as Solomon’s earlier point (being rich isn’t all it’s cracked up to be)… so too, being poor isn’t as bad as it might sound at first!
c. Poverty has its advantages too.
3. Rebuke: rough contrary words.
a. In context, this refers to the threatening words of the kidnappers.
b. Only the rich man is likely to hear such threatening speech from those who kidnap their family members. (Kidnapping is nothing new…)
c. Consider various translations of this passage:
• The rich may have to pay a ransom for their lives, but the poor will face no such danger.
• A man’s riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat.
• The rich can pay a ransom, but the poor won’t even get threatened.
• The rich have to use their money to save their lives, but no one threatens the poor.
d. The poor man may APPEAR to be at a disadvantage because he has no riches to pay off the kidnappers.
e. However, in reality, nobody ever kidnaps a poor man! Or a poor man’s family. They go after the rich and famous!
• Jorge Campos – famous Mexican soccer player—kidnapped…
• Julio Iglesias’s father – world-renown celebrity 1985
• John Paul Getty II – 1973
• Patty Hearst – daughter of publishing magnate, WM. Randolph Hearst – who paid 6 million for her ransom
• Charles Lindbergh – 1932—selected by the kidnappers because of his celebrity status.
• Notice that John Doe doesn’t appear on this list.
f. Only the rich and famous have to worry about kidnappers seeking a ransom.
• Who would be the easiest people in the world to kidnap?
• Street people… but it never happens.
• Why? Obviously, because they have nothing. They could not pay a ransom.
• If a kidnapper is going to kidnap for money, he is naturally going to choose a target where he can get a LOT of money.
• Not only do kidnappers not go after street people, they don’t even go after average middle class folks like us…
• They target the wealthy… this has been the case since the days of Solomon—and is true today too.
4. The poor man may sit around and feel sorry for himself because he has no money to pay off a ransom if his family was kidnapped… but his lack of money in this case is NOT a curse, it is a blessing in disguise!
a. This is really the main point of the proverb.
b. The apparent advantage of money is not necessarily an advantage.
c. And Solomon intends for us to apply this principle in all kinds of areas… not just kidnapping and ransom paying.
d. The principle is that wealth and money aren’t all they’re cracked up to be… they have some advantages, but they also carry with them a great risk and burden, that the poor don’t have to worry about!
e. Solomon writes this proverb to encourage the poor… and to let them know that while there are some disadvantages to not having a lot of money… there are also some not so obvious advantages!
5. Problems with great wealth…
a. They have to build large walls and iron gates around their property… they have to hire security guards to protect their property… body guards to protect themselves… their kids are targets for kidnappers. That thought has got to be on their minds constantly.
b. Young athletes who suddenly become multi-millionaires find that with the wealth comes many problems…
• People seek them for their money…
• People are constantly thinking of ways to sue them…
c. The person who wins the lottery and is suddenly a multi- millionaire, discovers that money does two things:
• It instantly solves some problems: bills are paid; debt is gone; putting food on the table is no longer a concern.
• However, they soon learn money also creates a whole new realm of problems…
• Their friends are gone… people turn against them… and try to use them…
• Money does awful things to relationships between people…
d. There is a burden that wealthy people have to bear every moment of every day…that the poor never have to be concerned about. (Ecc. 5:12)
• The poor woman can go out at night and she doesn’t have to worry about her expensive diamonds being stolen. She doesn’t have any diamonds! They’re all fakes… if they get stolen—no big loss.
• The poor man who works at the factory doesn’t stay up at night worrying about law suits… but the owner of the factory might…
• The weekend warrior who plays baseball on Saturdays for fun doesn’t have to worry about some woman accusing him of rape so she can sue him for millions. The 10 million baseball star does have to worry about that. But the weekend dubber? He gets to play baseball worry free… and just for the fun of it.
• Ecc. 5:13 – sometimes wealth is kept for the HURT of its owners!
1. The wealthy are hurt through kidnappings… thefts… murders… law suits… isolation…
2. The ultimate hurt associated with great wealth is exemplified in the rich young ruler. He was hurt for eternity.
3. This is Solomon’s point both in Ecc. and in Proverbs. Money has advantages, but it has many disadvantages too.
Prov. 30:8-9 – Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient? for me: ? 9 ?Lest I be full, and deny? thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
1. This should be our prayer… neither riches nor poverty.
2. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
3. In whatever state we find ourselves—be content… and rejoice in the advantages God has given… and be careful of the dangers.