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Judging By Riches Or Poverty
Proverbs 14:20 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
20 The poor is disliked even by his neighbor,
but the rich has many friends.
The poor is disliked even by his neighbor: The poor (רוּשׁ rush) are those who have very little or no money and few if any material possessions. However, throughout ancient, and modern history, if a people had work and enough money for the basic necessities of life, they did not view themselves as a poor people, and would offer a helping hand to those who had nothing. The Hebrew for dislike (שָׂנֵא sane) is more than simply feeling a distaste for another. It is a hatred for another to the point of abhorring, detesting. Loathing the other. The adverb even (גַּם gam) is drawing, focusing on or intensifying the level pf hatred there is for the poor. The neighbor (רֵעַ rea or רֵיעַ rea) may be the person living next door, a co-worker, someone we have an interaction with incidentally, or more intimately a friend, or even a relative.
but the rich has many friends: The rich (עָשִׁיר ashir) refers to those who possess great material wealth. Friends (אָהֵב aheb) is literally “lovers” and refers to false friends, a person whose friendship cannot be relied on in times of difficulty. A person who is dependable in good times, while the money is flowing, but is gone in times of trouble, or when the money runs out.
What we are seeing here in 14:20 is not what the normal, rational person knows should be, but rather what is all too common in imperfect humanity, living in Satan’s World. It is unfortunate that many dislike the poor and yet befriend or throw themselves at the rich to see what gains can be made. Few give any attention to those in the world that are looked down upon, even when they are worthy of respect. We think of the military person homeless on the street or the mother in a women’s shelter with her children, and to think that they are often viewed with disdain. Or we think of a poor neighborhood that is just a couple of streets from the wealthy neighborhood and is viewed by the wealthy with abhorrent, detestable, loathing eyes. The irony is, if they had an opportunity to mingle with these poor people under different conditions, many would for intimate friendships.
Many today will behave fawningly, especially for one’s own advantage in the presence of the wealthy. The rich are inundated with friends who are only there for the money. Much of the friendships that one has in Satan’s world are governed by self-interest. Those who worship the world and the things in the world, seek out those who have the most to offer. Their pursuits are short-lived though, and in some, or in the end, the charade will be over.