Proverbs 13:8
The ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the poor hears not rebuke.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) The ransom of a man’s life are his riches.—In times of trouble he may have to give them all to save his life. For the spiritual sense comp. Luke 16:9.

But the poor heareth not rebuke.—Or, threatening. (Comp. Job 3:18; Job 39:7.) He has no need to regard it; his poverty and insignificance are his protection.

Proverbs 13:8. The ransom of a man’s life are his riches — This verse is considered by some as setting forth the several advantages of riches and poverty. Riches enable a man to redeem his life when it is in the greatest danger, and poverty preserves a man from those rebukes and injuries which endanger, and oft destroy the rich. Others again consider it as showing the convenience of poverty above riches. Riches frequently expose men to the peril of losing their lives by false accusers, thieves, or tyrants, which they are forced to redeem with the loss of their riches; whereas poverty commonly secures men not only from such kinds of death, but even from rebukes and injuries; partly because the poor are cautions that they may not offend or provoke others; and partly because their persons and actions are neglected and slighted, and they are esteemed objects of pity. Bishop Patrick paraphrases the passage in the latter of these senses, thus: “Rich men are not always so happy as they are imagined; for their wealth sometimes only serves to make them accused of high crimes, and then to bring them off with a huge sum of money, which they pay to save their lives; but nobody is apt to find fault with the poor, or to bring any charge against them.” Dr. Waterland renders the latter clause, The poor heareth no disturbance.13:6. An honest desire to do right, preserves a man from fatal mistakes, better than a thousand fine-drawn distinctions. 7. 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. 8. Great riches often tempt to violence against those that possess them; but the poor are free from such perils. 9. The light of the righteous is as that of the sun, which may be eclipsed and clouded, but will continue: the Spirit is their Light, he gives a fulness of joy: that of the wicked is as a lamp of their own kindling, easily put out. 10. All contentions, whether between private persons, families, churches, or nations, are begun and carried forward by pride. Disputes would be easily prevented or ended, if it were not for pride. 11. Wealth gotten by dishonesty or vice, has a secret curse, which will speedily waste it. 12. The delay of what is anxiously hoped for, is very painful to the mind; obtaining it is very pleasant. But spiritual blessings are chiefly intended.On the one side is the seeming advantage of wealth. The rich man who gets out of many troubles often escapes from a just retribution by his money. But then the poor man in his turn is free from the risk of the threats and litigation that beset the rich. He "hears no rebuke" (the words are not used as in Proverbs 13:1) just as the dead "hear not the voice of the oppressor" Job 3:18 or the abuse of the envious. 8. Riches save some from punishment, while others suffer because they will not heed the rebuke of sloth, which makes and keeps them poor. This verse sets forth, either,

1. The several advantages of riches and poverty. Riches enable a man to redeem his life when it is in greatest danger, and poverty preserves a man from those rebukes and injuries which endanger and oft destroy the rich. Or,

2. The convenience of poverty above riches. Riches frequently expose men to the peril of losing their lives by false accusers, or thieves, or tyrants, which they are forced to redeem with the loss of their riches; whereas poverty commonly secures men not only from such kinds of death, but even from rebukes and injuries; partly because such persons are cautious that they may not offend or provoke others; and partly because their persons and actions are neglected and slighted, and they are esteemed objects of pity. The ransom of a man's life are his riches,.... As Benhadad's were to him, when he was in the hands of the king of Israel, 1 Kings 20:34; and as the treasures the ten men had in the field were to them, for the sake of which Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, slew them not, Jeremiah 41:8. This is the advantage of riches when a man is taken captive in war, or by pirates, or is in the hands of thieves and robbers, he can redeem himself by his money; or when his life is in danger by diseases, he can procure healing medicines; or by famine, he can get food to preserve it, when a poor man cannot: but this is not to be done always, and is only to be understood of a temporal life; for, as to the spiritual and eternal redemption of the soul of man, that requires a greater ransom price than such corruptible things as silver and gold; nothing short of the precious blood of Christ is sufficient for that, Job 36:18. Moreover, these words may not so much design the convenience as the inconvenience of riches to men; since these often invite thieves to assault their persons, and break into their houses, and threaten their lives; and put wicked men upon forming schemes, and drawing up charges and accusations against them, purely to get their money; which bring their lives into danger, and which they can only redeem by their riches;

but the poor heareth not rebuke; no charge and accusation is brought against him; no rebuke or reproof is given him; no notice is taken of him, because nothing is to be got from him; he may sleep with his door unlocked, thieves will give him no disturbance; he may travel upon the road without being bid to stand (c). Jarchi interprets this of him that is poor in the law; that hearkens not to reproofs and admonitions, given him to depart from evil: but rather it may be applied to the poor in spirit; who trust not in themselves and their own righteousness, but in the grace of God and righteousness of Christ; who indeed hear the rebukes of good men, and take them kindly; and of bad men, and return not revilings for them; and also the rebukes of Providence, or the chastisements of their heavenly Father, yet they will never hear any rebuke in wrath from him here or hereafter; when the rich in their own conceit, who trust in their riches and righteousness, and think to ransom their souls from death by them, will have rebukes with flames of fire.

(c) "Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator", Juvenal. Sat. 10. v. 23.

The ransom of a man's life is his riches: but the poor {c} heareth not rebuke.

(c) For his poverty, he is not able to escape the threatenings, which the cruel oppressors use against him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. heareth] i.e. heedeth. Comp. Proverbs 13:1.

rebuke] Rather threatening; ἀπειλήν, LXX.

If wealth has its advantage in enabling its possessor to purchase deliverance from danger and death (as, for example, by paying a ransom to robbers, or a fine or bribe in a court of justice), so has poverty in conferring immunity from the perils by which the rich are threatened: cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator.Verse 8. - The ransom of a man's life are his riches. A rich man can save himself from many difficulties and dangers by the sacrifice of a portion of his wealth, e.g. when his money or his life is demanded by a robber; when men in authority make extortionate demands on pain of death; or when he has incurred extreme penalty by infringement of law (Exodus 21:22, 30). Spiritually discerned, the passage recalls Christ's injunction, "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles" (Luke 16:9). The poor heareth not rebuke; has not to listen to (Job 3:18) threats from the covetous or abuse from the envious. He has nothing to lose, and no one can gain anything by interfering with him. So the poor man is at peace. "A hundred men cannot rob one pauper."

"Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator." 2 From the fruit of the mouth of a man he himself enjoys good;

   But the delight of the godless is violence.

2a equals Proverbs 12:14, where ישׂבּע for יאכל. A man with a fruit-bringing mouth, himself enjoys also the blessing of his fruit-producing speech; his food (cf. βρῶμα, John 4:34) is the good action in words, which in themselves are deeds, and are followed by deeds; this good action affords enjoyment not merely to others, but also to himself. Ewald and Bertheau attract יאכל to 2b; so also does Fleischer: "the violence which the בּגדים wish to do to others turns back upon themselves; they must eat it also, i.e., bear its evil consequences." The thought would then be like Proverbs 10:6 : os improborum obteget violentia, and "to eat violence" is parallel to "to drink (Proverbs 26:6) violence (injury)." But wherefore then the naming of the soul, of which elsewhere it is said that it hungers or satiates itself, but never simply (but cf. Luke 12:19) that it eats? On the contrary, נפשׁ means also appetitus, Proverbs 23:2, and particularly wicked desire, Psalm 27:12; here, as Psalm 35:25, the object of this desire (Psychol. p. 202). Regarding בגדים, vid., above, p. 85. There are such as do injury in a cunning deceitful manner to their neighbour to their own advantage. While the former (the righteous) distributes to his neighbour from the inner impulse without having such a result in view, yet according to God's direction he derives enjoyment himself therefrom: the desire of the latter goes to חמס, ἀδικία, and thus to the enjoyment of good unrighteously and violently seized.

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