Riches (Prov 22:1-22:4)

“A good name is to be chosen

Rather than great riches.

Favor is better than silver or gold.

The rich and the poor have this in common.

Yahweh is the maker of them all.

The clever see danger.

They hide.

But the simple go on.

They suffer for it.

The reward for humility is

Riches,

Honor,

Life.

The reward for fear of Yahweh is

Riches,

Honor,

Life.”

Interesting enough, a good name is better than riches. But then these proverbs go on to explain that richness and wealth is a reward for a good life. Favor with God is better than gold and silver. Both the rich and the poor have one thing in common. God made both of them. Now the clever or prudent ones see danger and they hide. However, the simple ones see the same danger, but they keep going on. Thus they suffer this danger. If you are humble, you will have a life of riches and honor. The same goes for those who fear Yahweh. They too will have a rich and honorable life.

Rich and poor (Prov 13:7-13:11)

“Some pretend to be rich.

Yet they have nothing.

Others pretend to be poor,

Yet they have great wealth.

Wealth is a ransom for a person’s life.

But the poor get no threats.

The light of the righteous rejoices.

But the lamp of the wicked goes out.

By insolence

The heedless make strife.

But wisdom is

With those who take advice.

Wealth hastily gotten

Will dwindle.

But those who gather little by little

Will increase it.”

Once again there is a comparison between the rich and the poor. The rich are the righteous, while the poor are the foolish. Some people pretend to be rich when they do not have anything. Others pretend to be poor when they are rich. Those who lead a good life will get riches, while the poor will not get anything. The light of the righteous or a good life will bring them happiness. The wicked will see their light go out because of their insolence and heedless strife or arguing. The wise ones take advice. If you get wealthy too quickly your wealth will dwindle. However, if you gain wealth slowly, a little at a time, your wealth will increase.

Integrity (Prov 11:1-11:4)

“A false balance is an abomination to Yahweh.

But an accurate weight is his delight.

When pride comes,

Then disgrace comes.

But wisdom is with the humble.

The integrity of the upright guides them.

But the crookedness of the treacherous

Destroys them.

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath.

But righteousness delivers from death.”

Yahweh wants integrity in humans. They should not use a false scale, but have accurate weights in their business dealings. Pride brings disgrace while humility is wise. Integrity should be your guide, as it is for the upright, because the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. On the day of wrath, riches will not be worth much, but righteousness will deliver you from death.

A description of wisdom (Prov 8:12-8:21)

“I

Wisdom,

I live with prudence.

I attain knowledge.

I attain discretion.

The fear of Yahweh is hatred of evil.

I hate pride.

I hate arrogance.

I hate the way of evil.

I hate perverted speech.         

I have good advice.

I have sound wisdom.

I have insight.

I have strength.

Kings reign by me.

Rulers decree what is just.

Rulers rule by me.

Nobles govern by me.

All who govern rightly rule by me.

I love those who love me.

Those who seek me diligently

Find me.

Riches and honor are with me.

Enduring wealth is with me.

Prosperity is with me.

My fruit is better than gold,

Even fine gold.

My yield is better than choice silver.

I walk in the way of righteousness.

I walk along the paths of justice,

I endow with wealth those who love me.

I fill their treasuries.”

In an interesting use of a literary form, female wisdom describes herself in the first person singular, “I.” She is prudent, knowledgeable, and discreet. As God fearing, she hates evil, pride, arrogance, and perverted speech. On the other hand, she has good advice, sound wisdom, insight, and strength. All the kings, rulers, and nobles govern rightly because of her. She loves those who love her and seek her out diligently. When you have lady wisdom, then you have riches, honor, wealth, and prosperity. The fruit of wisdom is better than fine gold and silver. She walks in the way of righteousness along the paths of justice. Those who love her will be filled with wealth and treasures.

Wisdom and happiness (Prov 3:13-3:18)

“Happy are those who find wisdom!

Happy are those who get understanding!

Her income is better than silver.

Her revenue is better than gold.

She is more precious than jewels.

Nothing you desire can compare with her.

Long life is in her right hand.

In her left hand are riches.

In her left hand is honor.

Her ways are ways of pleasantness.

All her paths are peace.

All her paths are happiness.

She is a tree of life

To those who lay hold of her.

Those who hold her fast are called happy.”

You will be happy if you find wisdom. You will be happy because you have an intelligent understanding of life. The personification of wisdom is female not male. Her profit, income, or revenue is greater than silver, gold, or jewels. Nothing can compare to lady wisdom. In her right hand is a long life. In her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant. All her paths are peaceful and happy. She is the tree of life. Once you can get hold of her, you will be happy.

Prayer to keep the commandments (Ps 119:9-119:16)

Bet

“How can young people keep their way pure?

They guard it according to your word.

With my whole heart I seek you.

Do not let me stray from your commandments.

I treasure your word in my heart.

Thus I may not sin against you.

Blessed be you!

Yahweh!

Teach me your statutes!

With my lips I declare

All the ordinances of your mouth.

I delight in the way of your decrees.

I delight as much as in all riches.

I will meditate on your precepts.

I will fix my eyes on your ways.

I will delight in thy statutes.

I will not forget your word.”

This psalmist asked Yahweh to help him keep his commandments. He asked the basic question that keeps coming up today. How can the young people keep a pure way? How can they keep your word? The psalmist maintained that he was trying not to stray from Yahweh’s commandments with his whole heart. Once again, he personally wanted to learn more about the statutes of Yahweh. Using the first person singular, he wanted to delight in Yahweh’s commandment like others delight in riches. He wanted to meditate on the statutes of Yahweh so that he would not forget them. Thus this section on the second consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Bet, comes to an end.

The righteous (Ps 112:1-112:6)

“Praise Yahweh!

Aleph 

Happy are those who fear Yahweh!

Bet      

Happy are those who greatly delight in his commandments!

Gimel

Their descendants will be mighty in the land.

Dalet  

The generation of the upright will be blessed.

He      

Wealth and riches are in their houses.

Vav     

Their righteousness endures forever.

Zain   

They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright.

Het     

They are gracious, merciful, and righteous.

Tet      

It is well with those who deal generously and lend.

Yod     

They conduct their affairs with justice.

Kaph  

The righteous will never be moved.

Lamed

They will be remembered forever.”

Psalm 112 is a companion psalm to Psalm 111. Even though it is fairly short, it is another line by line acrostic or Hebrew alphabet psalm without any title. Just like the preceding psalm, it also starts with the refrain “Praise Yahweh” or the Alleluia cry, the Hebrew word “Hallelujah.” Although there is a comparison between the righteous and the wicked, the emphasis is mostly on the righteous. The righteous are happy because they fear God. They delight in his commandments. Their descendants will be mighty. The generations of the upright are blessed and happy since their righteousness endures forever. They will have wealth and riches in their houses. They will be the light in the darkness. They are gracious, merciful, and righteous, just like Yahweh. They will be generous and just. They will be remembered because of their righteousness.

 

The relative value of wealth (Ps 62:9-62:10)

“Those of low estate are but a breath.

Those of high estate are a delusion.

In the balances they go up.

They are together

Lighter than a breath.

Put no confidence in extortion.

Set no vain hopes on robbery.

If riches increase,

Do not set your heart on them.”

Suddenly there is a discussion about the relative value of wealth. Those of a low estate are like a breath, while those of a high estate are a delusion. Together they are a mere breath. David then asks them not to extort or rob each other, which seems like a good recommendation. If, however, your riches increased, he did not want them to set their heart on their new found wealth.

Haman was happy (Esth 5:9-5:13)

“Haman went out that day from the king happy and in good spirits. But when he saw Mordecai the Jew in the courtyard, and observed that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was infuriated with Mordecai. Nevertheless Haman restrained himself. He went home. Then he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh. Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches and the number of his sons. He told them about all the promotions with which the king had honored him. He explained how he had advanced above the officials and ministers of the king. Haman added.

‘Even Queen Esther let no one but me

Come with the king to the banquet that she prepared.

Tomorrow also I am invited by her,

Together with the king.

Yet all this does me no good,

As long as I see the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.’”

Haman was very happy as he left the king and Queen Esther. However, when he saw Mordecai in the courtyard, he was angry. Mordecai would not recognize his authority, but Haman remained calm and went home. Once at home, he called his friends and wife and told them how wonderful things were going. Haman was a rich man with many sons. He had been promoted and honored by the king. He was the second in command in the kingdom. In fact, he had been the only one invited to a dinner with the king and his wife that day and once again he was invited tomorrow. There was only one thing that really bothered him, the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.

God grants King Solomon wisdom (2 Chr 1:11-1:12)

“God answered King Solomon. ‘This was in your heart. You have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you. You have not even asked for a long life. However, you have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may rule my people over whom I have made you king. Wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you. None after you shall have the like.”

This section closely follows 1 Kings, chapter 3, as Yahweh was pleased that King Solomon spoke from his heart. He did not ask for possessions, honors, a long life, riches, or the life of his enemies. Instead he had asked for knowledge and wisdom to discern about what is the right thing to do for the people of Israel. Therefore, Yahweh was going to give King Solomon wisdom and knowledge, like no other king before him or after him. On top of that wisdom, Yahweh would also give him riches, possessions, and honors. There is no stipulation here as there was in 1 Kings, chapter 3 that he had to walk in the footsteps of King David, by keeping the statutes and commandments of Yahweh. This appearance of Yahweh went well for Solomon, as he will be both wise and rich.