Summary: Part 12 of the Sermon Series, "Rich Man Poor Man in Proverbs"
"Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail. Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed,
for he shares his bread with the poor" (Prov. 22:8-9).
Proverbs 22:8-9 is about sowing, reaping, planting, and harvesting. Indeed, what you sow, that you shall reap. Here, “injustice” corresponds to “the rod of his fury.” The word “calamity” parallels the word “fail.” Thus, one’s injustice is one’s rod of fury. To reap calamity is to fail. If you sow injustice, you will reap calamity. If you swing the rod of your fury, you will fail.
I looked into the word “injustice” (awla). It denotes, “unrighteousness; wrong,”51 or “behavior contrary to what is right.”52 The word “fury” (ebra) means “overflowing rage.”53 In the OT, it refers to the pride of men linked with anger. Pride combined with anger means arrogance. Thus, the word “fury” means anger marked by arrogance.
Hence, injustice refers to one’s fury or one’s arrogant anger. In the perspective of vv. 7 and 16, injustice refers to oppression. The wrongful behavior and arrogance of the rich shall result in slavery and oppression of the poor. Yet the writer says that if you sow injustice—if you do wrong by oppressing the poor with your arrogant anger—you will reap calamity.
The word “calamity” (awen) means “trouble, sorrow,”54 resulting to sin and emptiness.55 If you plant injustice and wrongful acts borne by arrogance, you will harvest calamity, trouble, and sorrow.
"Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor" (Prov. 22:8-9). If you are rich and possess a bountiful eye, you are blessed. The words “bountiful eye” (tob ayin)—literally, “good eye—means generosity in this parallelism. To have a bountiful eye is to be generous, sharing your bread with the poor. To be generous to the poor is to be blessed, either by God or by the poor themselves.
According to Barron’s Global Philanthropy Group, the following are the Top Seven Most Effective Givers in the world in 2009.56
1. Pierre and Pam Omidyar. The couple put up a $100 million fund at Tufts University. They expect it to generate $1 billion in microloans in developing countries.
2. Jeff Skoll. He gives three-year grants to 59 groups trying to build a more peaceful and prosperous world. One recipient has trained large rats to sniff for landmines in Africa, which have killed or maimed hundreds of people there.
3. Chris and Jamie Cooper-Hohn. Their foundation worth $2.5 billion in assets seeks to save children by saving their mothers.
4. Eli and Edythe Broad. They fund the training of school superintendents. They also award grants to medical research of young scientists. They have given up to $400 million since 1999.
5. Thomas Siebel. He funded an ad campaign in Montana —2,000 billboards and 61,000 TV spots—to warn teens against methamphetamine abuse, resulting in a drop in ranking of the state for methamphetamine abuse, from no. 5 to no. 39.
6. Donna & Philip Berber. They put their money in Ethiopia. They have financed the construction of 3,600 water wells, 400 schools, and 6,500 microloans, benefiting up to two million Ethiopians.
7. Bill & Melinda Gates. They run the world’s largest foundation, curbing childhood malaria, and funding various projects in more than 100 countries.
There are rich people who are generous to the poor. There are rich people who are stingy to the poor. However, if you are rich and generous to the poor, Proverbs says, you are blessed. God Himself will be the first to bless you. Then the poor will also bless you with their thanksgiving and their prayers.
Has God given you wealth and riches? Sow injustice, wrongdoing, and arrogance to the poor and you will reap calamity, trouble, and sorrow. But sow generosity to the poor and God will bless you.
51 Brown, Driver, and Briggs, “??????,” BDB, 6882:732.
52 Harris, Archer, and Waltke, “?????,” TWOT 1:1580d.
53 Brown, Driver, and Briggs, “??????,” BDB, 6750:720.
54 Brown, Driver, and Briggs, “??????,” BDB, 248:19.
55 Harris, Archer, and Waltke, “??????,” TWOT 1:48a.
56 Suzanne McGee, The 25 Best Givers, Nov. 30, 2009. Cited: March 17, 2012. Online: http://online.barrons.com/ article/SB12593546 6529866955.html# articleTabs_panel_article3D1.