Proverbs 10:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 10:15, NIV: The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor.

Proverbs 10:15, ESV: A rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the poverty of the poor is their ruin.

Proverbs 10:15, KJV: The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.

Proverbs 10:15, NASB: The rich person’s wealth is his fortress, The ruin of the poor is their poverty.

Proverbs 10:15, NLT: The wealth of the rich is their fortress; the poverty of the poor is their destruction.

Proverbs 10:15, CSB: The wealth of the rich is his fortified city; the poverty of the poor is their destruction.

What does Proverbs 10:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Scripture does not deny that there is some value in worldly wealth—it only notes that this value is temporary and unreliable. Nor does it ignore the struggles of those who are in need—though it does not assign value to someone based on their bank account (Matthew 6:19–24). Here, as with many proverbs, Solomon's comment is simply an acknowledgement of reality. It's sometimes said that in order to make money, one needs to spend money. This is why the "cycle of poverty" is hard to break: being poor, in and of itself, creates challenges that can be hard to overcome.

A rich man's fortune can provide a certain amount of security. For example, if tragedy strikes and damages his house, he has the resources to repair the damage. If an enemy threatens him, he has the resources to defend himself. Poverty can render a person helpless. He is unable to defend against an enemy or powerless to improve his lot in life. Money is not fate, of course, but it's an unfortunate truth that being poor makes everything else in life more difficult.

The Bible warns about trusting in one's riches instead of in God. Paul gave Timothy the responsibility to charge the rich "not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy" (1 Timothy 6:17). It is not wrong to have riches. Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man, but he courageously demonstrated his loyalty to Jesus by providing a tomb for Jesus' burial (see Luke 23:50–53). It is, however, wrong for riches to have us.