Proverbs 13:7

ESV One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
NIV One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
NASB There is one who pretends to be rich but has nothing; Another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth.
CSB One person pretends to be rich but has nothing; another pretends to be poor but has abundant wealth.
NLT Some who are poor pretend to be rich; others who are rich pretend to be poor.
KJV There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
NKJV There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.

What does Proverbs 13:7 mean?

The original language of this verse leads to subtle differences in how it can be interpreted. An extremely literal presentation of the Hebrew would read something like, "One enriching has nothing at all, impoverishing great wealth." This seems to play on the idea of those who put on an appearance of being wealthy when they have nothing, while others make themselves out to be poor when they have plenty (Proverbs 11:26; 16:19; 22:9). Another possible meaning is that those who focus on material wealth are spiritually poor, while those less concerned with worldly wealth are spiritually rich (Proverbs 11:24, 28; 22:1). Either view has support from Scripture; both lessons are supported elsewhere in the book of Proverbs.

The hypocritical boaster who has no wealth is insecure; to boost his self-esteem he pretends to be wealthy. The rich farmer in Jesus' parable boasted about his bumper crops, but he was spiritually bankrupt. When demanding his soul, God called such a person a fool and reminded him that material goods would not accompany him beyond the grave (Luke 12:20). The church at Laodicea boasted about its affluence, but it lacked true wealth. Jesus told the church: "You say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked" (Revelation 3:17). The apostle Paul assumed a sincerely humble posture. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:10 that he was poor yet made many rich and had nothing but possessed everything. It is better to be spiritually rich than to feign material wealth.
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