Proverbs 14:31 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 14:31, NIV: Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

Proverbs 14:31, ESV: Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.

Proverbs 14:31, KJV: He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.

Proverbs 14:31, NASB: One who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But one who is gracious to the needy honors Him.

Proverbs 14:31, NLT: Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.

Proverbs 14:31, CSB: The one who oppresses the poor person insults his Maker, but one who is kind to the needy honors him.

What does Proverbs 14:31 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Once again, Solomon champions the cause of the poor. Although he was extremely rich (1 Kings 10:23), he had compassion for the needy and warned that treating the poor unfairly was a serious sin—an actual "insult" to God. The key Hebrew term here is 'ashaq, which also implies fraud, violation, extortion, or taking advantage of others. To treat the needy in an abusive way sneers at God's creative work. The word translated "insults" in the ESV can also be rendered as "taunts" or even "blasphemes." The poor, like all other human beings, are created in God's image (Genesis 1:27), and therefore are infinitely valuable (Galatians 3:28).

Job stated, "If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant, when they brought a complaint against me, what shall I do when God rises up?" (Job 31:13–14). He further indicates he ought to have his shoulder blade fall from his shoulder and his arm be broken if he has failed to feed and assist the poor and needy (Job 31:16–23).

The better way to treat the hurting and needy is with kindness and charity. The person who generously helps the needy honors his Maker. Helping those who are genuinely poor financially or materially shows reverence for God as the creator of all mankind (Matthew 10:42; 25:40, 45).