Proverbs 18:11

ESV A rich man 's wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.
NIV The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale.
NASB A rich person’s wealth is his strong city, And like a high wall in his own imagination.
CSB The wealth of the rich is his fortified city; in his imagination it is like a high wall.
NLT The rich think of their wealth as a strong defense; they imagine it to be a high wall of safety.
KJV The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as a high wall in his own conceit.
NKJV The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, And like a high wall in his own esteem.

What does Proverbs 18:11 mean?

According to this verse, being rich tempts people towards a false sense of invincibility. One reason earthly wealth can interfere with spiritual growth is when it numbs us to our dependence on God (Matthew 19:23). There are obvious practical advantages to money; without question, a rich person can overcome most setbacks and complications more easily than can a poor person. Yet money cannot do everything, nor is it eternal. War, economic collapse, and other factors can destroy wealth in an instant. Money cannot achieve the impossible.

Thinking of wealth as a stable, immovable refuge is to live in imagination, not reality. Many individuals work feverishly to build a fortune, only to discover that trusting in wealth for security is like building house on sand. When trouble strikes, wealth and possessions may collapse as surely and as swiftly as a house built on sand collapses in a violent storm (Matthew 7:26–27). Even if money lasts to the end of one's earthly life, it can't be taken along into eternity (1 Timothy 6:7; Luke 12:16–21).

This false perspective on money is reflected in the following proverb (Proverbs 18:12) and is also echoed in Proverbs 11:2 and Proverbs 16:18.

Proverbs 23:4¬–5 cautions: "Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven." Amid his trials, Job reflected on the fact that he had not put excessive trust in his gold. He knew better than to feel secure in riches (Job 31:24–25).
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