Proverbs 19:6

ESV Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.
NIV Many curry favor with a ruler, and everyone is the friend of one who gives gifts.
NASB Many will seek the favor of a generous person, And every person is a friend to him who gives gifts.
CSB Many seek a ruler's favor, and everyone is a friend of one who gives gifts.
NLT Many seek favors from a ruler; everyone is the friend of a person who gives gifts!
KJV Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.

What does Proverbs 19:6 mean?

This expands on the first half of a recent proverb (Proverbs 19:4). It's common for people to seek approval from the rich and generous, while ignoring the poor (Proverbs 14:20; 18:16). The statement that "everyone" is a rich person's friend comes in the context of the earlier verse: noting that "friendship" grounded in wealth is unreliable. The friend who stays close even when someone is in need is a true friend. As with other proverbs, the purpose is not to endorse bribes or attempts to buy influence (Proverbs 17:8, 23). Rather, Scripture notes this truth and advises skepticism towards those who seem to be "friends," when all they really want are benefits.

Perhaps Solomon had personally discovered this truth. His wealth and fame were known far and wide. The Queen of Sheba traveled to Solomon's kingdom to see for herself what Solomon had accomplished. After viewing his domain, she was breathless and exclaimed, "The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, half the greatness of your wisdom was not told me; you surpass the report that I heard" (2 Chronicles 9:5–6). Although the Queen of Sheba's visit to Solomon seems to have been well-intentioned, many other visitors likely hoped to gain something from him that they could use for their personal advantage.
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