Proverbs 22:22

ESV Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate,
NIV Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court,
NASB Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Nor crush the needy at the gate;
CSB Don't rob a poor person because he is poor, and don't crush the oppressed at the city gate,
NLT Don’t rob the poor just because you can, or exploit the needy in court.
KJV Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:

What does Proverbs 22:22 mean?

Again, Solomon champions the cause of the poor and the oppressed (Proverbs 14:31; 19:17; 22:16). The poor alluded to in this verse are the feeble, weak, helpless members of society. The concept includes more than merely finances; anyone suffering from undeserved disadvantage would be part of this "poor" group. Of course, the disadvantaged are exactly those on whom wicked people prey. They could easily take from the poor what little they had.

Throughout the Old Testament references to a city's gate identify it as the place where legal matters were tried and decided (Deuteronomy 22:15; Ruth 4:11). Genesis 34:20 marks it as the place where business was transacted. Parents could take a stubborn, rebellious son to their city's gate for sentencing (Deuteronomy 21:18–21). Amos 5:15 identifies the gate as the place where justice was established. Powerful people can take advantage of bribery, lies, manipulations, and underhanded tactics to win cases against the defenseless. Scripture soundly condemns such evil; the rich and powerful are charged with caring for others, not exploiting them.

The poor and disadvantaged should be treated with respect, dignity, compassion, and fairness. Those who violate the rights of the weak can expect consequences (Proverbs 22:23).
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