Proverbs 29:7

ESV A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.
NIV The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.
NASB The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; The wicked does not understand such concern.
CSB The righteous person knows the rights of the poor, but the wicked one does not understand these concerns.
NLT The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.
KJV The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.

What does Proverbs 29:7 mean?

In Scripture, the word "poor" often means more than simply a lack of money. The Hebrew root word dal implies weakness, being low, powerlessness, and so forth. This contrasts with those enabled or supported, especially those in power. God demonstrates care for the weak and poor (Proverbs 14:31; 21:13) and expects those who follow Him to do the same (Matthew 25:34–40; Proverbs 22:22; 31:8–9; Psalm 41:1). Just as being "poor" can involve more than money, caring for such people extends to more than charity. It also includes working for "justice" (Proverbs 18:5) by advocating for what is fair and true. Lack of concern for disadvantaged people is a sign of wickedness (Proverbs 12:26; 28:5, 15).

The apostle James' readers were persecuted and, in many cases, robbed of property and possessions. That even occurred in the case of cruel landowners who cheated and lied to avoid paying the people they'd hired. He writes: "Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you" (James 5:4–6).
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