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The rich rule over[a] the poor,
and the borrower is servant[b] to the lender.
The one who sows[c] iniquity will reap trouble,
and the rod of his fury[d] will end.
A generous person[e] will be blessed,[f]
for he has given some of his food[g] to the poor.

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  1. Proverbs 22:7 sn The proverb is making an observation on life. The synonymous parallelism matches “rule over” with “servant” to show how poverty makes people dependent on, or obligated to, others.
  2. Proverbs 22:7 tn Or “slave” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV, TEV, CEV). This may refer to the practice in Israel of people selling themselves into slavery to pay off debts (Exod 21:2-7).
  3. Proverbs 22:8 sn The verse is making an implied comparison (a figure of speech known as hypocatastasis) between sowing and sinning. One who sins is like one who sows, for there will be a “harvest” or a return on the sin—trouble.
  4. Proverbs 22:8 tc There is a variant reading in the LXX; instead of “the rod of his wrath” it reads “the punishment of his deeds.” C. H. Toy wishes to emend שֵׁבֶט (shevet) to שֶׁבֶר (shever), “the produce of his work” (Proverbs [ICC], 416). But the Hebrew text is not obscure, and שֶׁבֶר does not exactly mean “produce.” The expression “rod of his wrath” may not follow the imagery of 8a very closely, but it is nonetheless understandable. The “rod” is a symbol of power; “wrath” is a metonymy of cause indicating what wrath will do, and an objective genitive. The expression signifies that in reaping trouble for his sins this person will no longer be able to unleash his fury on others. The LXX adds: “A man who is cheerful and a giver God blesses” (e.g., 2 Cor 9:7).
  5. Proverbs 22:9 tn Heb “good of eye.” This expression is an attributive genitive meaning “bountiful of eye” (cf. KJV, ASV “He that hath a bountiful eye”). This is the opposite of the “evil eye” which is covetous and wicked. The “eye” is a metonymy representing looking well to people’s needs. So this refers to the generous person (cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
  6. Proverbs 22:9 tn The form יְבֹרָךְ (yevorakh) is a Pual imperfect (here in pause) from בָּרַךְ (barakh); the word means “blessed” in the sense of “enriched,” implying there is a practical reward for being generous to the poor.
  7. Proverbs 22:9 sn It is from his own food that he gives to the poor. Of the many observations that could be made, it is worth noting that in blessing this kind of person God is in fact providing for the poor, because out of his blessing he will surely continue to share more. Also, the blessing is not for those who take the resources of others and redistribute that to the poor.

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