Better to be a Poor Person with Integrity Than to be a Rich Fool

Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool” (Prov. 19:1). Who is the fool in Proverbs? The word, “fool” (Heb. kesil), refers to “the dull or obstinate one, referring not to mental deficiency, but to a propensity to make wrong choices.” (TWOT) The fool in Proverbs dislikes divine instruction (1:2). He wants to do what he wants, without listening to sound judgment (18:1). His crooked speech comes from a crooked heart (19:1). He makes hasty decisions (19:2). His foolishness leads him to destruction. Worse, he blames the Lord for it (19:3).

Thus, it is okay to be poor, so long as you live in integrity. Conversely, it is bad to be rich, if you live like a fool.

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