Prosperity with Injustice Shall Reap Calamity

Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail.

Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor (Prov. 22:8-9)

These verses talk about sowing and reaping, planting harvesting. Indeed, what you sow, that you shall reap. Here, “injustice” corresponds to “the rod of his fury.” The word, “calamity,” parallels the word, “fail.” Thus, one’s injustice is one’s rod of fury. To reap calamity is to fail. If you sow injustice, you will reap calamity. If you swing the rod of your fury, you will fail.

I looked into the word, “injustice” (Heb. awla). It denotes, “unrighteousness; wrong” (BDB), or “behavior contrary to what is right.” (TWOT) The word, “fury” (Heb. ebra) means, “overflowing rage.” (BDB) In the OT, it refers to the pride of men linked with anger. Pride combined with anger means arrogance. The word, “fury,” thus means, anger marked by arrogance.

Hence, injustice refers to one’s fury or one’s arrogant anger. In the context of vv. 7 and 16, injustice refers to oppression. The wrongful behavior and arrogance of the rich shall result to slavery and oppression of the poor. But the writer says that if you sow injustice—if you do wrong by oppressing the poor with your arrogant anger—you will reap calamity.

The word, “calamity” (Heb. awen), means, “trouble, sorrow” (BDB), resulting to sin and emptiness. (TWOT) If you plant injustice and wrongful acts borne by arrogance, you will harvest calamity, trouble, and sorrow.

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