'Poor' in the Bible
“If you lend money to any one of My people with you who is poor, you shall not act as a creditor (professional moneylender) to him; you shall not charge him interest.
nor shall you favor or be partial to a poor man in his dispute [simply because he is poor].
“You shall not pervert (bend) the justice due to your poor in his dispute.
but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie uncultivated, so that the poor among your people may eat [what the land grows naturally]; whatever they leave the animals of the field may eat. You shall do the same with your vineyard and olive grove.
The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give this contribution to the Lord to make atonement for yourselves.
“But if the cleansed leper is poor and his means are insufficient, then he is to take one lamb as a guilt offering to be waved to make atonement for him, and one tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering, and a log of oil,
And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather its fallen grapes; you shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger. I am the Lord your God.
‘You shall not do injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor show a preference for the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the edges of your field, nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the poor and for the stranger. I am the Lord your God.’”
‘If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell some of his property, then his nearest relative is to come and buy back (redeem) what his relative has sold.
‘Now if your fellow countryman becomes poor and his hand falters with you [that is, he has trouble repaying you for something], then you are to help and sustain him, [with courtesy and consideration] like [you would] a stranger or a temporary resident [without property], so that he may live among you.
‘And if your fellow countryman becomes so poor [in his dealings] with you that he sells himself to you [as payment for a debt], you shall not let him do the work of a slave [who is ineligible for redemption],
‘Now if the financial means of a stranger or temporary resident among you become sufficient, and your fellow countryman becomes poor in comparison to him and sells himself to the stranger who is living among you or to the descendants of the stranger’s family,
But if the person is too poor to pay your valuation, then he shall be placed before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to the ability of the one who vowed, the priest shall value him.
However, there will be no poor among you, since the Lord will most certainly bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess,
“If there is a poor man among you, one of your fellow Israelites, in any of your cities in the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not be heartless, nor close-fisted with your poor brother;
Beware that there is no wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release (remission, pardon), is approaching,’ and your eye is hostile (unsympathetic) toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing [since he would not have to repay you]; for he may cry out to the Lord against you, and it will become a sin for you.
For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy, and to your poor in your land.’
If the man is poor, you shall not keep his pledge overnight.
“You shall not take advantage of a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether [he is] one of your countrymen or one of the strangers (resident aliens, foreigners) who is in your land inside your cities.
You shall give him his wages on the day that he earns them before the sun sets—for he is poor and is counting on it—so that he does not cry out to the Lord against you, and it becomes a sin for you.
Then on the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Persuade your husband to tell us [through you] the [answer to the] riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s household with fire. Have you invited us to make us poor? Is this not true?”
Then he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made your last kindness better than the first; for you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.
“The Lord makes poor and makes rich;He brings low and He lifts up.
“He raises up the poor from the dust,He lifts up the needy from the ash heapTo make them sit with nobles,And inherit a seat of honor and glory;For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,And He set the land on them.
So Saul’s servants spoke these words to David. But David said, “Is it a trivial thing in your sight to become a king’s son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man and insignificant?”
And the Lord sent Nathan [the prophet] to David. He came and said to him,“There were two men in a city, one rich and the other poor.
But the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lambWhich he had purchased and nourished;And it grew up together with him and his children.It ate his food, drank from his cup, it lay in his arms,And was like a daughter to him.
“Now a traveler (visitor) came to the rich man,And to avoid taking one from his own flock or herdTo prepare [a meal] for the traveler who had come to him,He took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for his guest.”
Now there was a great outcry of the [poorer] people and their wives against their Jewish brothers [to whom they were deeply in debt].
because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and as the month which was turned for them from grief to joy and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending choice portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor.
“So the helpless have hope,And injustice shuts its mouth.
“Will You cause a windblown leaf to tremble?Will You pursue the chaff of the dry stubble?
“His sons favor the poor [and pay his obligations],And his hands give back his [ill-gotten] wealth.
“For he has oppressed and neglected the poor;He has violently taken away houses which he did not build.
“In the fullness of his excess (great abundance) he will be in trouble;The hand of everyone who suffers will come against him [he is miserable on every side].
“They crowd the needy off the road;The poor of the land all hide themselves.
“Behold, as wild donkeys in the desert,The poor go to their work, diligently seeking food;As bread for their children in the desert.
“Others snatch the fatherless [infants] from the breast [to sell or make them slaves],And against the poor they take a pledge [of clothing].
“Within the walls [of the wicked] the poor make [olive] oil;They tread [the grapes in] the wine presses, but thirst.
“The murderer rises at dawn;He kills the poor and the needy,And at night he becomes a thief.
Because I rescued the poor who cried for help,And the orphan who had no helper.
“I was a father to the needy;I investigated the case I did not know [and assured justice].
“Did I not weep for one whose life was hard and filled with trouble?Was not my heart grieved for the needy?
“If I have withheld from the poor what they desired,Or have caused the eyes of the widow to look in vain [for relief],
If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,Or any poor person without covering,
“Who is not partial to princes,Nor does He regard the rich above the poor,For they all are the work of His hands.
So that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him,And He heard the cry of the afflicted.
For He who avenges blood [unjustly shed] remembers them (His people);He does not forget the cry of the afflicted and abused.
For the poor will not always be forgotten,Nor the hope of the burdened perish forever.
In pride and arrogance the wicked hotly pursue and persecute the afflicted;Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.
He lurks in ambush in the villages;In hiding places he kills the innocent;He lies in wait for the unfortunate [the unhappy, the poor, the helpless].
He lurks in a hiding place like a lion in his lair;He lies in wait to catch the afflicted;He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net.
“Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy,Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
You [evildoers] shamefully plan against the poor,But the Lord is his safe refuge.
From men with Your hand, O Lord,From men of the world [these moths of the night] whose portion [of enjoyment] is in this life—idle and vain,And whose belly You fill with Your treasure;They are satisfied with children,And they leave what they have left [of wealth] to their children.
The afflicted will eat and be satisfied;Those who [diligently] seek Him and require Him [as their greatest need] will praise the Lord.May your hearts live forever!
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard himAnd saved him from all his troubles.
All my bones will say, “Lord, who is like You,Who rescues the afflicted from him who is too strong for him [to resist alone],And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?”
The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bowTo cast down the afflicted and the needy,To slaughter those who are upright in conduct [those with personal integrity and godly character].
Even though I am afflicted and needy,Still the Lord takes thought and is mindful of me.You are my help and my rescuer.O my God, do not delay.
Blessed [by God’s grace and compassion] is he who considers the helpless;The Lord will save him in the day of trouble.
Both low and high,Rich and poor together:
Your flock found a dwelling place in it;O God, in Your goodness You provided for the poor.
But I am sorrowful and in pain;May Your salvation, O God, set me [securely] on high.
For the Lord hears the needyAnd does not despise His who are prisoners.
But I am afflicted and needy;Come quickly to me, O God!You are my help and my rescuer;O Lord, do not delay.
May he judge Your people with righteousness,And Your afflicted with justice.
May he bring justice to the poor among the people,Save the children of the needyAnd crush the oppressor,
For he will rescue the needy when he cries for help,The afflicted and abused also, and him who has no helper.
He will have compassion on the poor and needy,And he will save the lives of the needy.
Oh, do not hand over the soul of your turtledove to the wild beast;Do not forget the life of Your afflicted forever.
Vindicate the weak and fatherless;Do justice and maintain the rights of the afflicted and destitute.
Rescue the weak and needy;Rescue them from the hand of the wicked.
Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me,For I am distressed and needy [I long for Your help].
Yet He sets the needy securely on high, away from affliction,And makes their families like a flock.
Because the man did not remember to show kindness,But persecuted the suffering and needy man,And the brokenhearted, to put them to death.
For I am suffering and needy,And my heart is wounded within me.
For He will stand at the right hand of the needy,To save him from those who judge his soul.
He has given freely to the poor;His righteousness endures forever;His horn will be exalted in honor.
He raises the poor out of the dustAnd lifts the needy from the ash heap,
“I will abundantly bless her provisions;I will satisfy her poor with bread.
I know [with confidence] that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted,And [will secure] justice for the poor.
Poor is he who works with a negligent and idle hand,But the hand of the diligent makes him rich.
The rich man’s wealth is his fortress;The ruin of the poor is their poverty.
There is one who pretends to be rich, yet has nothing at all;Another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
The ransom for a man’s life is his wealth,But the poor man does not even have to listen to a rebuke or threats [from the envious].
Abundant food is in the fallow (uncultivated) ground of the poor,But [without protection] it is swept away by injustice.
The poor man is hated even by his neighbor,But those who love the rich are many.
He who despises his neighbor sins [against God and his fellow man],But happy [blessed and favored by God] is he who is gracious and merciful to the poor.
He who oppresses the poor taunts and insults his Maker,But he who is kind and merciful and gracious to the needy honors Him.
It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowlyThan to divide the spoil with the proud (haughty, arrogant).
Whoever mocks the poor taunts his Maker,And he who rejoices at [another’s] disaster will not go unpunished.
The poor man pleads,But the rich man answers roughly.
Better is a poor man who walks in his integrityThan a [rich] man who is twisted in his speech and is a [shortsighted] fool.
Wealth makes many friends,But a poor man is separated from his friend.
All the brothers of a poor man hate him;How much more do his friends abandon him!He pursues them with words, but they are gone.
He who is gracious and lends a hand to the poor lends to the Lord,And the Lord will repay him for his good deed.
That which is desirable in a man is his loyalty and unfailing love,But it is better to be a poor man than a [wealthy] liar.
Whoever shuts his ears at the cry of the poorWill cry out himself and not be answered.
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