Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 13:8
"The ransom of a man's life is his wealth, but the poor hears no rebuke"
This is the Hebrew word kopher, which means price of life, ransom, bribe.
This is the Hebrew word nephesh, which means soul, living being, life.
This is the Hebrew word osher, which means riches, fortune, wealth. It is the accumulation of goods and riches beyond the needs of day-to-day, week-to-week life. This was the division of rich and poor. Those who had accumulated more than was needed for daily or weekly life were considered rich. Those who every day needed all they had were poor.
This is the Hebrew word rush, which means to be in want or poor; those who have nothing leftover after the day’s or week’s goods are consumed.
This idea would include those who have enough to get by but not any excess; those who live paycheck to paycheck. In our day and age, many people put themselves in this place because they are unwilling to save or they are impulsive in their spending habits.
This is the Hebrew word shama, which means to hear, announce.
This is the Hebrew word gearah, which means rebuke or threat.
This proverb does not have any remarkable words or seemingly unusual ideas, but its insight is crucial. It follows on from the proverb before it which reads, "There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing; Another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth." To be rich in that culture was to be thought of as being blessed by God, to have status, to enjoy prestige and privilege. So much was this the case, Solomon says, that some people pretend to be rich when they are really not.
Solomon goes on to say that there are wise people who are humble and do not brag about God's blessings and understand the dangers of wealth. So he says some hide the fact that they are wealthy. In this proverb, Solomon explains one of the reasons why some would hide the fact that they are wealthy. Thieves, kidnappers, and criminals target the wealthy for scams, schemes, and violence in order to gain some of their excess.
It is this idea of becoming a target for criminals that seems to be at the heart of this verse. If you flaunt or brag about your wealth, then you can become a target. So do not brag or flaunt the blessings of God. The idea in this proverb is that no one threatens the poor person, so stop flaunting your wealth.