Most of proverbs scripture verses stand by themselves.
However, could someone please read and analyze Proverbs 14:31 verse along with the Hebrew translation further down below, and post back a response explaining if the aforementioned verse is emphasizing whether "poor" is used to mean:

-financially poor

-Spiritually poor

-or maybe could include both financially poor and Spiritually poor(like Job after all the tragedies that he went through)?

Proverbs 14:28-33 New American Standard Bible 1995

28 In a multitude of people is a king’s glory, But in the dearth of people is a prince’s ruin. 29 He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly. 30 A tranquil heart is life to the body, But passion is rottenness to the bones. 31 He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him. 32 The wicked is thrust down by his wrongdoing, But the righteous has a refuge when he dies. 33 Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding, But in the [c]hearts of fools it is made known.

14:31 Hebrew OT: Westminster Leningrad Codex עֹ֣שֵֽׁק־דָּ֭ל חֵרֵ֣ף עֹשֵׂ֑הוּ וּ֝מְכַבְּדֹ֗ו חֹנֵ֥ן אֶבְיֹֽון׃

משלי 14:31 Hebrew OT: WLC (Consonants Only) עשק־דל חרף עשהו ומכבדו חנן אביון׃

משלי 14:31 Paleo-Hebrew OT: WLC (Font Required) עשק־דל חרף עשהו ומכבדו חנן אביון׃

משלי 14:31 Hebrew Bible עשק דל חרף עשהו ומכבדו חנן אביון׃

Just a Side Note reference to another scripture verse that uses the word "poor" : In the context of Galatians 2:1-14, what does Paul suggest by using the word "poor"?

  • 1
    It is money$ - The proverbs contain many about how money can be ‘used’ to gain favour, position etc. And why not - Solomon, the ‘author’ of many, was the richest man in the world. All OT believers were ‘spiritually poor’. They needed a saviour to ‘fix’ that, not proverbs.
    – Dave
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 18:35

2 Answers 2


Proverbs 14:

20The poor are shunned even by their neighbors,
but the rich have many friends.

31Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker,
but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

The context and the parallelisms show that poor means financially poor.

The same word appears in Exodus 30:15

The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the LORD to atone for your lives.


The hebrew word for "poor" is דָּל (dal) and occurs 47 times in the OT. In almost all cases, the word means poverty of circumstances, that is not rich, eg, Ex 23:3, 30:15, Lev 14:21, etc.

Occasionally, the word also means weak either in physical strength (2 Sam 13:4) or even political influence (Judges 6:15, 2 Sam 3:1), but these are about the only exceptions.

Therefore, I conclude that the reference to "poor" in Prov 14:31 is almost certainly a reference to monetary poverty. This a constant theme throughout the Bible for example: Ex 23:11, Prov 3:27, 28, 11:24, 25, 14:31, 17:5, 19:17, 21:13, 22:2, 9, 16, 22, 23, 28:3, 8, 27, 29:7, 13, 31:9, 20, Isa 10:1, 2, 58:1-21, Jer 7:3-6, Amos 4:10, Micah 6:8, Matt 23:23, Acts 4:32-35, Gal 2:10, James 1:27.

Jesus actually included a parable about being generous to the poor in His final sermon as recorded in Matt 25:31-46.

The above doe NOT mean that we should limit the meaning of "poor" to purely the financial sense - Jesus made that clear in the famous beatitude of Matt 5:3

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

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