Wisdom חָכְמָה allowed מֶ֜֗לֶךְ King שְׁלֹמֹ֣ה Shlomoh (Solomon) to reveal Proverb 19:17 stating "He who is gracious to a poor man lends to YHVH, and He will repay him his reward." ( מַלְוֵ֣ה יְ֖הוָה ח֣וֹנֵֽן דָּ֑ל וּ֜גְמֻל֗וֹ יְשַׁלֶּם־לֽוֹ )

Then Jesus the Nazarene restated Proverb 19:17 in Matthew 25:40 "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me".

  • [Question] Is Matthew 25:40 establishing Proverb 19:17 is a 'prophecy' about Jesus being King YHVH?
  • 3
    Sons resemble their fathers (John 8:39). If Christ's heavenly father (John 8:54) identifies with the poor, and repays those that have mercy on them (Proverbs 14:31, 19:17, 17:5), then so does His son as well (Matthew 25:31-46).
    – Lucian
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 23:55
  • 1
    @Lucian - Precisely. Commented Aug 19, 2021 at 0:03
  • 1
    Proverbs 19:17 is a prophecy about the Son of God, who after taking over the Kingdom of his Father, YHVH, then sets about the task of separating the 'sheep from the goats' as pertaining to the nations and their treatment of the lessor individuals, a task, delegated down to the Son 'from' his Father. To read anything further into that, other than the treatment 'extent' association to the Son, depends on your belief system. I myself see two separate spiritual personages, both with divinity 'in of themselves', being discussed. Commented Aug 19, 2021 at 10:55

5 Answers 5


Yes and No!. The "problem" here is whether Matt 25:40 quotes or alludes to Prov 19:17. Matt 25:40 certainly does NOT quote Prov 19:17 but it appears to allude to it as agreed by the "Index of Allusions and Verbal Parallels" in UBS5.

The second matter that must be established is whether "The King" is is Jesus. There can be little doubt about this as this appears settled by Matt 25:31-33 which is followed immediately by V34 - "The King" is undoubtedly "The Son of Man".

To what extent are the two texts parallel?

  • Matt 25:40 - whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.
  • Prov 19:17 - Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.


  • "The Poor" is parallel to "one of the least of these brothers of Mine"
  • "YHWH" is parallel to "The King".

Therefore, I am not sure that Prov 19:17 can be regarded as a prophecy about Jesus being YHWH, nor a prophecy of such. However, it is a clear association between the two that brings one to believe that such is very likely. However, this idea exists far more clearly in other places.

That Jesus is YHWH in the NT and King of the Christian community is consistent with other Bible teaching such as:

  1. David and his successors were earthly kings, they were to recognize ​that the real king of Israel was YHWH/God. 1 Sam 8:7, 8, 24:6, 2 Sam 19:21, 1 Chron 28:5, 2 Chron 9:8, 13:8, Ps 5:2, 44:4.

  2. Jesus is the promised King of the new Christian Community, ie, the Kingdom of Heaven, or, Kingdom of God, Luke 1:33, John 1:49, Acts 13:23, Rev 11:15. Compare Jer 33:14-17, Eze 37:22. Thus, Jesus inherits the Davidic Covenant as the eternal king of spiritual Israel. He is also the “Son of David” (Matt 1:1-16) and “Son of God” as predicted in the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7); and His kingdom will never be defeated and is eternal, Luke 1:33, Heb 1:8, Rev 11:15, compare Ps 61:7, Isa 9:7, Ps 146:10.

  3. Being generous to the needy, poor and weak/sick, Ex 23:11, Ps 41:1, 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. More specifically, feed the hungry and thirsty, be hospitable to strangers, clothe the naked, care for the sick, visit prisoners, Matt 25:31-46.

The last point could be expanded somewhat. Oppression of the poor being felt by God is a common theme in the OT.

  • Prov 14:31 - Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
  • Prov 17:5 - Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.

New International Version Proverbs 19:

17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.

Matthew 10:

42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward."

Jesus confirmed it in Matthew 25:

40 And the King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.'

The two Matthew passages together provide support to the Proverbs passage that connects the LORD with Jesus. See the bolded words for the linkage.

Jesus encouraged us to be quick to believe in Luke 24:

25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Is Matthew 25:40 establishing Proverbs 19:17 is a 'prophecy' about Jesus being King YHVH?

Not by Matthew 25:40 alone but with Matthew 10:42 together. Then yes.


The answer is No.

Learn to do what is right! Promote justice! Give the oppressed reason to celebrate! Take up the cause of the orphan! Defend the rights of the widow! Isaiah 1:17‭ NET

Proverb is directed to a total stranger (any human beings) and Matthew's directed to own "brother and sister" (Israelites).


Proverbs is a collection of wisdom, and wisdom is from God. The Proverbs 19:17 should have its origin, likely from Leviticus 25:35-38

35 “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you.

36 Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you.

37 You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit.

38 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God. (Leviticus 25:35-38 NIV)

It is the wisdom perceived by the Israelites that they will receive reward from the Lord when they submitted to the law.

12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” (Ruth 2:12 NIV)

Therefore Proverbs 19:17 was a wisdom developed from their understanding of the law. It is not a prophesy.

Matthew 25:40 is within the Olivet Discourse. The Olivet Discourse first describe a scene of the End Times, then Jesus gave three parables which emphasized 'Watchfulness', followed by another parable 'The Sheep and the Goats' as the final judgement, in which the Sheep represent those who would be saved and the Goats being rejected.

It might be interesting that in this parable, both the good and the bad did not know what had they done that led to the King's judgement. The implication of this is being 'Watchfulness' is not something intentional, but natural. In Matthew 25:40, 'the least of these brothers and sisters' are those who need help. The one who is 'Watchful' help them naturally without an intention to get reward from God. There we may see a little contrast between Proverbs 19:17 and Matthew 25:40.

17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done. (Proverbs 19:17 NIV)

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40 NIV)


I think "prophecy" is too strong a word here (which I guess is why it appears in quotation marks).

The proverb is simply stating an eternal principle or fact; it isn't predicting anything. Jesus might be applying that principle to himself, but certainly isn't claiming that he is fulfilling a prediction.

Compare it with Ezekiel 18:20, which says "The soul that sinneth, it shall die.". There's no reason to consider this as a prophecy that Jesus would not sin.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.