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Do Not Pretend
Proverbs 13:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
7 One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing: Here, one man simply refers to some indefinite person. This Hebrew verb rendered pretends to be rich refers to someone who is enriching himself by way of appearance only, in that, he is being deceptive about his riches, acting as though he is rich. However, when it says he has nothing, it means nothing. The Hebrew noun (כֹּל kol or כּוֹל kol) rendered nothing refers to the total of something, that is, the entire or whole, emphasizing the totality of the object or idea, and in this case, he has totally nothing.
another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth: The contrasting parallel to line 1 is the man who pretends to be poor. He, too, is simply putting on an appearance. The Hebrew adjective (רַב rab) is a quantifier used, which means great in quantity or degree or extent, so in reality, this man is quite wealthy, rich, having an abundance of material possessions and resources.
Here the king of Israel is evidencing his understanding of human nature. We can say that not everyone is what they appear to be. Some people who are poor try to give others the impression that they are wealthy by living a rich man’s lifestyle. This is effortless today with credit cards, but much more difficult in Bible times. These conceited ones are just making a showy display of themselves, attempting to give their twisted impression that they are successful. On the other hand, a wealthy person may downplay his wealth to serve as protection.
From the biblical perspective, neither of these are good, falsely displaying riches or concealing one’s riches. If our material possessions and resources are low, it is truly unwise to spend something that you do not have on luxury items just so you can appear to be wealthy, for it will eventually rob you of your happiness, family, and the necessities of life. On the other hand, you’re pretending to be poor when you are wealthy may very well make you into a miser, depriving you of respect and dignity and the joy that will come from sharing your prosperity. (Acts 20:35) The better life would be to simply live honestly.