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Proverbs 13:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 The ransom of a man’s soul is his wealth,
but a poor man does not hear rebuke.
The ransom of a man’s soul is his wealth: The Hebrew noun (כֹּפֶר kopher) rendered ransom is a payment given in exchange for the release of someone held captive. The Hebrew noun (נֶפֶשׁ nephesh) translated literally as soul refers to the human life, a living person. The noun (עָשַׁר ashar) translated as wealth (the same Hebrew root as the verb “be rich”), refers to an abundance of material possessions, money, and resources.
Riches can indeed protect a person’s life, as he can afford to pay for things in life that serve as protection: security, a ransom, if necessary, healthy foods, and medical treatment. Ancient Israel is no different than today, a rich man can find himself or his family kidnapped and held for ransom, so he is comforted by the fact that he could afford the payment demanded in exchange for the release of himself or someone in his family held captive. Some difficulties come with being wealthy, but the numerous protections outweigh those. If one becomes wealthy in life, simply avoid the temptation to be a lover of money.
but a poor man does not hear rebuke:
The Hebrew (רוּשׁ rush) rendered poor refers to having very little in money, possessions, and resources, to the point of being incapable of acquiring the necessities of life.
The poor man does not hear (שָׁמַע shama), pay attention to, or aware of a rebuke (גְּעָרָה gearah), that is, a threat to his life, as he cannot afford to pay for anything that may improve his lot in life, let alone some ransom from being kidnapped, so this is one threat that he does not have to hear. It is in this sense that the poor person is better off than the rich person. The odds of a rich man’s Mercedes Bens or BMW being stolen or facing a carjacking is far greater than a poor man’s Ford Escort. If one is wealthy, he needs to think carefully about what he wears (Rolex watch) and carries (bank bag) in public, as these possessions will be noticed.
Do not go out of your way to attract attention to yourself. If traveling through an unsafe area, be always aware of your surroundings. “A sensible person sees danger,” says Proverbs 22:3, “but the inexperienced keep going and are punished.” Being wealthy should not be frowned upon as long as we heed the wisdom recorded in God’s Word. God wants us to be safe, and He does not necessarily want us to be poor to simply remain safer based on a potential kidnapping. However, he does not expect us to chase after riches either, unwisely attracting attention to ourselves by making a showy display of our being affluent. Biblical “wisdom offers protection like money offers protection,” says Ecclesiastes 7:12, for “the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.”
 That is, life
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