Proverbs 28:3

A poor man who oppresses the poor

    is a beating rain that leaves no food.

Proverbs 28:3 ESV

The visual language of “a beating rain that leaves no food” is intended to convey to the reader a sense of destruction or harm and uncertainty. It is used to arrest the senses of the reader. To get a reaction. But what is it that is this beating rain? Answer: “A poor person who oppresses the poor.”

How can a poor person oppress another poor person? This question is worthy of consideration. The most obvious answer is by stealing from a poor person. But, there are other ways within human interactions or relationships that any of us can oppress another. One of the challenges we have in wrapping our minds and hearts around this verse is the perception that oppression is always a big and obvious action on the level of slavery and human trafficking. Among the homeless there can certainly be a hierarchy of power, through which one poor person abuses another. That struggle may be for resources or over a profitable corner in the city. One does not have to be wealthy or a government official or an employer to abuse the poor. Poor people can abuse each other.

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