Proverbs has a lot to say about money. Some ideas show up as observational wisdom. A value isn’t assigned. A lesson isn’t being taught. Proverbs is just saying it as it sees it. For example:
“The wealth of the rich is their fortress; the poverty of the poor is their ruin (10:15).” There is no question that wealth offers protection that poverty does not.
“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender (22:7).” Proverbs isn’t suggesting that the rich should always rule over the poor, but history would suggest this is usually the way of the world. Generally, those who have more of the money also have more of the power. And the reverse of that is true also. The more impoverished, the more in debt, the more one’s freedom of choices and power of influence are stymied.
However, while Proverbs doesn’t villainize money, it doesn’t lionize it either. In fact, it offers many cautionary warnings.
“Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle (23:4-5).” Good can come from money, but keep in mind, money comes and money goes. Markets rise and markets fall. Fortunes are made and fortunes are lost, sometimes through sinister acts of others and sometimes from our own stupidity.
So Proverbs offers perspective. Money is fine, but wisdom is better (16:16). Peace is better (17:1). Integrity is better (28:6). Love of God and love of others is better (15:16-17; 19:22). Trust in God is better, because money doesn’t deliver all that we sometimes think it promises. “The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe. 11The rich think of their wealth as a strong defense; they imagine it to be a high wall of safety (18:10-11).”