A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour
By "riches" may be meant gold and silver, things which a covetous man is never satisfied with; and by "wealth", cattle, with which farms and fields are stocked: the wealth of men, especially in former times, and in the eastern countries, lay very much in these, as did the wealth of Abraham and Job, ( Genesis 13:2 ) ( Job 1:3 ) ; and all these, as they are reckoned glorious and honourable in themselves; so they create honour and glory among men, and raise to high and honourable places; and these, as they go, they are usually put together, and are called by the name of honour and glory itself; see ( Proverbs 3:16 ) ( 2 Chronicles 1:11 2 Chronicles 1:12 ) ( Genesis 31:1 ) . And they are all the gifts of God, which he either as blessings bestows upon men, or suffers men to attain unto, though a curse may go along with them; which is the case here, for no man whatever is possessed of them but by the will of God or his divine permission; see ( 1 Chronicles 29:12 ) ; and which a man may, and sometimes has, such a plentiful portion of; so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth:
he has not only for the supply of his wants, what is necessary for his daily use and service, but even what is for delight and pleasure; yea, as much as he could reasonably wish for; nay, more than heart could wish, ( Psalms 73:7 ) ; yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof;
the Targum adds, "because of his sin"; either he takes it away from him, he making no use of it; or his appetite is taken away, that he has no desire to it; or rather he has no heart to enjoy what he has, and scarce any part of it; not to eat and drink, and wear suitably to his circumstances, but grudges whatever he lays out on his back or belly, or in housekeeping in his family; for though God gives him a large substance, yet not a heart to make use of it, without which he cannot enjoy it; and therefore it would have been as good, or better for him, to have been without it; see ( Ecclesiastes 5:19 ) ; but a stranger eateth it;
the Syriac version adds, "after him"; enjoys it, not only a part of it, but the whole; one that is not akin to him, and perhaps was never known by him; and yet, by one means or another, either in a lawful or unlawful way, comes into the possession of all he has; this has been always reckoned a great unhappiness, ( Lamentations 5:2 ) ( Hosea 7:9 ) . Hence it follows, this [is] vanity, and it [is] an evil disease;
it is a vain thing to be possessed of great substance, and not enjoy anything of it in a comfortable way, through the sin of covetousness; which is a spiritual disease, and a very bad one; very prejudicial to the soul, and the state of it, and is rarely cured. Juvenal F23 calls it frenzy and madness for a man to live poor, that be may die rich; he is like the ass that Crassus Agelastus saw, loaded with figs, and eating thorns.
F23 "Cum furor dubius" Satyr. 14. v. 136. exposed by Persius, Sat. 6. v. 69 "unge puer caules", &c.