But they that will be rich
Not they that are rich; for some rich men are good men; and do much good with their riches; and are as free from temptations and snares, and foolish and hurtful lusts, as other persons, as Abraham, Joseph of Arimathea, Gaius, and others were; but such that would be rich, who labour after, make haste for it, and are resolved upon it, at any rate, right or wrong, as there be thousands, who never attain to it; so that the apostle does not point at rich men particularly, but at such who are determined to be rich, whether they ever are so or not: these
fall into temptation;
not in such sense in which the phrase is used in ( James 1:2 ) but in such sense as Christ uses it, ( Matthew 6:13 ) namely, a falling into temptation to sin, so as to be drawn away by it, and overcome with it:
and a snare;
the Vulgate Latin version reads, "the snare of the devil", and so Beza's Claromontane copy; which perhaps is taken from ( 1 Timothy 3:7 ) , and though this seems not to be the genuine reading, yet it may give the true sense: Satan may be compared to a fowler; his temptations to sin are his nets and snares; and they that will be rich, are the birds that are caught and entangled therein, out of which sometimes it is impracticable to extricate themselves:
and into many foolish and hurtful lusts;
carnal and worldly lusts, the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, which are the things that are in the world and draw the affections to them; yea, what sin is there but such persons may, and do fall into; as defrauding of the neighbour, oppressing the poor, lying, perjury, theft, murder, rapine, violence, and injustice of every kind? so that they may be said to be "many", and some of them are "foolish". All sin is folly, and every wicked man is a foolish one, and acts a part quite contrary to reason; but some evil ways are notoriously silly, weak and foolish, and which they that will be rich make use of to get money; though others of them are sly and artful enough, and all of them are "hurtful" to their credit and reputation, or to the health of their bodies, and especially to the welfare of their immortal souls. So the phrase (avpj Nwhyruy) , "their foolish lust", is used by the Targumist in ( Ezekiel 20:25 ) and the corruption of nature in general is by the Jews called the old and foolish king, in ( Ecclesiastes 4:13 ) . They ask F16,
``why is he called a king? because all obey him; why is he called old? because he is joined to him (a man) from his birth to his old age; and why is he called (lyok) , "foolish?" because he teaches him an evil way, which he knows not how to warn him of again.''Which drown men in destruction and perdition;
that is, in utter ruin, in the ruin both of soul and body; and which is irrecoverable, like that of the drowning of a man in the sea, with a millstone about his neck; such folly and danger do those expose themselves to, who will be rich at any rate.
F16 Midrash Kohelet, fol. 70. 2.