Better [is] the poor that walketh in his integrity
In the uprightness of his heart before God and men; who is sincere in the worship of God, and in the profession of his name, and walks in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless; and is upright, harmless, and inoffensive in his conversation with men; and studies to exercise a conscience void of offence to both, and continues herein. A man may be a poor man with respect to worldly things, and yet be rich towards God; may be a truly gracious good man, honest, sincere, and upright in heart and life: and such an one is better than [he that] is perverse in his lips, and is a fool;
that is, than a rich man, as the Syriac and Vulgate Latin versions supply it, and as the antithesis requires; "that is perverse in his lips", or "whose ways are perverse", as the Syriac version; that acts the deceitful part both by words and actions towards those that are about him, not being honest and plain hearted as the poor man is; and who uses those beneath him very roughly; and concerning oppression speaks loftily, and lets his tongue run both against God in heaven and man on earth, by which he shows he is a fool: for his riches do not give him wisdom; and his words and actions declare he wants it; men may be poor, and yet wise; and a matt may be rich, and yet a fool: or is confident F4; that is, trusts in his riches, and is opposed to a poor man, so R. Saadiah Gaon. This verse and ( Proverbs 19:2 ) are not in the Septuagint and Arabic versions.