Rich and Poor Meet Together

Yael Eckstein  |  March 4, 2022

Yael Eckstein delivers Passover food boxes to Holocaust survivors in Israel

Rich and poor have this in common:
    The LORD is the Maker of them all.
Proverbs 22:2

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

Many years ago, my husband Amichai met a man named Dovid on the streets of Jerusalem where Dovid was asking the people who passed by for charity. Amichai happily gave Dovid some money and struck up a conversation with him.

After that, Amichai frequently checked in on Dovid and gave him charity that we set aside for him. From time to time, Amichai would take Dovid out for a meal, and Dovid would share stories about life in Israel before the War of Independence and during the wars, and stories about legendary rabbis of Jerusalem.

Over time, we continued to help Dovid and he became part of our family. Our children got to know Dovid, too, and they learned to respect him, even though he was homeless and wore torn clothing most of the time. They truly enjoyed being around him.

When Dovid passed away, we went to the funeral. We felt like we lost something so precious, because as much as we gave to Dovid, we received so much in return.

Rich and Poor Meet Together

I know that we are all better people having known Dovid, especially my children, who learned priceless lessons about caring for strangers and respect for all human beings. And they also experienced the joy that comes from giving to others.

Proverbs teaches, “Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.” But in the original Hebrew, the verse is a little bit different than this translation. The Hebrew of the first half of the verses is Ani varash nifgashu, which literally means, “Rich and poor meet.” In fact, many English translations translate the verse this way, such as the English Standard Version (ESV): “The rich and the poor meet together.”

When I read this verse, I thought of Dovid and how he impacted our lives. Of course, we don’t know why God led Dovid to a life of poverty. But we do know that God orchestrated the meeting between Dovid and Amichai. Perhaps this is one of God’s purposes for the charity that He calls us to give, to bring the giver and the needy, for the “rich and poor to meet together” in closer bonds of friendship and love.

Your Turn:

Think of the relationships that you have with those less fortunate than you. How would you describe them? How can you foster those relationships?