Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour. – Proverbs 19:4
Money buys friends, lots of friends. The rich easily have an entourage of happy and serving friends. Poor men, without money, cannot even get neighbours to be friendly. A wise king wrote this proverb for lessons to help you be understanding and successful.
Friendships based on money are false, and the happy and helpful entourage is selfish and looking out for themselves. Once the money runs out, the fair-weather friends fly away, the entourage disappears. Even once-helpful neighbours avoid and reject a poor man.
Some proverbs teach an obvious lesson. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” is not difficult to grasp (Proverbs 22:6). The value is obtained by exploring the full sense of proper training, the nature of a child, the way he should go, and what is an old child. The lesson is clear, but you must dig for the details.
Other proverbs declare an observation from life. The lesson is only implied, and it is your duty to find it. Solomon wrote many proverbs of this kind, and here is one of them. He wrote his observation about the effects of money on relationships, and it is your privilege to identify the lesson, which is a condemnation of measuring people mostly by money.
His observation is true. Men follow those with money, for they hope to get some of it for themselves. Learn to see through the false words and actions of such men, who worm their way among the friends of the rich. They are not there for the rich man; they are there for the man’s riches. They hope to get whatever may spill over of his wealth.
Numbers of friends should not impress you: the crowd is only temporary – while the money lasts. The popularity does not prove anything good or noble by the one being followed or the followers. You must recognize the power of bribes and the greed of men, and you should have a jaundiced view of popularity due to financial success or influence.
Source: Culled from SALM’s article in the Chronicle newspaper.