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A good person will provide an inheritance for his children’s children,
but the wealth of the sinner is being stored up for the righteous person. Bible

“will provide an inheritance.” The Hebrew verb is in the hiphel aspect and is causal. A very literal translation could be that “a good person will cause his children’s children to inherit,” but saying “provide an inheritance” makes the point well.

A good and godly person realizes that the Devil, the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4), works aggressively to place the ungodly in positions of wealth and power, and to disempower the godly. That is one reason that governments seem to have so many ungodly people in positions of power, and why so many wealthy people are ungodly and promote ungodly causes. The wise, good, and godly person knows that his godly children and grandchildren are fighting both the fallen nature of the world and also spiritual forces to get ahead in life, and may well need help to succeed. The good person is more than willing to give that help.

Like all proverbs, this proverb is often applicable, but not universally applicable. It is not helpful to give much, if any, to the unwise, because it does not help them and it wastes resources that could be better used. On the other hand, many people just need a boost to get ahead and stay ahead, and the wise person looks for that kind of person to help. A good man prepares to give others a boost in life, and also knows that often one of the best ways to help is to begin to help while he is still alive, and so he gives money or property along with coaching and training in how to wisely handle wealth. Jesus illustrated that point in his parables in which a rich man gave different amounts of money to his servants and noted what they did with what he gave them, and then gave more to the ones who were wise with what they had already been given (Matt. 25:14-29).

“to his children’s children.” This verse does not mean that a good person does not leave an inheritance to his children but skips over them and leaves it to his grandchildren. It means he leaves enough wealth that his whole family, including his children and grandchildren, are helped along.

Unlike our modern culture, in the biblical times families generally lived together or very close together. A wise man worked diligently, lived righteously, and used his money and goods wisely so that he accumulated wealth. This took self-control, goal setting, and some self-denial, just as it does today. A person who spends lavishly will not accumulate wealth (Prov. 21:17). If the man was wise and self-controlled, when he died there was enough wealth to help not only his children, but his grandchildren as well. The reason that Proverbs 13:22 in the Hebrew text speaks specifically of a man leaving an inheritance is that in the biblical culture women were not generally allowed to own property or to pass it down to others. However, in today’s culture the verse applies to both men and women, and a wise woman provides for her children and grandchildren.

A wise and godly person realizes that the world is stacked against people who try to “make it on their own.” Although there are always some people who start with little or nothing and accumulate wealth, those people are relatively few. Far greater is the number of people who try hard to be successful, but the everyday expenses of life, taxes, and some unexpected expenses keep them in financial stress. Often, all people need to do well in life is a little outside help that allows them to get some basic needs paid for. A financial gift from a parent or grandparent is often all it takes to bring a person from just getting along to doing well in life. Also, that gift may not come as money, but in some other form such as providing education that allows a person to get a better job.


Commentary for: Proverbs 13:22