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An abundance of food is in the unplowed soil of the poor,a
but it is carried away because of a lack of justice. Bible
a[23]
Or, for the poor.

“of the poor.” The Hebrew text can be translated “of the poor” or “for the poor,” and both meanings are true. A person reading the Hebrew text would see both meanings, but translators bringing the text into English must make a choice.

Saying that there is an abundance of food in the unplowed field of the poor is simply a way of stating that if the ground was tilled and the plants were planted and cared for, there would be food.

“carried away because of a lack of justice.” God designed the earth to produce enough food to feed the people of the world, but the Devil has worked hard in many ways to make sure that people live in poverty. Unjust landlords or governments take away the profits of the worker, leaving him destitute and without the motivation to do what it takes to have future abundant harvests. Justice would say, “The farmer who labors must be the first to partake of the fruits” (2 Tim. 2:6), but what often happens is landowners or evil governments do not insure that happening.

In our modern world, there are many people who do not realize that God provided the earth, animals, and fish to provide for the needs of humans, and so they oppose hunting and fishing, and support taking huge tracts of land out of production “for conservation.” While land, animals, and fish can certainly be over-hunted and/or abused, they can also be properly managed without being made unavailable to the public. Humans and animals are not equal and eating meat and fish is not “cruel.” God gave humans dominion over animals (Gen. 1:26), and gave animals to humans as food (Gen. 9:3). At the time God gave the animals as food to people, there were not many painless ways to hunt and kill an animal, so we can see that God is not opposed to hunting animals for food.

The Devil wants people to be hungry and malnourished, and one of the ways he promotes that agenda is by discouraging eating the animals God gave to people as food. In some societies eating meat is discouraged by some because it is considered wrong or cruel; in other societies some food is considered too holy to eat, and in some societies it is simply “unfashionable” to eat certain things that would otherwise be very good and health-promoting food.


Commentary for: Proverbs 13:23