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A stingy persona makes haste toward wealth,
but he does not know that poverty will come to him. Bible
a[22]
Heb. “man with an evil eye.”

“a stingy person.” The Hebrew text uses the Semitic idiom about the “evil eye” and says, “A man with an evil eye.” The idiomatic phrase about a person having an “evil eye” referred to the person being stingy, selfish, and greedy. The meaning of the idiom of the “evil eye” changed over time, and today if someone gives you the “evil eye” it means he wishes harm to come to you. However, that was not the meaning of the idiom in biblical times.

Here in Proverbs 28:22, the man with the evil eye is stingy and greedy, and so he rushes after wealth. Sadly, he does not know that that is the path to poverty, either in this life or the next. In Deuteronomy 15:9, the man with an “evil eye” was stingy so he would not lend anything to the needy if it was close to the seventh year, the year of release, when people did not have to pay him back. In Deuteronomy 28:54, a man who is in a difficult situation may not even be generous towards his family, but have an evil eye concerning them and be stingy and not help them, and similarly, Proverbs 23:6 warns not to eat the food of a stingy man, a man with an evil eye, because he is always worried about how much it costs him.

In the New Testament, Jesus taught that a person who had an evil eye and thus was stingy, greedy, and selfish, was full of darkness (Matt. 6:23; Luke 11:34). In fact, the person who is stingy and greedy is not even happy if others get ahead a little (Matt. 20:15). Jesus made it clear that having an evil eye and being greedy and selfish was a heart issue (Mark 7:22).

In contrast to an “evil eye,” which was selfish and stingy, a person with a “good eye” (Prov. 22:9), or a “single eye” (Matt. 6:22), was generous. [For more on the “good eye,” see commentary on Prov. 22:9].


Commentary for: Proverbs 28:22