Cover photo
The Crux

Who Will Receive the Sinner's Wealth?

Why and how the righteous will inherit God's great riches

Sometimes, the Proverbs are downright perplexing. Such is the case with Proverbs 13:22.

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is passed to the righteous.

The first part of this verse is easy enough for a child to understand. A good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren. Of course, we know that inheritance usually passes through the children first, but the idea is that one's legacy is passed down from generation to generation. That's what "good" men (and women) do.

Source: Pexels

In other words, it's natural for individuals to pass their legacy on to their children. Christians and non-Christians alike follow this normative practice.

But what is meant by "the sinner's wealth is passed to the righteous?"

Who Does the Sinner's Wealth Really Belong To?

This is a difficult thing to grasp. I think we can all see that some very bad people are raking in dollars fast doing some very wicked things. Peddling pornography, trafficking humans, pushing drugs, poaching wildlife, you name it. Do we take this verse at face value, or is there something else going on?

If we took it too literally, that the wealth of sinners belongs to the righteous, it's obvious what should happen. All those who consider themselves righteous should just go and take the sinner's wealth whenever they want. I doubt that is the intent. In fact, I'm 100 percent sure that is NOT what this verse is about.

I think the key to this verse is this little phrase "is passed." What does it mean?

The King James says "Is laid up." Other translations say "stored up." I like both of those much better than "passed to," which is how the Berean Study Bible (BSB) renders it. I usually like the BSB, but in this case, I think it's inferior. A quick look at the Hebrew word tsaphan shows us that it literally means "to hide" or "treasure up." Those two concepts gives me a better understanding of the intent behind this little clause.

In Matthew 6:19, Jesus says,

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

At first glance, this seems to contradict the first half of Proverbs 13:22, where men are encouraged to pass their wealth on to their children and grandchildren. However, Jesus wasn't overturning that principle. Rather, in the Matthew passage he was simply pointing out that our true wealth, no matter how much we may have here on earth, is in heaven. What we treasure here on earth has the power to take our eyes off of heaven. That's why, in Matthew 6:21, he says,

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In Christ, we have riches that all the precious resources of this earth can't match. Unsearchable riches. Though good people leave a legacy for their children, those who believe in Jesus as the promised Messiah of Israel have a greater legacy. They have all the riches of heaven at their disposal, which far surpass all the wealth of this earthly realm. It is that wealth that the Proverbial author is alluding to when he says "but the sinner’s wealth is passed to the righteous."

Christ died for all. He loved the world and gave Himself for the whole world, all sinners throughout time. But those who refuse to believe have given up their inheritance to those who do. All the wealth of heaven belongs to God to distribute as He wishes. Through Christ, He has made us co-heirs of that wealth, and it will be distributed evenly among all the saints. All a sinner must do to claim his portion of that inheritance is believe in the living Son of God.

Are you ready to claim your inheritance?

Allen Taylor is the author of I Am Not the King.

Author Allen Taylor logo
Subscribe to Author Allen Taylor and never miss a post.
#proverbs#wealth#legacy#inheritance#righteous#sinners#christ#bible#berean study bible#king james bible#jesus#heaven#treasures#unsearchable riches of christ