He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoreth him hath mercy on the poor.
– Proverbs 14:31
The word for oppresseth means to extort or defraud. To oppress is to take advantage, even with violence (Proverbs 17:5; 28:8). The word for reproacheth means to blaspheme or rail against. To oppress the poor is to mock and insult God, who will avenge them (Proverbs 22:2, 16, 22-23). The contrast is to honor God and to have mercy on the poor. To have pity on the poor is to understand the providence of God and one’s place in the creation (Proverbs 14:21; 19:17). It is to bear the image of our maker and to love like him (Deuteronomy 10:18-19).