How rich is too rich? I note that verse 4 indicates that these rich are cheats, not paying the wages they owe to others. Is this speaking only to the lawless?
Verse 2 speaks of rotting wealth and moth-eaten clothes because wealth is worth nothing, its transient and has no lasting value.
Verse 3: “you have hoarded wealth” — ouch — “in the last days” — you never know when its too late.
Here’s where I get into trouble with kwakersaur (did I mention I have an ancestor who was kicked out of a Quaker community? it might be genetic) by extending the passage, in my Bible verse 6 is the last sentence of the paragraph. “You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.” Ah…these were some bad dudes, different from me, right?
How expansive are we to read ‘condemned’ and ‘murdered’? In a study I took on the Ten Commandments, we were taught that the prohibition on murder could extend to character assassination (gossip) and ill will. Read expansively, condemn might mean judge and murder might be harboring ill will towards others. Guess I’m not safe after all.
Things don’t look so great for me so I’ll return to my initial question, how rich is rich? A salary of 5 figures or 6 or 7? Is ‘rich’ solely a monetary description? Might is also refer to other blessings — a happy childhood, nuturing parents who enable one to be a blessing to others? One who has been given the advantage of a formal education? One whose material needs have been satisfied?
I should note that my Bible provides a heading for 5:1-6, Warning to Rich Oppressors. How am I oppressing others? How can I stop?