Every generation in every society that has existed since Adam and Eve sinned and were driven out of the Garden of Eden not only knows the truth of this proverb, but we also live the truth of this proverb. “The poor are shunned (and hated) even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends.” Even when God made many laws to provide help to the poor (Exodus 23:6, 11; 30:15; Leviticus 14:21, 19:10, 23:22, 25:35, etc.) the sad truth remains. Why? Because our sinful nature has that much subtle and persistent power.
When I see a poor person on the side of the street with a cardboard sign though I may give them some money, still my feelings towards them are different than my thoughts towards the people living in the mansions just down the street from where they stand begging. Now as I think and search my soul I see that I have several thoughts and emotions for rich and poor. Many if not most towards the poor are not extended to the rich.
Proverb 20 has one contrast that helps explain why I am like this. The poor are shunned and hated. The opposite emotion, love is expressed for the rich. The Hebrew word “aheb” is translated as love, lover, friend, and beloved meaning a strong emotion towards someone I want to be with. Why do I love the rich? I want something from them for me. Why do I hate the poor? Doing the right thing toward them is giving them something. The sinful nature is selfish. It wants to be ner one that gives to me and away from the one I am to give to.