Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.
Sin seems to help some get ahead, but it is a lying illusion. Do not be jealous of those who appear to prosper by taking advantage of others, for they shall soon be brought down (Pr 3:32-35). Do not use any of their manners or methods, for they are the tools of fools.
Those that oppress others – afflict, dominate, or torment them – are in trouble with God. Such men are froward, and they are an abomination to God; such men are wicked, and they are cursed by God; such men are scorners, and they are scorned by God; such men are fools, and God will humiliate them. He will bless gentle and kind men (Pr 3:32-35).
Overbearing and presumptuous men may succeed for a while, until God and men take back what they stole by their oppressive ways. Foolish men are impressed by the strong-arm tactics and apparent success of these tyrants. They are deceived thinking such methods are manly and efficient – the way for the strong to survive and prosper. But God inspired the good rule here – do not envy such men (Pr 23:17; 24:1,19-20; Ps 37:1,7-9).
Neither should you adopt their manners or methods. It is not enough to despise froward men; you must also reject all their habits and practices. Sin will deceive you by justifying some of their ways, as long as you reject other of their ways. God and Solomon knew this temptation, so they also condemned choosing any of the devices or tactics of oppressors.
What are the ways of an oppressor? They love to drive a hard bargain, paying less than they should, but charging more than they should (Pr 11:26; 20:14). A righteous man pays a fair price and charges a fair price, especially when the helpless or poor are involved. When it comes to charity, the oppressor neglects the poor and only gives a little grudgingly, but a good man gives generously and is rewarded for it (Pr 11:24-25; 29:7).
What are the ways of an oppressor? They are harsh and hard on animals, employees, and themselves. But noble and virtuous men are kind and merciful to all three (Pr 11:17; 12:10; 18:23; 29:21). The oppressor speaks sharply, critically, and much, wounding his hearers, but the wise man speaks his few words graciously, feeds men wisdom by his speech, and wins even the king’s heart (Pr 10:21; 12:18; 15:2,28; 17:9; 22:11; Col 4:6).
What are the ways of an oppressor? They create strife, divide and conquer, look out for number one, and sow discord (Pr 6:14,19; 15:18; 16:28; 26:20-22). But godly men crave peace, work to keep it, and honor others (Pr 15:1; 19:11; Eph 4:3; Phil 2:1-5). An oppressor walks over a starving Lazarus going to his fat table, but he ends up in hell (Lu 16:19-23). Diotrephes may cast men out of the church, but he will pay (III Jn 1:9-11).
What wisdom can you learn? Rather than envy oppressors in the world, whom God abhors, envy the righteous, with whom God shares His secret (Pr 3:32). Choose the ways of the godly and earn favor with God and men (Ps 37:37; I Co 4:16; 11:1; Phil 3:17; 4:9). God measures the heart and actions of every man, and let Him find you helping others.