In which it is Proved from The Bible that it is the Duty of Every Man to Become Rich

I was recently alerted to this gem from a few years back: Thomas P. Hunt, The Book of Wealth; in which it is Proved from The Bible that it is the Duty of Every Man to Become Rich (New York, 1836). Thankfully, it’s available online. It begins with the foolproof assumption:

One thing is certain; no man can be obedient to God’s will as revealed in the Bible, without, as the general result, becoming rich (p. 6).

From there the venerable Mr Hunt adduces the following six biblical principals of wealth creation:

1. It is the duty of all men to be diligent.

2. Slothfulness is condemned.

3. Idleness is a great sin – ‘a severe reproof to many these days’.

4. Wastefulness is a sin.

5. Prudence is a duty.

6. God has promised riches as a reward.

All of which is summed up in Proverbs 10:4: ‘The soul of the diligent shall be made fat’.

Mind you, these are not just tips for making a killing, but a veritable duty of every devout Christian. Thou shalt be rich.

(ht cp and wjl).


9 thoughts on “In which it is Proved from The Bible that it is the Duty of Every Man to Become Rich

      1. Okay, I’ll bite. What do you mean by saying diligent hands do not produce wealth? Do we mean two different things when we use the word wealth?

        As a recovering libertarian, I suspect that you (some sort of Marxist?) and I use a lot of words differently.

      2. Good point re ‘wealth’. Let’s assume Mr Hunt’s position, who was involved very much in internal religious debates as much as developing an ideology that fawns on the wealthy. Wealth here means money, possessions. In that light, only shifty, devious, stealing hands produce wealth. As Jerome put it so well: a rich man is either a thief or the son of a thief. Or as a commentator to an earlier post pointed out, regarding the assumption that those paid the highest amount are the best: since when was greed the best criterion for getting a job?

  1. Ah, now I understand what you mean, I think. I don’t entirely agree, but you’re right about the toxicity of fawning over the wealthy.

    My father was thoroughly working-class throughout my childhood, doing odd jobs such as serving as a driver for an Amish construction gang, putting sleeves of yogurt lids into a giant machine, and spreading about pepperonis onto Ghilardi’s frozen pizza. He always told me that diligent hands produce wealth, even if it is mostly wealth for other people.

    It is in that sense that I claim diligent hands produce wealth. We might even agree there.

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