Tolkien on Greed in the Hobbit

Thorin Oakenshield and Bilbo Baggins

J.R.R. Tolkien portrays greed powerfully in his book, The Hobbit (which I personally want to re-read because the movie trilogy by Peter Jackson takes significant departures from the book).

The gist of the storyline on greed occurs after the dwarves have reclaimed Erebor and its treasure from the dragon, Smaug. Not satisfied with the vast horde of treasure, the king, Thorin Oakenshield, sacrifices his friendships and his own honor in seeking the Arkenstone, a great jewel, prized as “The Heart of the Mountain.”

If you’re going to read The Hobbit, I can also recommend a companion devotional book, Walking with Bilbo  by Sarah Arthur. In her chapter, “Where Your Treasure Is,” she lists the effects of greed in the story, destroying:

  • good sense
  • relationships
  • self-respect

God warns us repeatedly about greed in Scriptures, too. Here’s just a few that especially relate well to The Hobbit:

Luke 12:15  And He said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.

Matthew 6: 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


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