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Proverbs 11:24-26 - A note on generosity


Proverbs 11:24-26 (ANIV)
24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
26 People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell.

Here are various other versions of the same Proverb, from different Bible translations, which can cast a slightly different interpretation on the scriptures:

Proverbs 11:24-26 (NLT)
24 Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.
25 The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
26 People curse those who hoard their grain, but they bless the one who sells in time of need.

Proverbs 11:24-26 (AMP)
24 There are those who [generously] scatter abroad, and yet increase more; there are those who withhold more than is fitting or what is justly due, but it results only in want.
25 The liberal person shall be enriched, and he who waters shall himself be watered.
26 The people curse him who holds back grain [when the public needs it], but a blessing [from God and man] is upon the head of him who sells it.

Proverbs 11:24-26 (MSG)
24 The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
25 The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.
26 Curses on those who drive a hard bargain! Blessings on all who play fair and square!

Proverbs 11:24-26 (NKJV)
24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty.
25 The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.
26 The people will curse him who withholds grain, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.

NOTES
24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

These verses spoke to me today about my own generosity. I want to be the man who gives freely, but I wonder if I will prosper as a result of that! Many people would say that they have prospered themselves, by giving away to meet other people’s needs. It sounds counter-intuitive, & is indeed a paradox! The principle seems to be, the more you give away, the more you’ve got to give.

“These verses encourage generosity. By giving freely a person has plenty, a seeming paradox (cf. 2 Cor. 9:6 [see below]). Conversely a person who is miserly, failing to help others in obvious need, will himself always be in need (cf. 28:22 [see below]). By being generous (Prov. 11:25) a person prospers and is in turn helped (cf. v. 17 [see below]).

Grain (v. 26) in a farming society was a major medium of exchange; hoarding it could drastically affect prices. But a person who sold his grain and did not hoard it was a blessing to others.” (Source: The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty.)

There are other reference to poverty & generosity in the Bible, here are 3, the first is an agricultural metaphor in the New Testament, the others from the Old Testament book of Proverbs:

2 Corinthians 9:6 (NLT)
6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.

Proverbs 28:22 (NLT)
22 Greedy people try to get rich quick but don’t realize they’re headed for poverty.

Proverbs 11:17 (NLT)
17 Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.

Food for thought here, & no mistake!


Bible versions
ANIV = Anglicised New International Version
NLT = New Living Testament
AMP = The Amplified Bible
MSG = The Message version
NKJV = New King James Version