Proverbs 11:24

ESV One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
NIV One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
NASB There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, And there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in poverty.
CSB One person gives freely, yet gains more; another withholds what is right, only to become poor.
NLT Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.
KJV There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
NKJV There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty.

What does Proverbs 11:24 mean?

Common English proverbs echo the sentiment of this verse. The expression "you only get what you give" captures a similar idea. Those who are generous with others often see that kindness repaid, especially in hard times. Those who are greedy or stingy frequently find themselves ignored during a crisis. Spiritually, God rewards those who recognize His ownership of all things and commit to using material resources to help others (Luke 6:38). Especially in the ancient world, when survival was more closely tied to one's neighbors, this relationship was crucial.

In Israel's agricultural society a good harvest was essential to prosperity. The more produce a farmer harvested, the more prosperous he became. However, The Lord had instructed farmers to leave some of the grain for the needy. Leviticus 19:9–10 commands: "When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God."

The apostle Paul reflects the truth of Proverbs 11:24 by writing: "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully…God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:6–7). In commending the Philippian believers for their generosity, Paul promised, "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
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