Proverbs 11:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 11:26, NIV: "People curse the one who hoards grain, but they pray God's blessing on the one who is willing to sell."

Proverbs 11:26, ESV: "The people curse him who holds back grain, but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it."

Proverbs 11:26, KJV: "He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it."

Proverbs 11:26, NASB: "One who withholds grain, the people will curse him, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it."

Proverbs 11:26, NLT: "People curse those who hoard their grain, but they bless the one who sells in time of need."

Proverbs 11:26, CSB: "People will curse anyone who hoards grain, but a blessing will come to the one who sells it."

What does Proverbs 11:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This continues to expound the theme of the last few verses. Those who are generous and kind towards others gain a good reputation, which serves them well and results in greater benefits (Proverbs 11:24–25). Those who are greedy can anticipate a cold response from others.

The imagery here is some crisis where food or grain is scarce. This might be a famine or other disaster. In that case, a greedy person might decide to hoard supplies, looking to profit from the desperation of others. That would allow the hoarder to charge a higher price as grain became scarce. The result of this is common sense: the people would curse them for doing so. However, a farmer who sold his grain, even in a crisis, to those who needed it, would be praised. Joseph's extensive preparations put Egypt in a position to feed others during a famine, greatly increasing their reputation (Genesis 41:56–57).

The spiritual counterpart applies to believers and the Bread of Life. We are charged with the privilege and responsibility of sharing the Bread of Life with those who need it. If we withhold it, we deprive people of the opportunity to end their spiritual starvation. If we share it, people will have an opportunity to be fed spiritually. In turn, they will bless us, and not curse us. Like Paul, we are under obligation to all people, and should be eager to proclaim the gospel (Romans 1:14–15).