Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 11:24-25: “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.”
The benefits of “generosity” are summarized here with: it comes back to you. The movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” visualizes the principle of helping others in a way that helps them be able to help you back. The “one who scatters” in verse 24 is the “generous soul” of verse 25. It is the “generous soul” who is “rich,” and the one who “waters” (shares blessings) will “be watered himself.” Moses’ Law required a generous spirit to the “poor man of your brethren” (Deuteronomy 15:7-11). Solomon showed generosity to an enemy can act like punishment on his conscience: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the LORD will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21-22), which the Apostle Paul bound on Christians (Romans 12:20). Jesus Christ had extended this spirit to our “enemies” (Luke 6:27-31) ending with the words, “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” Other proverbs which teach this thought are: Proverbs 19:17: “He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given;” Proverbs 22:9: “He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor.” Isaiah prophesied of “a righteous king” who would see to it things were set straight (Isaiah 32:5-7), ending with, “a generous man devises generous things, And by generosity he shall stand.” Whenever there are “hard times,” whether caused by unemployment, marriage problems, short supply of goods, this principle of generosity will be sorely tested! Sometimes generosity is the only “line of credit” we are given that we must remember when our situation improves.
The other side is of the “one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty.” This is the stingy, greedy, selfish person who sees no more than his/her own needs, and always lives lonely. The “poverty” is not only of goods, but of friendships, as well! One may become poor by holding onto whatever he possesses! Other proverbs call this oppression and mocking the poor: Proverbs 14:31: “He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy;” Proverbs 17:5: “He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished;” Proverbs 22:22-23: “Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; 23 For the LORD will plead their cause, And plunder the soul of those who plunder them;” Proverbs 28:27: “He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses;” Proverbs 29:7: “The righteous considers the cause of the poor, But the wicked does not understand such knowledge.”
Jesus Christ established this generosity for the church: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.