Proverbs 11:24
One gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds what is right, only to become poor.
Benevolent ActivityJ. Parker, D.D.Proverbs 11:24
Discreet LiberalityG. Lawson.Proverbs 11:24
GenerosityH. ThorneProverbs 11:24
How to Gain by SpendingG. S. Barrett, D.D.Proverbs 11:24
LiberalityG. Lawson.Proverbs 11:24
Profitable ScatteringProverbs 11:24
The Profit of LiberalityWilliam Curling, M.A.Proverbs 11:24
The Tendency of Liberality to RichesJ. Guyse, D.D.Proverbs 11:24
The Use and Abuse of PovertyThomas Dale, M.A.Proverbs 11:24
Wise PhilanthropyW. Arnot, D.D.Proverbs 11:24
The Pricelessness of IntegrityE. Johnson Proverbs 11:3-5, 8-11, 19, 20, 28, 31
Expensive Economy, EtcE. Johnson Proverbs 11:24-26
The Narrow and the Large HeartE. Johnson Proverbs 11:24-26

I. THRIFTY SPENDING. All wise outlay of money is a form of thrift, The increase of capital depends upon the observance of certain laws and rules of prudence; and the prudence which enables to amass enables also to spend. Spending in works of benevolence is seldom known to impoverish a man, for it is seldom disjoined from calculation and economy in personal habits. But whether we can trace out the manner of the connection in every instance or not, it is real and profound. Wise distribution is the condition of steady increase. In the highest point of view benevolence is a "lending to the Lord."

II. UNTHRIFTY SAVING. stinginess tends to poverty, because it stints the energies. It springs from a false view of the value of money, or an exaggerated view. The true source of happiness, as of wealth, lies at last in the will, its energy, its industry. He who has so little faith in this as to put all his reliance on the mere means of living, may well become poor outwardly, as he certainly is inwardly.

III. THE SATISFACTION OF DOING GOOD. Here, again, we must look to the reflex effect of actions, The indirect results are the wider and the more important. From every free forth-going of the heart in acts of love and kindness there is a certain return into the heart. It is not sufficiently considered that whatever gives expansion to the mind - large views, broad sympathies - is so much gain in actual power. And again, that we cannot directly do much towards the removal of our own troubles, but obliquely may quell or diminish them by aiming at removing the troubles of others. Fulness of interests in the heart will not give room for grief to gnaw.

IV. SELFISHNESS AND GENEROSITY IN COMMERCE. (Ver. 26.) In time of dearth the avaricious proprietor, keeping back his corn to secure a higher price, brings down upon himself curses; while he who thinks of humanity more than of personal profit earns the blessings of the poor. The maxim that "business is business" is true, but may be pushed too far. If a trader profits by a war or scarcity, that is an accident; but it is not an accident, it is a crime, if he votes for war or interferes with the natural action of the market with a view to personal gain. If the same conditions of trade make the man rich which impoverish the many, he will feel it to be his duty to give the more out of his abundance. - J.

There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth.
The words of this text carry an air of improbable and surprising paradoxes to the covetous and worldly-minded, who naturally imagine that scattering tends to poverty, and withholding to increase. But if we take them to be allusive to the management of a husbandman in sowing his seed, the sense will stand as easy as the thought will appear to be beautiful and just (compare 2 Corinthians 9:6).

I. THE DESCRIPTION OF PERSONS OF VERY OPPOSITE CHARACTERS. "Scatter" is the same word as "disperse" (Psalm 112:9). He that scatters is the liberal soul; the man who, with a free and generous spirit, labours to spread the most useful and extensive influence, by all manner of means; the man who is ready to distribute of his temporal substance for promoting religious and civil liberties and interests, for doing good to the souls and bodies of men, and, particularly, for relieving the necessitous and the distressed. We should manage our religious and charitable distributions, not with contrivance how to shift off our obligations and opportunities for them, but with devising how in the best manner to improve them; not with a grudging, but with a free and cheerful heart. On the contrary, he that withholds, keeps back, or spares, more than is meet or right, is the covetous man, whose narrow, selfish spirit will not suffer him cheerfully to pay his personal or his public debts, much less to practise beneficence at an expense that cannot be demanded by human laws. No arguments derived from humanity or Christianity can work his heart up to bear his proper proportion in generous and beneficent acts.

II. WHAT IS AFFIRMED OF THESE PERSONS RESPECTIVELY. We might consider this increase and want with respect to our best interests, that relate to the enrichment of the soul in goodness. Distributing enlarges the heart, and makes it open, free, and generous, with growing propensions to every good work. The man who withholds is poor-spirited; he has a contracted soul; he is destitute of those amiable graces by which our God and Saviour are most conspicuously imitated and glorified. We may also consider this increase and want with respect to our worldly substance. That is not lessened but improved by distributions on all proper occasions. Withholdings, more than is meet, ever tend to poverty and want. God's blessing on the generous comes either as a visible increase of their outward estates, or as a secret increase of the inward contentment of their own minds. Those who are of a covetous temper, do not enjoy what they possess. According to a just estimation of things, they are no richer by all their silver and gold than if it still lay in the ore of the Indian mines.

III. ACCOUNT FOR THE TRUTH OF BOTH THESE PROPOSITIONS. Every virtuous, spiritual, and holy disposition of the soul increases by frequent and proper exercise; and loses its force and vigour, and aptness for action, by disuse and neglect. This is common to all principles and habits of the moral or religious and supernatural kind.

1. The blessing of God is upon them that scatter, and His blast is upon them that withhold more than is meet.

2. The friendship of men is toward them that scatter, and their disaffection toward those who withhold more than is meet.

(J. Guyse, D.D.)

To distribute portions of our wealth in schemes and acts of wise philanthropy is like casting into the ground as seed a proportion of the last year's harvest. It goes out of your sight for the moment, but it will spring in secret, and come back to your own bosom, like manna from heaven. An unwise man may indeed scatter his corn on barren rocks, or on equally barren sands, and though he sow bountifully he will reap sparingly there. So, in the moral region, the increase is not absolutely in proportion to the profusion of the scattering. When a man lays out large sums on unworthy objects, to feed his own vanity or gratify his own whim, he neither does nor gets good. The outlay is in its own nature and necessarily profitable. In educating the young, in reclaiming the vicious, in supporting the aged poor, in healing the sick, and in making known the gospel to all, we have ample fields to cultivate, and the prospect of large returns to cheer us in the toil.

(W. Arnot, D.D.)

The Bible gives us plain view of the character and mind of God; and that view sets Him before us as a Being interested in promoting the happiness of His creatures. It presents Him as establishing, by His wise decree, that order of things which places men in different classes and circumstances of life; it shows us that high and low station, wealth and poverty, affluence and dependence, are the result of Divine arrangement, and so far it discourages pride and envy, and teaches thankfulness, contentment, and resignation, in the several conditions of human life. God, in His care of all His creatures, has made it binding on the rich, by an express enactment, that they should see to, and provide for, the wants of the poor. There is nothing more frequently, nor more strongly spoken of in the Word of God, than that assistance, arising out of the fact of their brotherhood, which man should render man. The text sets before us two different modes of dealing with our property, in reference to our fellow-creatures.

I. THE LIBERAL MAN, AND WHAT HE GETS FROM HIS LIBERALITY. The man here is living in the midst of dependent fellow-creatures, and uses his property in relieving them. Here seems to be the idea of a husbandman throwing his seed in every direction where it may be profitable. The liberal man looks abroad, and where his money is wanted, and where it is likely to do good, there he gives it with the greatest cheerfulness of mind. This is what ought to be. We are not required to give away when we have not in reality the power to do so; but when we possess the power the duty is incumbent. We must "scatter" for the blessing of others. A notion prevails that if we give liberally to others, we hurt ourselves. We are, indeed, told to "do good, hoping for nothing again," yet we may urge as an encouragement that, in sowing the seeds of kindness, we are sure to reap a personal benefit. The men who have been most liberal have, in a general way, prospered most in their worldly undertakings; and certainly they have been rewarded with growth in grace, and a large measure of peace, confidence, and joy in their own souls.

II. THE MEAN MAN, AND THE RESULT WHICH FOLLOWS HIS MEANNESS. To withhold is not always wrong. It may be a right thing, a positive duty. But some men are wretchedly mean; they have not a spark of kind sympathy or of generous sensibility in their souls. They are over-full of their own things. These the text speaks about. There is a measure in the amount of almsgiving which is to be determined by a person's circumstances. To whom much is given, from the same will much be required. If you give God less than God requires of you, then instead of a blessing there will rest on you a curse. God has often taken away from a man the riches which he would not use rightly when he had them. Poverty of pocket is not the worst kind of poverty. It is poverty of soul that is so deplorable.

(William Curling, M.A.)

Nothing is wanting to the right direction of human conduct, but a clear perception of man's own interest, and a correct estimate of man's own responsibility. In the text a contrast of two characters and of two consequences.

I. TWO OPPOSING CHARACTERS. One is said to "scatter." Of the blessed man it is said, "He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor" (Psalm 112:9). The apostle says, "He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." Faithfulness implies two things: first, a clear perception, a just apprehension of the purposes for which we are put in trust; and secondly, a conscientious employment of those means by which the purposes are to be accomplished, according to the dictates and directions of the supreme Lord of all. Neither indiscriminate almsgiving nor improvident expenditure derive any countenance from the rule of Christian practice, as finally and unalterably settled in the epistles to the infant Churches. The man who "scattereth" is the man who gives, whether to the service of his God, or to the succour of his fellow-men, on principle; the man whose charities, as they are called (though the term religious obligations would be far more applicable), bear some definite and assignable proportion, not only to his present expenses and indulgences, but to the provision for the family; the man, who devotes to purposes of philanthropy and piety such a proportion of his worldly increase, as his own conscience, enlightened and directed by God's Word, accounts an offering expressive of his gratitude to the Giver of every good and perfect gift. The contrary character to this is he who "withholdeth more than is meet "; he who is actuated, alike in what he saves, and in what he spends, by considerations purely selfish; who professes, indeed, that he accumulates upon principle, but whose principle will not endure the application of the standard of the Word of God, his object being to found or to aggrandise a family, while in prosecuting this object he overlooks or undervalues the salvation of the soul. Many are the subterfuges and evasions by which men endeavour to justify, or at least to palliate, their own conduct in "withholding more than is meet," e.g., difficulty of detecting imposture; perversion of benevolent funds; and the excuse that whatever is spent is a contingent evil, while whatever is hoarded is a certain good.

II. TWO OPPOSING CONSEQUENCES. True wisdom involves the consideration of our latter end. If the habits and actions of the "life that now is" can exert any influence upon the destinies of "that which is to come," the counsel given by our Lord would be the dictate of policy, as well as the command of authority: "Walk while ye have the light." Temporal blessings do usually wait upon the discreet and conscientious dispensation of God's bounty. He that scattereth increaseth even in this world's goods. But Christian benevolence for Christ's sake must not be taken for the whole of the system of Christian practice, of which it only constitutes a part. Towards poverty of soul tendeth that mistaken and short-sighted policy, which men are wont to term prudence and forecast. But to have made no use of God's property for God's purposes will be a ground of judgment and condemnation, as much as to have abused it for our own.

(Thomas Dale, M.A.)

The text is generally true, if we confine its application to money. In a moral and spiritual sense the proverb is universally true. The man who gives bountifully loses nothing by his gifts, but gains much. The first thing that strikes us when we consider the nature of property is its exclusive character. Every pound we call our own, and every shilling we reserve for our own use, is so much less for other people. The higher wealth of the intellect is not so exclusive in its nature. You do not lose your gift as an artist if you teach a class to paint. Only in a limited degree do you increase your mental endowments by imparting them to others. But we actually increase our spiritual riches by spending them. The more of the bread of life you give away, the more you will find in your store. Spiritual wealth is like money wealth in this respect, that we must invest it if it is to increase. Hoarding money never adds to the heap. Two practical lessons.

1. We see the absolute necessity of some form of spiritual activity to the increase of the Christian life.

2. The course of thought we have been pursuing suggests to us the spiritual nature of the Divine rewards. We need, badly need, a revision of the vocabulary of the Divine rewards. Too often those rewards are spoken of in terms which degrade rather than honour the high service of God. The reward and the service are one. The rewards of Christ are not less service, but more service and higher toil.

(G. S. Barrett, D.D.)

Of all the rich men that have come to poverty, I never heard of any that was ruined by a discreet liberality.

(G. Lawson.)


1. In nature. Clouds give rain, sun gives light, earth gives fruit. "The heart does not receive the blood to store it up, but while it pumps it in at one valve, it sends it forth at another."

2. In the example of Christ (Galatians 1:4).

3. In the early Church (Acts 2:44, 45).

4. In modern times. Peabody, Morley, etc.


1. It is unstinted (Isaiah 32:8).

2. It is profitable. One who has had experience in giving systematically, says, "It pays as an investment, and is a fortune in business." Mr. Haig Miller tells of a gentleman who, on starting in life, said, "I determined that for every £10,000 I made £1,000 should be given back to God and works of charity, and I have had ten times to fulfil my vow." If temporal gain is the motive which inspires giving, the act will be spoiled by the motive; but giving from right motives is often honoured by a present and a bountiful return. The converse of this is true. Withholding "tendeth to poverty." If not poverty of purse, as is often the case, there will be poverty of soul.

3. It is hearty. "God never sent us into this world to do anything into which we cannot put our hearts."

4. It is healthy. "If a man is growing large in wealth, nothing but constant and generous giving can save him from growing small in soul."

5. It is refreshing.

6. It wins the heart. Edward Payson said, when dying, "I long to give a full cup of happiness to every human being." The benedictions of his people were a chief part of his rich reward (compare Job 29:13).

7. It is painstaking. The true friend of the needy does not wait till misery presses its claim at his door; he goes and looks first (compare Luke 19:10).

(H. Thorne)

Every year George Moore wrote these words in his pocket-book. They became engraved on his soul, and to an extent formed his creed: "What I spent I had: What I saved I lost: What I gave I have."

One would say that to scatter anything is to part with it without advantage; and that to withhold, to keep back, is undoubtedly to save and to retain. The text teaches that this may be quite a mistake on our part. There is reckless scattering and there is wise withholding. The text is not to be taken in its literalness; it is to be examined in its spirit. Happily we have no need to go further in search of illustration of the truth of the text; we find it on every farm, in every business, in every school. The text calls to benevolent activity founded on religious faith. The doctrine enlarges and glorifies life by calling into life elements and considerations which lie beyond the present and the visible. The very exercise of scattering carries blessing with it, breaks up the mastery of selfishness, and enlarges the circle of kindly interests. Beneficence is its own compensation. Charity empties the heart of one gift that it may make room for a larger. But if any man think to give God something with the idea of having it back again, that man will be disappointed and humiliated, and justly so, The other side of this text is as emphatic and as often illustrated in practical life as the first. Selfishness is suicidal; selfishness lives in gloom; selfishness injects poison into every stream of life. Selfishness is most intensely selfish when it assumes the name of prudence. When selfishness chatters proverbs, it has reached the depth beyond which there is no death. God can turn the wicked man's very success into failure, and out of selfish ambition He can bring the scorpion whose sting is death. Though this text is found in the Old Testament, the principle is distinctly held by Jesus Christ. It is a moral principle, universal and unchangeable in its force and application.

(J. Parker, D.D.)

This is one eminent branch of the character of the righteous, but because there are many objections in the heart of man against the practice of it, urgent motives are here addressed to us. The instructions delivered in this and the four following verses, will, if they are but believed, be a sufficient answer to every objection. There is that scattereth his substance by profusion and luxury. That man diminishes his substance till it comes to nothing. But he that disperses by giving to the poor, by liberal distributions for the support of the commonwealth in times of danger, or for the service of religion, shall increase his substance. He is like the husbandman, who sows with good-will and unsparing hand that precious seed which is to produce a joyful harvest. It is God who gives all that we enjoy, and by His secret blessing, or by remarkable interpositions of providence, the liberal man is often made to abound in riches, and enabled more and more abundantly to serve his fellow-men. Abraham sat at his tent door to watch for passengers, and those who came he urged to partake of his bounty, with more earnestness than other men beg an alms.

(G. Lawson.)

Proverbs 11:24 NIV
Proverbs 11:24 NLT
Proverbs 11:24 ESV
Proverbs 11:24 NASB
Proverbs 11:24 KJV

Proverbs 11:24 Bible Apps
Proverbs 11:24 Parallel
Proverbs 11:24 Biblia Paralela
Proverbs 11:24 Chinese Bible
Proverbs 11:24 French Bible
Proverbs 11:24 German Bible

Proverbs 11:24 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Proverbs 11:23
Top of Page
Top of Page