Proverbs 11:26
He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
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(26) He that withholdeth corn till it has reached an exorbitant price, “the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it” at a fair price. The truth of this is not affected by the fact that the dealer’s selfishness is in the long run beneficial to the community by limiting consumption in consequence of the rise in the price of corn.

Proverbs 11:26. He that withholdeth corn — In a time of scarcity, when others need and desire it; the people shall curse him — He shall fall into the popular hatred, and be loaded with many curses; but blessing — Namely, the blessing of God, which the people shall earnestly ask for him; shall be upon the head of him that selleth it — Upon reasonable terms. “The truth of this,” says Dr. Dodd, “is experienced in all times of scarcity. They who have the hardness of heart to withhold their corn at such seasons are accursed of God and men. The justice of God fails not to display itself upon those who are insensible to the miseries of the public, and who are not afraid to bring upon themselves the hatred and curses of the people:” see Amos 8:5-7, and Calmet.

11:1 However men may make light of giving short weight or measure, and however common such crimes may be, they are an abomination to the Lord. 2. Considering how safe, and quiet, and easy the humble are, we see that with the lowly is wisdom. 3. An honest man's principles are fixed, therefore his way is plain. 4. Riches will stand men in no stead in the day of death. 5,6. The ways of wickedness are dangerous. And sin will be its own punishment. 7. When a godly man dies, all his fears vanish; but when a wicked man dies, his hopes vanish. 8. The righteous are often wonderfully kept from going into dangerous situations, and the ungodly go in their stead. 9. Hypocrites delude men into error and sin by artful objections against the truths of God's word. 10,11. Nations prosper when wicked men are cast down. 12. A man of understanding does not judge of others by their success. 13. A faithful man will not disclose what he is trusted with, unless the honour of God and the real good of society require it. 14. We shall often find it to our advantage to advise with others. 15. The welfare of our families, our own peace, and our ability to pay just debts, must not be brought into danger. But here especially let us consider the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in becoming Surety even for enemies. 16. A pious and discreet woman will keep esteem and respect, as strong men keep possession of wealth. 17. A cruel, froward, ill-natured man, is vexatious to those that are, and should be to him as his own flesh, and punishes himself. 18. He that makes it his business to do good, shall have a reward, as sure to him as eternal truth can make it. 19. True holiness is true happiness. The more violent a man is in sinful pursuits, the more he hastens his own destruction. 20. Nothing is more hateful to God, than hypocrisy and double dealing, which are here signified. God delights in such as aim and act with uprightness. 21. Joining together in sin shall not protect the sinners. 22. Beauty is abused by those who have not discretion or modesty with it. This is true of all bodily endowments. 23. The wicked desire mischief to others, but it shall return upon themselves. 24. A man may grow poor by not paying just debts, not relieving the poor, not allowing needful expenses. Let men be ever so saving of what they have, if God appoints, it comes to nothing. 25. Both in temporal and spiritual things, God commonly deals with his people according to the measure by which they deal with their brethren. 26. We must not hoard up the gifts of God's bounty, merely for our own advantage. 27. Seeking mischief is here set against seeking good; for those that are not doing good are doing hurt, even to themselves.In the early stages of commerce there seems no way of making money rapidly so sure as that of buying up grain in time of famine, waiting until the dearth presses heavily, and then selling at famine prices. Men hate this selfishness, and pour blessings upon him who sells at a moderate profit. 26. Another example of the truth of Pr 11:23; the miser loses reputation, though he saves corn.

selleth it—that is, at a fair price.

Withholdeth corn, in a time of scarcity, when others need and desire it.

Blessing; the blessing of God, which the people shall heartily beg for him.

That selleth it upon reasonable terms.

He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him,.... That hoards it up for a better price, in hopes of a better market; and does not bring it out, and expose it to sale, when there is a scarcity of it; so the Targum adds, "in famine"; or, "in straits", as the Syriac version; in a time of distress through, famine: this will bring the curse of the poor upon him, who will imprecate the most dreadful things on him and his family. Jarchi interprets it of the law, and of withholding the teaching of it; but it may be better applied to the Gospel, and the withholding the ministration of that, and so causing a famine, not of bread and of water, but of hearing the word of the Lord; which is done by the Papists, by prohibiting Gospel ministers preaching the word; forbidding the people to read it in their own language; locking it up from them in a language they understand not; and so starve the souls of men, which brings upon them a curse;

but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it; at a moderate price, so that the poor may be able to come at it; such will have their blessing; they will wish all happiness to them and their families, here and hereafter. Or, "that breaks" (d) it; separates it from the heap, breaks and grinds it into flour, and then sells it: or imparts it freely; so the Septuagint version, "that communicates": and the Arabic version, "that gives"; and may be fitly applied to a faithful minister of the Gospel, who breaks the bread of life, and freely and plentifully imparts it to the souls of men; and who has the hearty prayers and good wishes of the people to whom he ministers. The master of a family used to break the bread, as Christ often did.

(d) "frangentis", Montanus.

He that withholdeth grain, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that {p} selleth it.

(p) That provides for the use of them who are in need.

26. withholdeth] e.g. by keeping back his store in time of necessity to run up the price. See Amos 8:4-6, and comp. the legend of Bishop Hatto.

Verse 26. - He that withholdeth corn. The practice reprehended is not confined to any one time or place. The avaricious have always been found ready to buy corn and other necessary articles of consumption when plentiful, and wait till there was dearth in the market or scarcity in the land, and then sell them at famine prices. Amos sternly reproves this iniquity (Amos 8:4, etc.). It is a sin against justice and charity, and it is said of him who is guilty of it, the people shall curse him (Proverbs 24:24). Such selfishness has often given rise to tumult and bloodshed, and has been punished in a signal manner. The legend of Bishop Hatto shows the popular feeling concerning these Dardanarians, as they were called by Ulpian ('Digest. Justin.,' 47:11.6). Such a one St. Chrysostom ('Hom. in 1 Cor.,' 39) calls "a common enemy of the blessings of the world, and a foe to the liberality of the Lord of the world, and a friend of mammon, or rather his slave." The Septuagint gives a curious rendering: "He who hohleth corn may he leave it for the peoples!" i.e. may neither he nor his heirs be benefited by his store, but may it be distributed among others far and near! That selleth it; literally, that breaketh it, as it is said of Joseph when he sold corn to the Egyptians (Genesis 41:56; Genesis 42:6). Proverbs 11:2626 Whoso withholdeth corn, him the people curse;

     But blessing is on the head of him that selleth it.

This proverb is directed against the corn-usurer, whose covetousness and deceitful conduct is described in Amos 8:4-8. But whilst it is there said that they cannot wait till the burdensome interruption of their usurious conduct on account of the sacred days come to an end, the figure here is of a different aspect of their character: they hold back their stores of corn in the times of scarcity, for they speculate on receiving yet higher prices for it. בּר (from בּרר, to purify, to be pure) is thrashed grain, cf. Arab. burr, wheat, and naḳḳy of the cleaning of the grain by the separation from it of the tares, etc. (Fl.); the word has Kametz, according to the Masora, as always in pause and in the history of Joseph. מנע has Munach on the syllable preceding the last, on which the tone is thrown back, and Metheg with the Tsere as the sign of a pause, as Proverbs 1:10 בּצע (vid., p. 67). משׁבּיר, qui annonam vendit, is denom. of שׁבר, properly that which is crushed, therefore grain (Fl.). לאמּים, which we would understand in the Proph. of nations, are here, as at Proverbs 24:24, the individuals of the people. The בּרצה which falls on the head of the charitable is the thanks of his fellow-citizens, along with all good wishes.

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