The Wise Worker is Generous (Proverbs)

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project
Wise worker generous

The Valiant Woman is generous. “She opens her hands to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy” (Prov. 31:20). We are accustomed to hearing generosity praised in the Bible, and here the Valiant Woman is praised for it. But we must not reduce her generosity to a pleasant quirk in her personality. Her generosity is part and parcel of her work, as we can see in the relationship between verses Prov. 31:19 and Prov. 31:20.

She puts her hands [Heb. yade] to the distaff, and her hands [kappe] hold the spindle. (Prov. 31:19)

She opens her hand [kap] to the poor, and reaches out her hands [yade] to the needy. (Prov. 31:20)

Two different Hebrew words are translated “hand” (or plural “hands”) in these two verses. If we look at the original Hebrew, we see they occur in the order yade, kappe in the first verse, and in the reverse order kap, yade in the second verse. (Kappe is the plural of kap.) This “chiastic” structure of ABBA is common in the Bible and indicates that the entire structure forms a single unit of thought. In other words, her work is inseparable from her generosity. Because she is successful in spinning, she has something to give to the poor, and conversely, her generous spirit is an essential element of her capability as an entrepreneur/executive.

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David Fluker has grown into an excellent leader because he is smart, respectful of all people and generous. He is CEO of Fluker Farms located in Port Allen, Louisiana.

In other words, Proverbs claims that generosity and fiduciary duty do not conflict. Being generous to the needy out of the household’s resources does not reduce the owner’s wealth, but increases it. This counterintuitive argument appears throughout Proverbs. Most people curb their generosity out of fear that if they give away too much, they will not have enough left for themselves. But the proverbs teach the exact opposite:

Some give freely, yet grow all the richer; others withhold what is due, and only suffer want. A generous person will be enriched, and one who gives water will get water. The people curse those who hold back grain, but a blessing is on the head of those who sell it. (Prov. 11:24-26)

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full. (Prov. 19:17)

Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but one who turns a blind eye will get many a curse. (Prov. 28:27)