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Do not withhold a good thing from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your hands to do it. Bible

“your hands.” The word “hand” is commonly used as an idiom for power or authority (cp. Gen. 14:20; Exod. 2:19; Num. 4:28; Deut. 3:2). The key to really understanding this verse is the phrase “to whom it is due.” This verse is speaking about giving to people who legitimately need and deserve help, not just any person who has a need. There are many needy people who are not “due” help from others. This verse may, in fact, be speaking more specifically of people who are owed a wage but have not been paid, or a situation such as that. If you can do a good thing for someone to whom it is due, do it. Don’t wait until a later time. Sadly, there are people who “can’t bother” to give people what they are due and make them wait, and there are other people who feel some kind of perverse sense of power by making people wait for them. God’s people are to love others, not put them off for no reason.

Another important key to understanding this verse and the proper application of it is the phrase, “when it is in your hands to do well,” that is, when it is in your power or authority to do well. This principle is ignored far too frequently by governments and even individuals. Governments are in the habit of borrowing money and then giving it to “good causes.” But that is not a wise thing to do. Borrowing creates an undue burden on the people in the form of interest payments, and can have many harmful effects such as inflation, monetary devaluation, late payment of debt, non-payment of debt, etc. It is Satan’s way to get people to borrow because of the harmful effects it has on society. We live in a fallen world and there will always be more “good things” to do than the money and resources to do them. The godly person has to resist borrowing to give to a “good cause.” Godly people give to good causes when they have the money and resources to give.


Commentary for: Proverbs 3:27