What does the Bible mean when it says to not withhold good from those to whom it is due?


Proverbs 3:27

NKJV - 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so.

Clarify Share Report Asked August 10 2015 1396108674 Chijioke Nnaka

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
The verse being asked about (Proverbs 3:27) is best understood when considered in conjunction with the verse immediately following it (Proverbs 3:28). Taken together, the two verses read as follows: "27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, 'Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,' when you have it with you."

When verse 27 uses the wording "from those to whom it is due", it might seem to be referring to the settlement of some sort of obligation in the form of a debt, or of a promised or legally required action. However, verse 28 indicates that the wording is speaking instead about a need on the part of a person's neighbor -- not only when that need is expressed in words by that neighbor as a request for some sort of help or assistance, but also when the neighbor's need is simply perceived (visually or otherwise) by the person himself.

Also, the term "neighbor" does not imply any degree of closeness or familiarity between the individuals, but refers to anyone -- including a stranger, or, as Jesus made clear (in response to the question, "Who is my neighbor?") in the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, even someone whom we might consider an enemy -- who needs or requires our help.

These verses in Proverbs are telling us that, if we have it in our power to help our neighbor immediately, either in the form of an action that we can do right then, or through some tangible form of assistance such as an item or money that we have with us at that time, and that would address the neighbor's need, we should provide that assistance at once, rather than deliberately delaying it or putting it off on some pretext or unsubstantial reason, especially when our excuse involves nothing more than mere personal inconvenience or "not feeling like it".

August 11 2015 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Wpid worship1 Britney Costa
It means the same thing as in Prov 3:28. Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it," when you have it with you.

August 29 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining