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By Andy Sochor

People debate the virtues of capitalism and socialism in terms of economic policies. Sometimes you hear arguments made from the Bible for one or the other by religious people (even by irreligious people at times). The following verse is a good one to consider as we try to develop a Biblical view of economics.

"He who withholds grain, the people will curse him, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it" (Proverbs 11:26).

If people need grain, but one person possesses all of it and refuses to part with any of it, then it is understandable for the people who need grain to think negatively of the one who hoards it.

But if one person has all of the grain and the people need some grain, what should be done? Should he be forced to give it away? Should the government confiscate his grain and redistribute it to those who need it? Should an angry mob come and steal his grain? No, no, and no. What does the Scripture say? He should "sell" it.

There are several reasons why it is preferable to sell the grain:

1. The grain is rightfully his in the first place and the Scriptures teach that personal property rights are to be respected (Exodus 20:15; Ecclesiastes 5:19; Acts 5:3-4).

2. Work was done in order to grow and gather the grain and the laborer is worthy of his wages (1st Timothy 5:18).

3. When man is able to work for something (or work for the money to be able to purchase something), he is expected to do so. Those who are unwilling to work are unworthy to receive the fruits of another man's labor (2nd Thessalonians 3:8-10).

Other points could be made from this verse as well, but these are a few to consider. One who "sells" a needed product to people is "blessed". Those who believe this man's property ought to be forcefully taken from him (either by a civil government or an uncivil mob) cannot make their case from the Bible.

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