Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 – Live with Generosity


Ecclesiastes 11:1-2


Live with generosity, because you do not know what the future holds.


These two proverbs encourage readers to be generous with their means. In the first, sending bread upon waters seems like an act of futility, since it will either travel downstream permanently or be ruined. The Teacher says that acts of generosity will reap rewards, even if those rewards are not immediately evident. In the second proverb, the NRSV’s translation of “divide your means” sounds at first like the adage not to keep all of one’s eggs in the same basket. However, the Hebrew phrase there is more literally translated, “Give a portion to seven or even to eight,” again pointing to the theme of generosity established in v. 1. Sharing resources and spreading goodwill are worthwhile, whether the future brings prosperity or calamity.