But this I say
This the apostle would have the Corinthians take notice of, and well consider, it being what he could aver for truth, by observation and experience; that as in things natural, so in things of a moral and spiritual kind,
he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he
or with blessings,
shall reap also bountifully;
or with blessings; as a man sows, so shall he reap; the one is in proportion to the other. Sowing and reaping are here used in a metaphorical sense. The former signifies doing acts of beneficence and liberality. So it is used in the Old Testament, and in Jewish writings; see ( Ecclesiastes 9:6 ) ( Isaiah 32:20 ) . The interpretation of the latter text, give me leave to produce out of the Talmud F5 as follows, and which will serve to illustrate this of the apostle's.
``Says. R. Jochanan, in the name of R. Benaah, what is that which is written, "blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox, and the ass?" blessed are the Israelites, for when they are employed in the law, (Mydox twlymgbw) , "and in acts of beneficence", their evil concupiscence is delivered into their hand, and they are not delivered into the hand of their evil concupiscence: or, as it is elsewhere F6 said, such are worthy of the inheritance of two tribes, Joseph and Issachar; as it is said, "blessed are ye that sow beside all waters", (hqdu ala heyrz Nyaw) , "and there is no sowing but alms"; or, by the word "sowing", nothing else is meant but doing of alms, as it is said, ( Hosea 10:12 ) and there is no water but the law, or nothing else is meant by water but the law, as it is said, ( Isaiah 55:1 ) . And as to these words, "that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass", it is a tradition of the house of Elias, for ever let a man place himself by the words of the law, as an ox to the yoke, and an ass to the burden.''There is a good deal of likeness between sowing the seed in the earth, and doing of alms, or acts of beneficence. The seed that is sown is what is selected and reserved out of the stock expended or sold off, which if not done, there would be no provision for futurity; so that which a man gives for the relief of the necessitous, is what he lays by him in store of what God has prospered him with; in doing which he may hope for a fruitful harvest, whereas otherwise he could expect none: as seed is cast from, and scattered about by the sower all over the field; so what is given to the poor, it is parted with unto them, and spread among them, everyone has a portion; and it looks like a diminution of a man's substance, and as if it would never return with any advantage; though it does, as in a natural, so in a metaphorical sense. The sower casts and scatters his seed with an open hand; was he to gripe it in his fist, or only let go a grain of corn or wheat here and there, he would have but a poor harvest; so the cheerful giver opens his hand wide, and bountifully supplies the wants of the needy; who, as the sower casts his seed on the empty field, so he bestows his bounty on indigent persons, on all men in want, especially the household of faith: and, as when he has done, he harrows the ground, and covers the seed under the earth, where it lies hid, and is very unpromising for a while, and yet be exercises faith, hope, and patience, with respect to an harvest; so the generous benefactor does what he does in as private a manner as may be; and though for a time his good deeds may seem to be attended with little prospect of reward, yet in the end they certainly shall; for as a man sows, so shall he reap: if he sows, that is, gives nothing, he shall reap nothing; if he sows but little, he shall reap little; and if he sows much, he shall reap much; and that of the selfsame kind which he sows; as he is liberal in things temporal, so shall he prosper and succeed in the same; see ( Proverbs 3:9 Proverbs 3:10 ) ( Proverbs 11:24 Proverbs 11:25 ) ( Isaiah 32:8 ) ( Galatians 6:7-10 ) .
F5 T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 5. 2. Zohar in Exod. fol. 2. 4.
F6 T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 17. 1.