Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 11:26
"He who withholds grain, the people will curse him, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it"
This language is strange to us but Solomon is talking about the common business practice of creating shortages in order to drive up prices. In Solomon's day the crops of wheat and corn were usually the commodity which farmers would hold back to make it more scarce, especially during times of high demand.
Solomon is instructing those who would be wise that when they are in a situation to exploit a shortage, even more than it is, so that prices can be driven upwards, this will be perceived as price gouging and corruption – even if it is legal. People will curse you for your business acumen. They will not celebrate how smart and clever you are. They will see that you took advantage of a crisis of some kind to drive profits.
Now what is interesting is not that he says it is wrong; he doesn't. He says it is stupid. It is the way to permanently damage your reputation. Yes, you can make a lot of money; but you will alienate a lot of people.
This principle carries over to a lot of different relationships:
When a spouse withholds what the other spouse needs; such as, respect, intimacy, conversation, companionship, etc., so that the other person is more pliable to your way of thinking.
When a Christian suggests that they will withhold giving to their church until things get straightened out.
When a person withholds what another person needs at work in order to make their contribution to the project more visible or more valuable.
Be very careful, Solomon says, that you are not reputationally stupid. Yes, lots of things are personally profitable, but they are relationally ignorant.
Do not withhold a good from someone when it is in your power to do so.