Cast your bread


In The Book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 11 Verse 1 states:
Cast your bread upon the waters;
after a long time you may find it again.

Please explain this passage.


From the commentary in the NABRE:

  • [11:1–2] These two sayings can be understood against a commercial background. They acknowledge the uncertainty and risk such activity involves. At the same time they encourage action and a spirit of adventure. The first (v. 1) speaks of trade and overseas investment: Export your grain (“bread”) to foreign markets and you may be surprised at the substantial profits. The second (v. 2) encourages diversification of investment (seven, or even eight shipments of grain) to insure against heavy losses. (source)


D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 1. Waters. Sow thy seed where it may produce a good crop. (Calmet) — Be charitable to all, Luke vi. 30. Indiscrete faciendum bene. (St. Jerome) — Assist those in distress, (Calmet) even though they may be ungrateful, or unable to make a return, Luke xiv. 12. (Tirinus) — In this third part we are exhorted to serve God with perseverance. Of all virtues, the works of mercy avail most, Matthew xxv. (Worthington)


According to St. Gregory Thaumaturgus

Moreover, it is a righteous thing to give (to the needy) of your bread, and of those things which are necessary for the support of man’s life. For though you seem immediately to waste it upon some persons, as if you cast your bread upon the water, yet in the progress of time your kindness shall be seen to be not unprofitable for you. Also give liberally, and give a portion of your means to many; for you know not what the coming day does.

Seems he felt that it was a symbolism for how that when we do good things it seems like a waste. We spend years of our lives trying to draw someone to Christ and they only seem to get further away. He says to keep sowing those seeds. It may seem worthless and unprofitable, but years down the road you may find it bears fruit.


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