|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:1 It seems hard to believe that men of the greatest abilities, as well as the ignorant, should render themselves fools and madmen, merely for the taste or excitement produced by strong liquors. 2. How formidable kings are to those who provoke them! how much more foolish then is it to provoke the King of kings! 3. To engage in quarrels is the greatest folly that can be. Yield, and even give up just demands, for peace' sake. 4. He who labours and endures hardship in his seed-time for eternity, will be properly diligent as to his earthly business.
Verse 4. - The sluggard will not plough by reason of the cold; propter frigus, Vulgate. But חֹרֶפ (choreph) denotes the time of gathering - the autumn; so we would translate, "At the time of harvest the sluggard ploughs not" - just when the ground is most easily and profitably worked. "The weakness of the coulter and other parts of the plough requires that advantage be taken, in all but the most friable soils, of the softening of the surface by the winter or spring rains; so that the peasant, if industrious, has to plough in the winter, though sluggards still shrink from its cold, and have to beg in the harvest" (Geikie, 'Holy Land and Bible,' 2:491). Therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing. So the Vulgate, Mendicabit ergo aestate, et non dabitur illi. But this does not accurately represent the meaning of the clause. If ever the prosperous are disposed to relieve the needy, it would be at the time when they have safely garnered their produce; an appeal to their charity at such a moment would not be made in vain. Rather the sentence signifies that the lazy man, having neglected to have his land ploughed at the proper time, "when he asks (for his fruits) at harvest time, there is nothing." He puts off tilling his fields day after day, or never looks to see if his labourers do their duty, and so his land is not cultivated, and he has no crop to reap when autumn comes. "By the street of By-and-by one arrives at the house of Never" (Spanish proverb). Taking a different interpretation of the word choreph, the LXX. renders, "Being reproached, the sluggard is not ashamed, no more than he who borrows corn in harvest."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The sluggard will not plough by reason of the cold,.... Or, "in the cold"; in the time of cold, as Aben Ezra; in the time of autumn, which is the time of ploughing, when it begins to be cold weather, and winter is drawing on: and this is discouraging to the sluggard, who does not care to take his hands out of his bosom to feed himself, and much less to plough; see Proverbs 19:24;
therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing; he shall ask of those who have ploughed and sowed, and are now reaping and gathering in their increase at harvest time; but they shall give him nothing; for such as will not work should not eat; and if a man will not plough and sow, he cannot expect to reap, nor should he be encouraged in begging. This holds good in spiritual things; such who have been slothful and sluggish about their spiritual affairs, unconcerned for the grace of God, and indolent in the use of means, or performance of duty, will ask when too late, or of wrong persons, and shall not have it; as the foolish virgins ask oil of the wise, when the bridegroom is come; and the rich man for water from Abraham, when in hell, Matthew 25:8.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. shall … beg—literally, "ask" (in this sense, Ps 109:10).
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