Proverbs 13:4
The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
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Proverbs 13:4. The sluggard desireth and hath nothing — Because he contents himself with lazy desires, without diligent endeavours; but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat — He shall be enriched with the fruit of his own labours.

13:1 There is great hope of those that reverence their parents. There is little hope of any who will not hear those that deal faithfully with them. 2. By our words we must be justified or condemned, Mt 12:37. 3. He that thinks before he speaks, that suppresses evil if he have thought it, keeps his soul from a great deal both of guilt and grief. Many a one is ruined by an ungoverned tongue. 4. The slothful desire the gains the diligent get, but hate the pains the diligent take; therefore they have nothing. This is especially true as to the soul. 5. Where sin reigns, the man is loathsome. If his conscience were awake, he would abhor himself, and repent in dust and ashes.The fruit of his mouth - Speech rightly used is itself good, and must therefore bring good fruit.

Eat violence - i. e., Bring upon itself repayment in kind for its deeds of evil.

4. (Compare Pr 12:11, 27). Hath nothing, because he contenteth himself with lazy desires without diligent endeavours.

Shall be made fat; he shall be enriched with the fruit of his own labours.

The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing,.... He desires knowledge, but does not care to be at any pains to get it, and so has it not; he desires riches, but chooses not to make use of the means, to be diligent and industrious, and so he is without them; he desires to wear good clothes and rich raiment, but is unwilling to labour for them, and therefore is clothed with rags; he desires food, and plenty of it, but refuses to work for it; and he that will not work should not eat, and therefore he has it not, but starves and famishes: and, in spiritual things, the sluggard desires heaven and happiness, but does not care to do the duties of religion; he would die the death of the righteous, but is unwilling to live his life; to abstain from sin, and live soberly and righteously, is too hard service for him; he does not choose to do or suffer anything for the cause of Christ and true religion. Jarchi's note is, that

"in the future state he shall see the glory of the wise man, and desire it; but shall not attain to it;''

but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat; become rich; increase in temporal things, and have great plenty and prosperity; and so, in spiritual matters, such who are diligent in the use of means, constantly attend on the word and ordinances, and labour for the meat which endures to everlasting life; such are filled and satisfied, as with marrow and fatness; and become fat and flourishing, and fruitful in every good word and work; and shall at last arrive to that state where there will be no more hunger and thirst.

The soul of the sluggard {b} desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

(b) He always desires, but takes no pains to get anything.

Verse 4. - (Comp. Proverbs 10:4.) The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing; literally, and nothing is there - he gains nothing (Proverbs 14:6; Proverbs 20:4). He has the wish, but not the will, and the empty wish without corresponding exertion is useless (Proverbs 21:25, etc.). Vulgate, "The indolent wishers, and wishes not;" he wishes for something, but he wishes not for the labour of getting it; he would like the result, but he hates the process by which the result is to be obtained. Septuagint, "In desires every idle man is occupied;" his mind is fixed wholly on aimless wishes, not on action. Shall be made fat (Proverbs 11:25); Septuagint, "The hands of the valiant are fully occupied (ἐν ἐπιμελείᾳ)." Proverbs 13:4The three proverbs (Proverbs 13:1-3) which refer to hearing and speaking are now following by a fourth which, like Proverbs 13:2 and Proverbs 13:3, speaks of the נפשׁ.

The soul of the sluggard desires, yet has not;

But the soul of the industrious is richly satisfied.

The view that the o in נפשׁו עצל is the cholem compaginis, Bttcher, 835, meets with the right answer that this would be the only example of a vocal casus in the whole of gnomic poetry; but when on his own part (Neue Aehrenlese, 1305) he regards נפשׁו as the accus. of the nearer definition ( equals בּנפשׁו), he proceeds inadvertently on the view that the first word of the proverb is מתאוּה, while we read מתאוּה, and נפשׁו is thus the nom. of the subject. נפשׁו עצל means "his (the sluggard's) soul" (for עצל occurs as explanatory permutative briefly for נפשׁ עצל), as סעיפיה פּריּה means "its branches (i.e., of the fruitful tree)," Isaiah 17:6. One might, it is true, add ה to the following word here, as at Proverbs 14:13; but the similar expression appertaining to the syntax ornata occurs also 2 Samuel 22:33; Psalm 71:7, and elsewhere, where this is impracticable. Meri appropriately compares the scheme Exodus 2:6, she saw him, viz., the boy. With reference to the ואין here violently (cf. Proverbs 28:1) introduced, Bttcher rightly remarks, that it is an adverb altogether like necquidquam, Proverbs 14:6; Proverbs 20:4, Psalm 68:21, etc., thus: appetit necquidquam anima ejus, scilicet pigri. 4b shows the meaning of the desire that has not, for there תדשּׁן occurs, a favourite strong Mishle word (Proverbs 11:25; Proverbs 28:25, etc.) for abundant satisfaction (the lxx here, as at 28:25, ἐν ἐπιμελείᾳ, sc. ἔσονται, instead of which, Montfaucon supposed πιμελείᾳ, which is, however, a word not authenticated). The slothful wishes and dreams of prosperity and abundance (cf. Proverbs 21:25., a parallel which the Syr. has here in view), but his desire remains unsatisfied, since the object is not gained but only lost by doing nothing; the industrious gain, and that richly, what the slothful wishes for, but in vain.

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