Proverbs 13:4
The soul of the sluggard desires, and has 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)." 26 The righteous looketh after his pastures,

     But the way of the godless leadeth them into error.

In 26a no acceptable meaning is to be gained from the traditional mode of vocalization. Most of the ancients translate יתר as part. to יתר, as it occurs in post-bibl. Hebr., e.g., חבּה יתרה, prevailing, altogether peculiar love. Thus the Targum, טב מן הבריהּ; Venet. πεπερίττευται (after Kimchi); on the other hand, Aquila, active: περισσεύων τὸν πλησίον (making the neighbour rich), which the meaning of the Kal as well as the form יתר oppose; Luther, "The righteous man is better than his neighbour," according to which Fleischer also explains, "Probably יתר from יתר, πλεονάζειν, has the meaning of πλέον ἔχων, πλεονεκτῶν, he gains more honour, respect, riches, etc., than the other, viz., the unrighteous." Yet more satisfactory Ahron b. Joseph: not the nobility and the name, but this, that he is righteous, raises a man above others. In this sense we would approve of the praestantior altero justus, if only the two parts of the proverb were not by such a rendering wholly isolated from one another. Thus יתר is to be treated as the fut. of התיר. The Syr. understands it of right counsel; and in like manner Schultens explains it, with Cocceius, of intelligent, skilful guidance, and the moderns (e.g., Gesenius) for the most part of guidance generally. Ewald rather seeks (because the proverb-style avoids the placing of a fut. verb at the commencement of the proverb but cf. Proverbs 17:10) to interpret יתר as a noun in the sense of director, but his justification of the fixed ā is unfounded. And generally this sense of the word is exposed to many objections. The verb תּוּר signifies, after its root, to go about, "to make to go about," but is, however, not equivalent to, to lead (wherefore Bttcher too ingeniously derives יתר equals יאתר from אתר equals אשׁר); and wherefore this strange word, since the Book of Proverbs is so rich in synonyms of leading and guiding! The Hiph. התיר signifies to send to spy, Judges 1:23, and in this sense the poet ought to have said יתר לרעהוּ: the righteous spies out (the way) for his neighbour, he serves him, as the Targum-Talmud would say, as תּיּר. Thus connected with the obj. accus. the explanation would certainly be: the righteous searches out his neighbour (Lwenstein), he has intercourse with men, according to the maxim, "Trau schau wem." But why not רעהוּ, but מרעהוּ, which occurs only once, Proverbs 19:7, in the Mishle, and then for an evident reason? Therefore, with Dderlein, Dathe, J. D. Michaelis, Ziegler, and Hitzig, we prefer to read מרעהוּ; it is at least not necessary, with Hitzig, to change יתר into יתר, since the Hiphil may have the force of the intens. of the Kal, but יתר without the jussive signification is a poetic licence for יתיר. That תור can quite well be used of the exploring of the pasture, the deriv. יתוּר, Job 39:18, shows. Thus altered, 26a falls into an appropriately contrasted relation to 26b. The way of the godless leads them into error; the course of life to which they have given themselves up has such a power over them that they cannot set themselves free from it, and it leads the enslaved into destruction: the righteous, on the contrary, is free with respect to the way which he takes and the place where he stays; his view (regard) is directed to his true advancement, and he looketh after his pasture, i.e., examines and discovers, where for him right pasture, i.e., the advancement of his outer and inner life, is to be found. With מרעהוּ there is a combination of the thought of this verse with the following, whose catch-word is צידו, his prey.

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