Proverbs 19:24
A slothful man hides his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom.—Better, in the dish that stood in the middle of the table at an Oriental dinner, into which the guests dipped their hands to take out the food for themselves (Matthew 26:23).

Proverbs 19:24. A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom — Either to keep it warm in cold weather, or to give it rest, being unwilling to fatigue it with the labour of any action; and will not bring it to his mouth again — Namely, to feed himself; as if he expected that the meat should drop into his mouth. “It is a most elegant, but hyperbolical, description of a man who hath given himself up to sloth; who refuses to do things as easy as pulling his hand out of his bosom, and as necessary as eating and drinking.”19:19. The spared and spoiled child is likely to become a man of great wrath. 20. Those that would be wise in their latter end, must be taught and ruled when young. 21. What should we desire, but that all our purposes may agree with God's holy will? 22. It is far better to have a heart to do good, and want ability for it, than to have ability for it, and want a heart to it. 23. Those that live in the fear of God, shall get safety, satisfaction, and true and complete happiness. 24. Indolence, when indulged, so grows upon people, that they have no heart to do the most needful things for themselves. 25. A gentle rebuke goes farthest with a man of understanding. 26. The young man who wastes his father's substance, or makes his aged mother destitute, is hateful, and will come to disgrace.Hideth his hand in his bosom - Better, dippeth his hand in the dish (compare 2 Kings 21:13). The scene brought before us is that of an Eastern feast. There are no knives, or forks, or spoons. Every guest has to help himself, or be helped by the host. Compare John 13:26. 24. bosom—literally, a wide dish in which the hand was plunged in eating (Mt 26:23). Compare Pr 26:15, the sentiment expressed with equal irony and less exaggeration. Hideth his hand in his bosom; either to keep it warm in cold weather; or to give it rest, being loth to oppress it with the labour of any action. It is a sarcastical hyperbole.

Will not so much as bring it to his mouth again, to wit, to feed himself; he expects that the meat should drop into his mouth. A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom,.... In cold weather to keep it warm, and at other times, as unwilling to use it in labour; it is the proper posture and just attitude of a slothful man. The word for "bosom" is sometimes used for a "pot" or "platter" (u); and then the sense is, that he puts his hands under a pot over a fire to warm them; or in one removed at some distance from the fire, as Jarchi; or rather it may signify his putting his hand into a plate of food, and yet so slothful, as it follows,

and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again; so sluggish, that he will rather starve than be at the pains to feed himself; he will not take his hand out of his bosom, to take food out of the dish to feed himself with; and even when his hand is in the dish, he will not take it from thence again, and lift it to his mouth; an hyperbolical expression. Gussetius (w) thinks, it may have respect to such slothful men, who are careless and negligent to their souls; who, though they have the holy Scriptures in their hands, like a vessel full of wholesome food for the soul, yet will not make use of the least mite out of them, that they may receive eternal life.

(u) "in patinam", Tigurine version; "in lebete", Mercerus, Michaelis; "in patinia", Cocceius; "in paropsidem", Schultens. (w) Ebr. Comment. p. 715.

A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. hideth his hand in his bosom] Rather, burieth his hand in the dish (R.V.), after the Oriental fashion of eating. See Proverbs 26:15, where this clause occurs again. Comp. Matthew 26:23. The Heb. word is rendered dish, 2 Kings 21:13; and (in a slightly different form) cruse (A.V. and R.V.) in 2 Kings 2:20; pan, 2 Chronicles 35:13. “It was probably a flat metal saucer of the form still common in the East,” Smith’s Dict. of Bible, Art. cruse.Verse 24. - A slothful man hideth him hand in his bosom; Revised Version, the sluggard burieth his hand in the disk. The word tsallachath, translated "bosom" here and in the parallel passage, Proverbs 26:15 (where see note), is rightly rendered "dish" (2 Kings 21:13). At an Oriental meal the guests sit round a table, on which is placed a dish containing the food, from which every one helps himself with his fingers, knives, spoons, and forks being never used (comp. Ruth 2:14; Matthew 26:23). Sometimes the holt himself helps a guest whom ha wishes to honour (comp. John 13:26). And will not so much as bring it to him mouth again He finds it too great an exertion to feed himself, an hyperbolical way of denoting the gross laziness which recoils from the slightest labour, and will not take the least trouble to win its livelihood. An Arabic proverb says, "He dies of hunger under the date tree." Septuagint, "He who unjustly hideth his hands in his bosom will not even apply them to his mouth;" i.e. he who will not work will never feed himself. This proverb brings to view once more the pedagogic character of this Older Book of Proverbs:

Correct thy son, for yet there is hope;

But go not too far to kill him.

That כּי tahT is meant relatively, as at Proverbs 11:15, is seen from Job 11:18; Job 14:7; Jeremiah 31:16.; כּי־ישׁ תּקוה is the usual expression for etemin spes est. Though a son show obstinacy, and manifest a bad disposition, yet there is hope in the training of the youth of being able to break his self-will, and to wean him from his bad disposition; therefore his education should be carried forward with rigorous exactness, but in such a way that wisdom and love regulate the measure and limits of correction: ad eum interficiendum animam ne tollas (animum ne inducas). נפשׁך is not the subject, for in that case the word would have been תּשּׁאך (2 Kings 14:10). It is the object: To raise the soul to something is equivalent to, to direct his desire to it, to take delight in it. The teacher should not seek correction as the object, but only as the means; he who has a desire after it, to put the child to death in the case of his guilt, changes correction into revenge, permits himself to be driven by passion from the proper end of correction, and to be pushed beyond its limits. The lxx translates freely εἰς δὲ ὕβρις, for ὕβρις is unrestrained abuse, מוסר אכזרי as Immanuel glosses. Besides, all the ancients and also the Venet. translate המיתו as the inf. of המית. But Oetinger (for he translates: lift not thy soul to his cry, for which Euchel: let not his complaining move thy compassion) follows the derivation from המה suggested by Kimchi, Meri, and Immanuel, and preferred by Ralbag, so that המיתו after the from בּכית is equivalent to המיתו. But leaving out of view that המה means strepere, not lamentari, and that נשׂא נפשׁו means attention, not desire, Proverbs 23:13 points out to us a better interpretation.

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