Proverbs 19:24
A slothful man hideth 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. Proverbs 19:2424 The slothful hath thrust his hand into the dish;

     He bringeth it not again to his mouth.

This proverb is repeated in a different form, Proverbs 26:15. The figure appears, thus understood, an hyperbole, on which account the lxx understand by צלחת the bosom or lap, κόλπον; Aquila and Symmachus understand by it the arm-pit, μασχάλην or μάλην; and the Jewish interpreters gloss it by חיק (Kimchi) or קרע החלוק, the slit (Ita. fenditura) of the shirt. But the domestic figure, 2 Kings 21:13, places before us a dish which, when it is empty, is wiped and turned upside down;

(Note: While צפּחת, ṣaḥfat, in the sense of dish, is etymologically clear, for צלּחת, neither ṣalaḥ (to be good for), nor salakh (to be deaf, mangy), offers an appropriate verbal meaning. The Arab. zuluh (large dishes) stands under zalah (to taste, of the tasting of good), but is scarcely a derivative from it. Only צלח, which in the meaning of good for, proceeding from the idea of penetrating through, has retained the root-meaning of cleft, furnishes for צלּחת and צלוחית a root-word in some measure useful.)

and that the slothful when he eats appears too slothful to bring his hand, e.g., with the rice or the piece of bread he has taken out of the dish, again to his mouth, is true to nature: we say of such a man that he almost sleeps when he eats. The fut. after the perf. here denotes that which is not done after the former thing, i.e., that which is scarcely and only with difficulty done; לּו ... גּם may have the meaning of "yet not," as at Psalm 129:2; but the sense of "not once" equals ne ... quidem, lies here nearer Deuteronomy 23:3.

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