Proverbs 21:25
The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.
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(25) The desire of the slothful killeth them.—Their love for sloth and pleasure ruins them in soul and body and fortune.

Proverbs 21:25-26. The desire of the slothful killeth him — Torments him almost to death, while he passionately desires that which he sees he shall not enjoy, and will not take pains to procure. He coveteth greedily all the day long — Spends his whole time in vain and lazy desires, but will not labour to gain any thing, either to use himself, or to give to others. But the righteous giveth, and spareth not — By God’s blessing upon his industry he procures enough not only for his own support, but also for the liberal relief of others.

21:9. It is best to shun bitter contention by pouring out the heart before God. For by prudence and patience, with constant prayer, the cross may be removed. 10. The evil desires of a wicked man's heart, lead to baseness in his conduct. 11. The simple may be made wise by punishments on the wicked, and by instructions to those who are willing to be taught. 12. Good men envy not the prosperity of evil-doers; they see there is a curse on them. 13. Such as oppress the poor by beating down wages, such as will not relieve according to their ability those in distress, and those in authority who neglect to do justice, stop their ears at the cry of the poor. But doubtless care is to be used in the exercise of charity. 14. If money can conquer the fury of the passions, shall reason, the fear of God, and the command of Christ, be too weak to bridle them? 15. There is true pleasure only in the practice of religion. 16. Of all wanderers in the ways of sin, those are in the most dangerous condition who turn aside into the ways of darkness. Yet there is hope even for them in the all-sufficient Saviour; but let them flee to him without delay. 17. A life of worldly pleasure brings ruin on men. 18. The righteous is often delivered out of trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead, and so seems as a ransom for him. 19. Unbridled passions spoil the comfort of all relations. 20. The plenty obtained by prudence, industry, and frugality, is desirable. But the foolish misspend what they have upon their lusts. 21. True repentance and faith will lead him that relies on the mercy of God in Christ, to follow after righteousness and mercy in his own conduct. 22. Those that have wisdom, often do great things, even against those confident of their strength. 23. It is our great concern to keep our souls from being entangled and disquieted. 24. Pride and haughtiness make men passionate; such continually deal in wrath, as if it were their trade to be angry. 25,26. Here is the misery of the slothful; their hands refuse to labour in an honest calling, by which they might get an honest livelihood; yet their hearts cease not to covet riches, pleasures, and honours, which cannot be obtained without labour. But the righteous and industrious have their desires satisfied. 27. When holiness is pretended, but wickedness intended, that especially is an abomination. 28. The doom of a false witness is certain. 29. A wicked man bids defiance to the terrors of the law and the rebukes of Providence. But a good man asks, What does God require of me? 30,31. Means are to be used, but, after all, our safety and salvation are only of the Lord. In our spiritual warfare we must arm ourselves with the whole armour of God; but our strength must be in the Lord, and in the power of his might.Killeth him - He wastes his strength and life in unsatisfied longings for something which he has not energy to gain. The wish to do great or good things may sometimes be taken for the deed, but if the hindrance is from a man's own sloth, it does but add to his condemnation. 25. desire—that is, of ease and idleness brings him to starvation. Killeth him; either,

1. Tormenteth him almost to death, whilst he passionately desires that which he sees he shall not enjoy, and will not take pains to procure. Or,

2. Exposeth him to extreme want, and so to death, or to such wicked courses, for the supply of his wants, as bring him to an untimely death.

The desire of the slothful killeth him,.... His desire after food and raiment, and riches; for because he cannot have what he desires, being unwilling to work for them, it frets and vexes him to death, or puts him upon unlawful methods to obtain them, which bring him to a shameful death; see Proverbs 13:4;

for his hands refuse to labour; when he is ordered by his superiors, or his wants are such as call for labour; and he seems to be willing and desirous of it, necessity obliging to it, yet he cannot bring his hands to it; these do in effect say, as Aben Ezra observes, Thou shall not do it. Maimonides says this is to be understood of sloth in seeking wisdom (h).

(h) Moreh Nevochim, par. 1. c. 34. p. 47.

The desire of the slothful {l} killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

(l) He thinks to live by wishing and desiring all things, but will make no effort to get anything.

25. the desire of the slothful killeth him] This may mean either (a) his desire for slothful inaction brings him to want and starvation, because through its indulgence (as the 2nd clause of the verse explains) his hands refuse to do the work by which maintenance is to be obtained; or (b) his desire for the necessaries and comforts of life, or even for nobler things, wears him out with unsatisfied longings. Comp. Proverbs 21:26 below and Proverbs 13:4, Proverbs 19:24. “Idleness is ruin; the soul rusts away, like the sword in Hudibras, which

‘ate into itself for lack

Of something else to hew and hack.’ ” Horton.

Verse 25. - The desire of the slothful killeth him. The craving for ease and rest, and the consequent disinclination for labour, prove fatal to the slothful man. Or, it may be, the mere wish, combined with no active exertion to secure its accomplishment, is fatal to soul, body, and fortune (comp. Proverbs 13:4; Proverbs 19:24). Lesetre quotes Bossuet, "Le paresseux spirituel s'expose aussi a la mort eternelle; car les bone desirs ne suffisient pas pour le salut; il faut encore les oeuvres" (see Matthew 7:21; Romans 2:13). Proverbs 21:2525 The desire of the slothful killeth him;

     For his hands refuse to be active.

The desire of the עצל, Hitzig remarks, goes out first after meat and drink; and when it takes this direction, as hunger, it kills him indeed. But in this case it is not the desire that kills him, but the impossibility of satisfying it. The meaning is simply: the inordinate desire after rest and pleasure kills the slothful; for this always seeking only enjoyment and idleness brings him at last to ruin. תּאוה means here, as in Kibroth ha-tava, Numbers 11:34, inordinate longing after enjoyments. The proverb is connected by almost all interpreters (also Ewald, Bertheau, Hitzig, Elster, Zckler) as a tetrastich with Proverbs 21:25 : he (the slothful) always eagerly desires, but the righteous giveth and spareth not. But (1) although צדּיק, since it designates one who is faithful to duty, might be used particularly of the industrious (cf. Proverbs 15:19), yet would there be wanting in 26a ואין, Proverbs 13:4, cf. Proverbs 20:4, necessary for the formation of the contrast; (2) this older Book of Proverbs consists of pure distichs; the only tristich, Proverbs 19:7, appears as the consequence of a mutilation from the lxx. Thus the pretended tetrastich before us is only apparently such.

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