Proverbs 6:10
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
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6:6-11 Diligence in business is every man's wisdom and duty; not so much that he may attain worldly wealth, as that he may not be a burden to others, or a scandal to the church. The ants are more diligent than slothful men. We may learn wisdom from the meanest insects, and be shamed by them. Habits of indolence and indulgence grow upon people. Thus life runs to waste; and poverty, though at first at a distance, gradually draws near, like a traveller; and when it arrives, is like an armed man, too strong to be resisted. All this may be applied to the concerns of our souls. How many love their sleep of sin, and their dreams of worldly happiness! Shall we not seek to awaken such? Shall we not give diligence to secure our own salvation?The words express the wonder with which the Hebrew observer looked on the phenomena of insect life. "Guide," better captain, as in Joshua 10:24. The Septuagint introduces here a corresponding reference to the industry of the bee. 9, 10. Their conduct graphically described; This he speaks in the person of the sluggard, refusing to arise, and requiring more sleep, that so he might express the disposition and common practice of such persons.

Folding of the hands is the gesture of men composing themselves to sleep.

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber,.... Or, "little sleeps, little slumbers" (s). These are the words of the sluggard, in answer to the call of him to awake and arise, desiring he might not be disturbed, but be suffered to sleep on longer: there is a very beautiful climax or gradation in the words, aptly expressing the disposition and actions of a sluggard; he first desires a "few sleeps" more, some sound sleeps one after another; which is quite agreeable to his character: and if he cannot be allowed them, then he requests a "few slumbers" at least, some dozings, till he can get himself thoroughly awake; and if these cannot be granted, yet he prays however that this might be admitted,

a little folding of the hands to sleep; or, "to lie down" (t); a few tossings and tumblings upon the bed more, with his hands folded about his breast; a sleeping gesture, and the posture of sluggards. The Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "a little thou wilt embrace the breast with the hands"; and the Syriac version, "and a little thou wilt put thine hand upon thy breast". The Jewish commentators understand this as a direction and command to sleep and slumber but little, since a little sleep is sufficient for nature; or otherwise poverty will come, &c. but the former sense is best.

(s) "parvis somnis, parvis dormitationibus", Pagninus; "pauculis somnis, pauculis dormitationibus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (t) "cubando", Junius & Tremellius; "cubare", Piscator; "ad cubandum", Cocceius.

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, {c} a little folding of the hands to sleep:

(c) He expresses the nature of the sluggards, who though they sleep long, yet never have enough, but always seek opportunity for more.

Verse 10. - Yet a Little sleep, etc. Is this the answer of the sluggard which the teacher takes up and repeats ironically, and in a tone of contempt? or is it the teacher's own language describing how the sluggard slides on insensibly to ruin? The Vulgate favours the latter view, "Thou shalt sleep a little, thou shalt slumber a little, thou shalt fold thy hands to sleep, and then," etc. Habits, as Aristotle in his 'Ethics' has shown, are the resultant of repeated acts, and habits entail consequences. So here the inspired teacher would have it learnt, from the example of the sluggard, that the self-indulgence which he craves leads on to a confirmed indolence, which in the end leaves him powerless. "Yet a little" is the phrase on the lips of every one who makes but a feeble resistance, and yields supinely to his darling vice. Proverbs 6:10After the poet has admonished the sluggard to take the ant as an example, he seeks also to rouse him out of his sleepiness and indolence:

9 How long, O sluggard, wilt thou lie?

   When wilt thou rise up from thy sleep?

10 "A little sleep, a little slumber,

   A little folding of the hands to rest!"

11 So comes like a strong robber thy poverty,

   And thy want as an armed man.

Proverbs 6:9-10

The awakening cry, Proverbs 6:9, is not of the kind that Paul could have it in his mind, Ephesians 5:14. עצל has, as the vocative, Pasek after it, and is, on account of the Pasek, in correct editions accentuated not with Munach, but Mercha. The words, Proverbs 6:10, are not an ironical call (sleep only yet a little while, but in truth a long while), but per mimesin the reply of the sluggard with which he turns away the unwelcome disturber. The plurals with מעט sound like self-delusion: yet a little, but a sufficient! To fold the hands, i.e., to cross them over the breast, or put them into the bosom, denotes also, Ecclesiastes 4:5, the idler. חבּוּק, complicatio (cf. in Livy, compressis quod aiunt manibus sidere; and Lucan, 2:292, compressas tenuisse manus), for formed like שׁקּוּי, Proverbs 3:8, and the inf. שׁכב like חסר, Proverbs 10:21, and שׁפל, Proverbs 16:19. The perf. consec. connects itself with the words heard from the mouth of the sluggard, which are as a hypothetical antecedent thereto: if thou so sayest, and always again sayest, then this is the consequence, that suddenly and inevitably poverty and want come upon thee. That מהלּך denotes the grassator, i.e., vagabond (Arab. dawwar, one who wanders much about), or the robber or foe (like the Arab. 'aduww, properly transgressor finium), is not justified by the usage of the language; הלך signifies, 2 Samuel 12:4, the traveller, and מהלּך is one who rides quickly forward, not directly a κακὸς ὁδοιπόρος (lxx).

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