How long will you sleep, O sluggard? when will you arise out of your sleep?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Proverbs 6:9-11. How long, &c. — O the strange idleness of mankind! who have so many monitors and governors, that call upon them again and again, to excite them to diligence, but in vain! Wilt thou sleep, O sluggard — When the ants are so watchful, and labour not only in the day-time, but even by night, when the moon shines. Yet a little sleep, &c. — 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. So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth — Swiftly and unexpectedly; and thy wants as an armed man — Irresistibly.Joshua 10:24. The Septuagint introduces here a corresponding reference to the industry of the bee. How long wilt thou sleep? when the ants are watchful and labour, not only in the day time, but even by night, when the moon shineth.
when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? and be about thy lawful calling? doing the duties of religion, and the business of life; providing things honest in the sight of all men; things necessary for thyself and family, and wherewith to do good to others; exercising a conscience void of offence both to God and men. Time should not be slept away, to the neglect of the affairs of life, nor of the concerns of the immortal soul and a future state; men should not be slothful in things temporal or spiritual: whatever may be the proper time to awake and arise out of sleep in a morning, which seems to be according to a man's circumstances, health and business; it is always high time for the sinner to awake out of the sleep of sin, and arise from the dead; and for the drowsy saint to arise out of his lethargy and carnal security.How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 9-Vers. 9-11 contain a call to the sluggard to rouse himself from his lethargy, and the warning of the evil consequences if he remains heedless of the reproof. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? It is the same as if it were said, "What infatuation is this which makes you lie and sleep as if you had nothing else to do?" The double question stigmatizes the sluggard's utter indolence, and suggests the picture of his prolonging his stay in bed long after every one else is abroad and about his business. How long (Hebrew, ad-matha; Vulgate, usquequo); literally, till when? When; Hebrew, matha; Vulgate, quando. The came words are used in the same order in introducing a question in Nehemiah 2:6, "For how long will the journey be? and when wilt thou return?" Wilt thou... sleep. The Hebrew tish'kar is literally "wilt thou lie," but the verb easily passes to the secondary meaning of "to sleep." The delineation of the sluggard is again drawn in Proverbs 24:30-34 in almost identical language, but with some additions. 2 Kings 10:10, frequently in interrogative clauses), connects it closely enough. זאת, neut., refers to what follows. The ו before הנּצל is explanatory, as we say in familiar language: Be so good as tell me, or do me the favour to come with me; while no Frenchman would say, Faites-moi le (ce) plaisir et venez avec moi (Fl.).
(Note: For the right succession of the accents here (three serviles before the Pazer), vid., Torath Emeth, p. 30; Accentuationssystem, xii. 4. According to Gen-Naphtali, Mercha is to be given to the זאת.)
The clause כּי באת
(Note: The Zinnorith before the Mahpach in these words represents at the same time the Makkeph and rejects the Zinnorith; vid., Torath Emeth, p. 16, and my Psalmencomm. Bd. ii.((1860), p. 460, note 2.)
is not to be translated: in case thou art fallen into the hand of thy neighbour; for this is represented (Proverbs 6:1, Proverbs 6:2) as having already in fact happened. On two sides the surety is no longer sui juris: the creditor has him in his hand; for if the debtor does not pay, he holds the surety, and in this way many an honourable man has lost house and goods, Sirach 29:18, cf. 8:13; - and the debtor has him, the surety, in his hand; for the performance which is due, for which the suretyship avails, depends on his conscientiousness. The latter is here meant: thou hast made thy freedom and thy possessions dependent on the will of thy neighbour for whom thou art the surety. The clause introduced with כּי gives the reason for the call to set himself free (הנּצל from נצל, R. צל, של, to draw out or off); it is a parenthetical sentence. The meaning of התרפּס is certain. The verb רפס (רפשׂ, רפס) signifies to stamp on, calcare, conclucare; the Kams
(Note: el-Feyroozbdee's Kmus, a native Arabic Lexicon; vid., Lane's Arab. Lex. Bk. i. pt. 1, p. xvii.)
explains rafas by rakad balarjal. The Hithpa. might, it is true, mean to conduct oneself in a trampling manner, to tread roughly, as התנבּא, and the medial Niph. נבּא, to conduct oneself speaking (in an impassioned manner); but Psalm 68:31 and the analogy of התבּוסס favour the meaning to throw oneself in a stamping manner, i.e., violently, to the ground, to trample upon oneself - i.e., let oneself be trampled upon, to place oneself in the attitude of most earnest humble prayer. Thus the Graec. Venet. πατήθητι, Rashi ("humble thyself like to the threshold which is trampled and trode upon"), Aben-Ezra, Immanuel ("humble thyself under the soles of his feet"); so Cocceius, J. H. Michaelis, and others: conculcandum te praebe. וּרהב is more controverted. The Talmudic-Midrash explanation (b. Joma, 87a; Bathra, 173b, and elsewhere): take with thee in great numbers thy friends (רהב equals הרבּה), is discredited by this, that it has along with it the explanation of התרפס by (יד) פּס חתּר, solve palmam (manus), i.e., pay what thou canst. Also with the meaning to rule (Parchon, Immanuel), which רהב besides has not, nothing is to be done. The right meaning of רהב בּ is to rush upon one boisterously, Isaiah 3:5. רהב means in general to be violently excited (Arab. rahiba, to be afraid), and thus to meet one, here with the accusative: assail impetuously thy neighbour (viz., that he fulfil his engagement). Accordingly, with a choice of words more or less suitable, the lxx translates by παρόξυνε, Symm., Theodotion by παρόρμησον, the Graec. Venet. by ἐνίσχυσον, the Syr. (which the Targumist copies) by גרג (solicita), and Kimchi glosses by: lay an arrest upon him with pacifying words. The Talmud explains רעיך as plur.;
(Note: There is here no distinction between the Kethb and the Kerı̂. The Masora remarks, "This is the only passage in the Book of Proverbs where the word is written with Yod (י);" it thus recognises only the undisputed רעיך.)
but the plur., which was permissible in Proverbs 3:28, is here wholly inadmissible: it is thus the plena scriptio for רעך with the retaining of the third radical of the ground-form of the root-word (רעי equals רעה), or with י as mater lectionis, to distinguish the pausal-form from that which is without the pause; cf. Proverbs 24:34. lxx, Syr., Jerome, etc., rightly translate it in the sing. The immediateness lying in לך (cf. ὕπαγε, Matthew 5:24) is now expressed as a duty, Proverbs 6:4. One must not sleep and slumber (an expression quite like Psalm 132:4), not give himself quietness and rest, till the other has released him from his bail by the performance of that for which he is surety. One must set himself free as a gazelle or as a bird, being caught, seeks to disentangle itself by calling forth all its strength and art.
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