Proverbs 21:5

The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.
– Proverbs 21:5

The word for thoughts means device, or plans. The plans of the diligent, or determined, are in view. It is contrasted with hasty in the second line, which means hurried. The word for plenteousness means gain, or profit. The word for want means lack, or poverty. Proverbs commends diligence and observes diligence being generally rewarded with gain (Proverbs 10:4; 13:4; 22:29; 27:23-27). From the different proverbs about diligence, we see the diligent make wise plans and work hard to execute those plans and generally make a gain.

By contrast, poverty is the gain of sluggards (Proverbs 10:4). This proverb does not mention the sluggard, but rather the hasty. Proverbs condemns haste as folly (Proverbs 14:29). Haste here contrasted with the plans of diligence suggests a haste to be rich, or the hatching of schemes for shortcuts to wealth. Wisdom condemns these schemes as having an evil eye (Proverbs 28:22). This proverb then contributes to the catalog of ways to poverty. Poverty can be reached through stingy greed (Proverbs 11:24), by talk without action (Proverbs 14:23), by gain through oppression (Proverbs 22:16), and here by haste (Proverbs 21:5).

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Proverbs 20:21

An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.
– Proverbs 20:21

The word for inheritance means just that, and the word for hastily means in a hurry. Many infer some unscrupulous method of gain, and Proverbs does speak to that (Proverbs 13:11; 28:8). The emphasis in this proverb seems to be on the haste, “Easy come; easy go.” What is gained quickly can be lost quickly, and often is (Proverbs 28:20, 22). What is gained quickly is gained without also gaining wisdom. Wisdom does not come quickly. Though wisdom is accessible to the simple (Proverbs 9:4, 16), it’s not just lying about but rather is stored up for those who seek it (Proverbs 2:1-7). To acquire wisdom you must watch daily at wisdom’s gates (Proverbs 8:34), receive instruction and correction (Proverbs 3:11; 9:9; 10:8; 13:10; 17:10), and understand its value enough to be willing to pay a high price for it (Proverbs 17:16; 23:23). You also have to turn from your wisdom in order to acquire true wisdom (Proverbs 3:7; 26:12). To exhaust yourself to gain wealth is to be wise in your own eyes (Proverbs 23:4). So this inheritance is not blessed because it is gained by vanity in a hurry.

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Proverbs 19:2

Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with this feet sinneth.
– Proverbs 19:2

This proverb pairs with the previous one. The word for knowledge means perception, or skill. The word is used in Proverbs to speak of the knowledge of God, and therefore the knowledge of truth. The instruction of wisdom is designed to give “knowledge” (Proverbs 1:4). The “beginning of knowledge” is the “fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:7). By contrast, fools “hate knowledge” and the “fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:22, 29). To be without knowledge is to be without success, i.e., not good. His schemes and plans go astray, as expanded in the second phrase of the proverb. The word for sinneth means to miss the way, or go wrong. That he hasteth means that he hurries, or presses forward. The proverb expands on the fool of the previous proverb. He hurries to get rich or work his scheme, but he does so without knowledge and contrary to it (Proverbs 1:16; 28:22). Ultimately, he fails (Proverbs 1:16-19).

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