Proverbs 24:34

So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.
– Proverbs 24:34

Verse 34 concludes the sayings with the ultimate conclusion of the wise observation. The “slothful” one who is “void of understanding” and always needing “a little sleep” will come to poverty in the end. The image is of being surprised and waylaid by a robber. From the sluggard’s perspective, he will one day wake up and wonder what has happened. Sloth cannot obtain and cannot keep what has been obtained (Proverbs 10:4; 13:4).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 24:33

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
– Proverbs 24:33

Verses 33 and 34 give the conclusions from observing the “field of the slothful.” The sluggard is anchored to his bed (Proverbs 26:14). Sometimes it is an indulgence in sleep and sometimes it is a putting things off (Proverbs 12:27; 20:4). The wise man asks, “How long” (Proverbs 6:9)? The sluggard is also “void of understanding” and cannot be reasoned with (Proverbs 26:16).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 24:31

And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
– Proverbs 24:31

This verse describes the property of “the slothful … man void of understanding.” The field is overgrown and the boundary wall is broken down. Laziness and negligence lead to greater difficulty (Proverbs 15:19), greater expense (Proverbs 18:9), and greater frustration (Proverbs 10:26). The sluggard does not have eyes in his head to understand the world he lives in. All you have inherited, or all you have worked for, will be ruined by simply doing nothing (Ecclesiastes 10:18).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 24:30

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
– Proverbs 24:30

Verses 30-34 conclude this appendix of more sayings of the wise with a life lesson from the sluggard. The passage parallels Proverbs 6:6-11 in ways. The sayings of the wise have already addressed working wisely (Proverbs 24:27). Proverbs consistently points to wisdom as the necessary foundation of any good life. In other words, wisdom is first (Proverbs 4:7). Get wisdom, build your house, and then it will be filled with good things (Proverbs 3:5-10; 24:4). Short-term wealth may be gained, but without wisdom, it will not be kept (Proverbs 6:11; 20:21; 28:22).

The owner of the field is identified as “slothful” and “void of understanding.” These characteristics are apparent from the condition of the property under his management. This section is immensely practical and shows how wisdom gains discernment to perceive character and draw lessons from life experiences.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 22:13

The slothful man saith, There is lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.
– Proverbs 22:13

Readers of Proverbs are well acquainted with the sluggard by this point. Despite all counsel and evidence to the contrary, the sluggard thinks he knows best (Proverbs 26:16). Here he justifies not working by the preposterous excuse of a lion in the street. The sluggard seeks the easier, more comfortable, route (Proverbs 20:4). The word for slothful means lazy. He, of course, intends to get to work, but it is always after (Proverbs 6:9-10). He needs just a little more sleep and to give the lions time to clear out.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 21:25

The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labor.
– Proverbs 21:25

The word for desire means longing, or wish. In the negative sense, the word refers to greed and lust. The desire is explained in the next verse as daily, greedy coveting. The word for killeth can mean to die as a penalty, or what we might call execution. The slothful man’s desire destroys him. The first phrase is explained by his refusal to work. The slothful have an animal laziness that marks them (Proverbs 6:9-11; 12:27; 19:24). When laziness is couple with strong appetites, then unrighteousness is sure to follow. The slothful man will go to various evil means to obtain what he desires and bring ruin upon his own head.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 20:13

Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.
– Proverbs 20:13

Loving sleep is a feature of the sluggard, who is hinged to his bed (Proverbs 26:14). Oversleeping is an image of laziness and of missed opportunity. It brings shame and results in poverty (Proverbs 10:5; 19:15). The imperative, open thine eyes, performs double duty in this proverb. It is contrasted with loving sleep and so images alert action (Proverbs 6:9-11). Open eyes, or seeing eyes, also speaks of discernment and understanding. The second duty is telling the sluggard to wise up. The warnings are an opportunity for the sluggard to hear and receive wisdom and forsake the folly of laziness for the wisdom of diligence and hard work (Proverbs 24:30-34).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 19:24

A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.
– Proverbs 19:24

This proverb uses hyperbole to paint the image of the sluggard as being too lazy to even bring food to his mouth with his hand. The word for bosom means a dish and is so used in 2 Kings 21:13. The word for hideth means to conceal, or bury. The picture is of a lazy man with his hand buried in a dish and too lazy to expend the effort to lift the food to his mouth. The proverb highlights how sluggards want something for nothing and how even what they start, they will not finish (Proverbs 12:27). Consequently, the sluggard goes unsatisfied (Proverbs 6:9-11; 10:4; 13:4; 20:4).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 19:15

Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.
– Proverbs 19:15

The word for deep sleep refers to a trance-like state of unconsciousness. It describes the state of Adam when God took his rib (Genesis 2:21), and Abram when God sealed his covenant with him (Genesis 15:12). Sleep is the continually indulged pleasure of the sluggard (Proverbs 6:9-10; 20:13). The sluggard sleeps and misses opportunities and is unaware of the ruin coming on him. He eventually awakes to loss and hunger (Proverbs 24:30-34).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Next Page »