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Proverbs 24b – Laziness Revisited

We’ve seen a lot of laziness in Proverbs.  That is to say, Proverbs has a lot of verses about the benefits of hard work and the dangers of slothfulness.  There’s an interesting parallel about laziness found in the fourth “Bonus Saying” in Proverbs 24:30-34 (all verses in ESV):

            24:30 I passed by the field of a sluggard,

                        by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,

            31 and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;

                        the ground was covered with nettles,

                        and its stone wall was broken down.

            32 Then I saw and considered it;

                        I looked and received instruction.

            This passage gives a little story (a “vignette”) about the narrator passing by a lazy man’s field and noticing how the property appears in disrepair.  He stops and considers what he’s seeing (vs 32a) and is said to “receive instruction” (32b).  Then, we hear verses 33-34:

            33 A little sleep, a little slumber,

                        a little folding of the hands to rest,

            34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,

                        and want like an armed man.

            Does this sound familiar?  If you remember way back to Proverbs 6, we saw those exact same words in the Prologue section of Proverbs:

            6:10 A little sleep, a little slumber,

                        a little folding of the hands to rest,

            11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,

                        and want like an armed man.

            It appears that Solomon (assuming he’s the narrator in both chapter 24 and chapter 6) stops and considers this lazy man’s property, thinks about it, and then applies the proverb in chapter 6 to this situation.

            To put it another way, Solomon is giving an illustration of what 6:10-11 looks like with the vignette in 24:30-34.  It’s an interesting method of Scripture reusing Scripture, even within the same book.                   Next time you see your neighbor’s weeds growing a little too high (or your own weeds, for that matter!), think of this proverb.

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