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Proverbs 21:25-26

Context

21:25 What the sluggard desires 1  will kill him, 2 

for his hands 3  refuse to work.

21:26 All day long he craves greedily, 4 

but the righteous gives and does not hold back. 5 

1 tn Heb “the desire of the sluggard” (so ASV, NASB). This phrase features a subject genitive: “what the sluggard desires.” The term תַּאֲוַת (taavat, “desire; craving”) is a metonymy of cause. The craving itself will not destroy the sluggard, but what will destroy him is what the craving causes him to do or not to do. The lazy come to ruin because they desire the easy way out.

2 tn The verb תְּמִיתֶנּוּ (tÿmitennu) is the Hiphil imperfect with a suffix: “will kill him.” It is probably used hyperbolically here for coming to ruin (cf. NLT), although it could include physical death.

3 sn “Hands” is figurative for the whole person; but “hands” is retained in the translation because it is often the symbol to express one’s ability of action.

4 tn The construction uses the Hitpael perfect tense הִתְאַוָּה (hitavvah) followed by the cognate accusative תַאֲוָה (taavah). It describes one who is consumed with craving for more. The verse has been placed with the preceding because of the literary connection with “desire/craving.”

5 sn The additional clause, “and does not hold back,” emphasizes that when the righteous gives he gives freely, without fearing that his generosity will bring him to poverty. This is the contrast with the one who is self-indulgent and craves for more.



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