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Proverbs 24:30-34

Context

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

by the vineyard of one who lacks wisdom. 1 

24:31 I saw 2  that thorns had grown up all over it,

the ground 3  was covered with weeds,

and its stone wall was broken down.

24:32 When I saw this, I gave careful consideration to it; 4 

I received instruction from what I saw: 5 

24:33 “A little sleep, a little slumber,

a little folding of the hands to relax,

24:34 and your poverty will come like a bandit,

and your need like an armed robber.” 6 

1 tn Heb “lacks heart”; KJV “understanding”; NAB, NASB, NLT “sense.”

2 tn The Hebrew term וְהִנֵּה (vÿhinneh, traditionally “and, lo” [KJV, ASV]) is a deictic particle that calls attention to what comes next. “And look” is too abrupt here; “I saw” calls attention to the field that was noticed.

3 tn Heb “its face” (so KJV, ASV).

4 sn Heb “I set my heart.” The “heart” represents the mind and the will combined; to “set” the mind and will means to give careful consideration to what was observed.

5 tn Heb “I looked, I received instruction.” There are four verbs in the two parts of this verse: “I saw…I set…I saw…I received.” It is clear that the first two verbs in each half verse are the foundation for the next two. At the beginning of the verse the form is the preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive; it can be subordinated as a temporal clause to the next verb, probably to be identified as a preterite with the vav – “when I saw, I put.” The next two verbs are both perfect tenses; their construction would parallel the first half of the verse, even though there are no conjunctions here – “[when] I saw, I received.”

sn The teacher makes several observations of the state of the sluggard that reveal that his continued laziness will result in poverty. The reminiscence used here may be a literary device to draw a fictional but characteristically true picture of the lazy person.

6 tn Heb “a man of shield.” This could refer to an armed warrior (so NRSV) but in this context, in collocation with the other word for “robber” in the previous line, it must refer to an armed criminal.



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