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The One Working Hard Succeeds
Proverbs 12:24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
24 The hand of the diligent will rule,
while the slothful will be put to forced labor.
The hand of the diligent will rule: Hand (Heb. yad) is used figuratively and symbolically throughout the Scriptures. The hand here is used to represent the person himself, as a diligent (Heb. charuts) hand is a hardworking person. It is one who has or shows care and conscientiousness, concern in one’s work or duties. The word Hebrew word (mashal) rendered rule means to exercise authority and power over others.
while the slothful will be put to forced labor: Here slothful (Heb. remiyyah) means to be lazy or sluggish. The sense of the Hebrew remiyyah or the Greek nothros is slow and apathetic. Paul (Gr. nothros) warned the Jewish Christians “not to become lazy. (Heb. 6:12.) Forced labor renders a word (mas or mis) that means a group of people, here lazy people, who are forced to work for a government or a wealthy person or business.
The hand of the diligent is a hard-working, industrious person. A diligent person is characterized by care and perseverance in carrying out what needs to be done. This person is persistently industrious in carrying out his tasks. One who cares about his work as though it literally is reflective of him as a person will eventually be in a position of authority with much power, be it by his hand or by the hand of another who sees the wisdom of elevating him.
One who is lazy will find himself and his family in poverty, not having the bare necessities of life. However, with hard work, one can become rich in the bare necessities of life, which are food, clothing, shelter, and health. Diligence leads to wealth just as laziness leads to poverty. One of the main themes in Proverbs is the contrast between the hard worker and the lazy person. (10:4; 12:24; 13:4; 14:23; 15:19; 16:26; 18:9; 20:13; 21:17, 25-26; 28:19) Diligence as the guaranteed way (barring any unforeseen or unexpected occurrences) to gain prosperity and laziness as the quickest way to poverty. The lazy person is the foremost fool who ends up destitute. If the Jewish person became so poor, he could not survive he could sell himself into servitude until he regained enough finances to leave serving another. A lazy person, in time, will have exhausted any means of financially supporting himself, and will be in forced labor of his own volition.