DAILY DEVOTIONAL TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2021

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9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

Difference Between the Slack and the Diligent

Proverbs 12:27 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
27 A slothful man does not roast[1] his prey,
    but the diligent man is precious wealth.

A slothful man does not roast his prey: Here slothful (Heb. remiyyah) man means to be lazy or sluggish. This man is lazy and is very reluctant to exert himself, so much so, he will spend more effort avoiding work than had he just worked. The Hebrew word (charak) translated roast here is said to be of uncertain meaning. However, the lexicons define it as cooking with dry heat over an open fire. Another protentional meaning is to catch or capture, that is, as a hunter, to take possession of game or prey. Thus, it would seem to mean that the man is too lazy to put out traps or track down game for food and kill it; therefore, he cannot roast his prey. David Bland offers his readers the following interpretation based on Jewish tradition and similar words in Arabic when he writes, “The indolent [lazy] person cannot finish what he started. He goes all out to hunt and kill the game, but he does not have the strength to cook it.”[2] How do we interpret a lazy, slothful, sluggish person as ‘going all out to hunt and kill his prey,’ yet at the same time, he is too lazy to cook it. Hardly.

but the diligent man is precious wealth: What we have here is a contrast between the lazy man and one who is diligent, hardworking, productive. There are far more benefits to being diligent, as opposed to being lazy. The diligent (Heb. charuts) man 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. Max Anders interprets this to mean that “the diligent man, on the other hand, values his possessions enough to care for them, so he takes full advantage of what he has gained.”[3] Rather, it seems that it is diligence or being diligent itself that is a precious wealth or a treasure. The interpretive translation GNT “if you work hard, you will get a fortune,” focusing on the results, and the CEV “a hard worker is a valuable treasure” focusing on what led to the results.

The slothful, lazy, sluggish man is unwilling to work (to put out traps or track down game for food and kill it), which is his character, refusing to make any kind of effort; therefore, he cannot roast his prey. On the other hand, the diligent man and his diligence are in and of themselves a precious treasure because he will always be well-fed, and he and his family will always have the necessities of life because this is a hard-working man, who is an industrious person. In the most difficult times, he will not let himself give into a pessimistic way of thinking. His fortitude of making an effort is what his family will treasure.

[1] Or catch
[2] Dave Bland, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes & Song of Songs, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 2002), 130.
[3] Anders, Max. Holman Old Testament Commentary – Proverbs: 13 (p. 290). B&H Publishing Group.

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