Proverbs 24:31
Parallel Verses
New International Version
thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.

King James Bible
And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

Darby Bible Translation
and lo, it was all grown over with thistles, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and its stone wall was broken down.

World English Bible
Behold, it was all grown over with thorns. Its surface was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.

Young's Literal Translation
And lo, it hath gone up -- all of it -- thorns! Covered its face have nettles, And its stone wall hath been broken down.

Proverbs 24:31 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

I went by the field of the slothful - This is a most instructive parable; is exemplified every day in a variety of forms; and is powerfully descriptive of the state of many a blackslider and trifler in religion. Calmet has an excellent note on this passage. I shall give the substance of it.

Solomon often recommends diligence and economy to his disciples. In those primitive times when agriculture was honorable, no man was respected who neglected to cultivate his grounds, who sunk into poverty, contracted debt, or engaged in ruinous securities. With great propriety, a principal part of wisdom was considered by them as consisting in the knowledge of properly conducting one's domestic affairs, and duly cultivating the inheritances derived from their ancestors. Moses had made a law to prevent the rich from utterly depressing the poor, by obliging them to return their farms to them on the Sabbatic year, and to remit all debts at the year of jubilee.

In the civil state of the Hebrews, we never see those enormous and suddenly raised fortunes, which never subsist but in the ruin of numberless families. One of the principal solicitudes of this legislator was to produce, as far as possible in a monarchical state, an equality of property and condition. The ancient Romans held agriculture in the same estimation, and highly respected those who had applied themselves to it with success. When they spoke in praise of a man, they considered themselves as giving no mean commendation when they called him a good husbandman, an excellent laborer. From such men they formed their most valiant generals and intrepid soldiers. Cato De Re Rustica, cap. 1. The property which is acquired by these means is most innocent, most solid, and exposes its possessor less to envy than property acquired in any other way. See Cicero De Officiis, lib. 1. In Britain the merchant is all in all; and yet the waves of the sea are not more uncertain, nor more tumultuous, than the property acquired in this way, or than the agitated life of the speculative merchant.

But let us look more particularly into this very instructive parable: -

I. The owner is described.

1. He was איש עצל ish atsel, the loitering, sluggish, slothful man.

2. He was אדם חסר לב adam chasar leb, a man that wanted heart; destitute of courage, alacrity, and decision of mind.

II. His circumstances. This man had,

1. שדה sadeh, a sowed field, arable ground. This was the character of his estate. It was meadow and corn land.

2. He had כרם kerem, a vineyard, what we would call perhaps garden and orchard, where he might employ his skill to great advantage in raising various kinds of fruits and culinary herbs for the support of his family.

III. The state of this heritage:

1. "It was grown over with thorns." It had been long neglected, so that even brambles were permitted to grow in the fields:

2. "Nettles had covered the face thereof." It was not weeded, and all kinds of rubbish had been suffered to multiply:

3. "The stone wall was broken down." This belonged to the vineyard: it was neither pruned nor digged; and the fence, for want of timely repairs, had all fallen into ruins, Proverbs 24:31.

continued...

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

it

Genesis 3:17-19 And to Adam he said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying...

Job 31:40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.

Jeremiah 4:3 For thus said the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

Matthew 13:7,22 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them...

Hebrews 6:8 But that which bears thorns and briers is rejected, and is near to cursing; whose end is to be burned.

and the

Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the LORD tends to life: and he that has it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

Proverbs 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

Proverbs 22:13 The slothful man said, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

Ecclesiastes 10:18 By much slothfulness the building decays; and through idleness of the hands the house drops through.

Library
The Sluggard's Garden
'I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; 31. And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.'--PROVERBS xxiv. 30, 31. This picture of the sluggard's garden seems to be intended as a parable. No doubt its direct simple meaning is full of homely wisdom in full accord with the whole tone of the Book of Proverbs; but we shall scarcely do justice to this saying of the wise
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Epistle xxxvi. To Maximus, Bishop of Salona .
To Maximus, Bishop of Salona [113] . Gregory to Maximus, &c. When our common son the presbyter Veteranus came to the Roman city, he found me so weak from the pains of gout as to be quite unable to answer thy Fraternity's letters myself. And indeed with regard to the nation of the Sclaves [114] , from which you are in great danger, I am exceedingly afflicted and disturbed. I am afflicted as suffering already in your suffering: I am disturbed, because they have already begun to enter Italy by way
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

A Treatise on Good Works
I. We ought first to know that there are no good works except those which God has commanded, even as there is no sin except that which God has forbidden. Therefore whoever wishes to know and to do good works needs nothing else than to know God's commandments. Thus Christ says, Matthew xix, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." And when the young man asks Him, Matthew xix, what he shall do that he may inherit eternal life, Christ sets before him naught else but the Ten Commandments.
Dr. Martin Luther—A Treatise on Good Works

Proverbs
Many specimens of the so-called Wisdom Literature are preserved for us in the book of Proverbs, for its contents are by no means confined to what we call proverbs. The first nine chapters constitute a continuous discourse, almost in the manner of a sermon; and of the last two chapters, ch. xxx. is largely made up of enigmas, and xxxi. is in part a description of the good housewife. All, however, are rightly subsumed under the idea of wisdom, which to the Hebrew had always moral relations. The Hebrew
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

Cross References
Genesis 3:18
It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

Job 30:7
They brayed among the bushes and huddled in the undergrowth.

Proverbs 24:32
I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw:

Isaiah 5:5
Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.

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