Proverbs 10:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 10:4, NIV: Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.

Proverbs 10:4, ESV: A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Proverbs 10:4, KJV: He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

Proverbs 10:4, NASB: Poor is one who works with a lazy hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Proverbs 10:4, NLT: Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.

Proverbs 10:4, CSB: Idle hands make one poor, but diligent hands bring riches.

What does Proverbs 10:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The contrast here is between laziness and persistence. A lazy person brings poverty on himself, whereas a hardworking person has a much better likelihood of being successful.

The Bible consistently recommends diligent work and warns against laziness. Even in the garden of Eden where conditions were perfect for our first parents, God gave Adam the responsibility to work. Genesis 2:15 tells us, "The LORD God took the man [Adam] and put him in the garden of Eden to work and keep it." In his first letter to the Thessalonians Paul condemns laziness. He writes: "We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all" (1 Thessalonians 5:12–14). In 2 Thessalonians 3:7–8 he reminds the believers that he and his coworkers were not lazy when they were at Thessalonica. He recalls how they worked night and day so they wouldn't be a burden to any of the believers.

In fact, Scripture's perspective on laziness is stern: "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).