Proverbs 6:11

ESV and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
NIV and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.
NASB Then your poverty will come in like a drifter, And your need like an armed man.
CSB and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit.
NLT then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
KJV So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

What does Proverbs 6:11 mean?

In this verse Solomon predicts that poverty will overtake a lazy person as quickly as a robber or armed man assaults his victim. The point here is about failing to prepare: those who seek to get by with the bare minimum of effort leave themselves no room for when times are hard. A hardworking person can do their best to be ready for a crisis, but a lazy person can't go back in time to make up for lost opportunity (Proverbs 6:8). For the lazy, unprepared person, poverty and crisis can overtake them the same way an armed man robs an unsuspecting victim.

It's important to note that Scripture does not condemn those who would work, if they could, but are legitimately prevented. Nor does the Bible say it's a sin to be poor—there are many people who work hard yet still struggle to make ends meet. However, it is a sin to be lazy and refuse to work without a legitimate reason. The Bible champions the cause of those who are poor through no fault of their own. Psalm 41:1 calls "blessed" the person who considers the poor. Proverbs 28:27 promises, "Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse." James 2 sanctions the act of giving to the poor as illustrating genuine faith.

When famine and persecution caused many believers in Judea to become poor, the apostle Paul organized a relief fund for them, urging the churches along the route of his missionary travel to donate generously. However, if a person is poor because he is too lazy to work, he does not deserve charity (2 Thessalonians 3:10–12).
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