What does Proverbs 13:4 mean?
ESV: The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
NIV: A sluggard's appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
NASB: The soul of the lazy one craves and gets nothing, But the soul of the diligent is made prosperous.
CSB: The slacker craves, yet has nothing, but the diligent is fully satisfied.
NLT: Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.
KJV: The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
NKJV: The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.
Verse Commentary:
This verse depicts something common enough to be both stereotype and sad truth. An idle person often daydreams about what they want, or what they wish to accomplish. Yet they never attain those goals because they are too lazy to work for them.

On the other hand, a hardworking person is much more likely to achieve their goals, because they work hard to get them. Proverbs 20:4 offers a companion statement about the lazy person. It observes: "The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing." Every farmer knows he must work his land, often from dusk to dawn, to enjoy a good harvest. Laziness may be easy, but it produces nothing except destitution. Even in the garden of Eden before sin entered the human race, God gave Adam the responsibility to work. Genesis 2:15 tells us, "The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." Work is both therapeutic and rewarding.

Other statements in the book of Proverbs echo this contrast between hard work and idleness (Proverbs 6:6; 10:4; 12:11).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 13:4–11 observes key differences between the rich and poor, the testimony of the righteous and the dismal end of the wicked, the insolence of the wicked and the willingness of the wise to accept advice. This continues the pattern of contrast and comparison used in this section of the book.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter of Proverbs continues Solomon's wise sayings. He counsels his readers to be sensible and hardworking, as well as honest. This allows a person to be content with what they have, to enjoy life, and to bless their descendants. Laziness leads to trouble and ruin, as does a lack of discipline.
Chapter Context:
Starting in chapter 10, the book of Proverbs records a long series of wise sayings from Solomon. These continue for several chapters. Through chapter 15, a major focus is on issues such as godly living, mostly given in contrast with examples of ungodliness. This chapter emphasizes themes such as work ethic, honesty, and discipline.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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