James Nisbet Commentary - Proverbs 12:27 - 12:27

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James Nisbet Commentary - Proverbs 12:27 - 12:27

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‘The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting.’


I. The lazy man goes hunting.—Some are full of the most bustling activity. An old mathematical professor was wont to define work as ‘steadily overcoming resistance occurring along a fixed line.’ An intermittent, changing activity manifestly fails to answer the requirements of this definition.

II. The slothful man catches game when he does go hunting.—Not only does he act, but he does things. But his slothfulness i made manifest in this: though he be effective, he is not efficient for

III. He is too lazy to cook what he does catch.—The excitement of the chase is over, he is weary with dragging home his game, so the gun goes into one corner and the game into another, while the man proceeds—with a celerity which would be praiseworthy were it rightly applied—to forget all about it. He waits for the next excitement. His activity has procured no benefits to himself or any one else. There be many people who lose their labour through a disinclination to put the finishing touch to their work. Under excitement they secure certain results, which, if gathered up and made permanent, would be of immense value. But then they get weary, indifferent. They let things slide—to use an expression of the populace. All they have done gradually undoes itself. For lack of but one stone—the keystone—the arch falls. This is the application. When you commence a thing, cease not until you have gathered up the results of your labour in some form of practical and present benefit to your fellow-men.


‘Sloth is one of the worst evils of life. Those two lines of Watts’s, “Satan finds some mischief still For idle hands to do,” are applicable to those of older growth.

‘Sloth, by bringing on disease, shortens life. Like rust, it consumes faster than wear or tear. What a hard task it would be thought if the Church insisted upon its members giving one-tenth of their time to work!’

‘The sluggard desires to be very religious, looks for reward, hopes for heaven, but only desires. Is this rational? Apply the same to your worldly affairs in the race for wealth, chase for honours, etc. You laugh with scorn.’

‘Alas! that the religion of so many should consist of desires. They would fain see God’s kingdom extended, they would like to hear of children being converted, brought into the Church; but never do they put out their hand to help.’