2. The promotion of the diligent and the subjection of the slothful
I. THE DILIGENT RISE IN LIFE . This is too obvious to need insisting upon. But often, when wonder is expressed at the rise of ordinary men, this solution may be recurred to. As a rule, it is not the greatest wits who fill the high places of the realm, but the greatest workers.
II. HE ONLY IS FIT TO GOVERN WHO HAS BEEN WILLING TO SERVE . For in truth the spirit of the true servant and that of the true ruler are alike in principle; it is respect for law, for right beyond and above self-will and self-interest, which animates both. If this has been proved in the trials of an inferior situation, its genuineness has been discovered, and it becomes a title to promotion. Abraham's servant ( Genesis 24:2 , Genesis 24:10 ) and Joseph ( Genesis 39:4 , Genesis 39:22 ) are illustrations from patriarchal life.
III. THE SLOTHFUL DECAY . This too is obvious. But perhaps we often fail to fix the stigma of sloth in the right place. Many busy, energetic, fussy people miscarry because their activity is ill-placed. To neglect one's proper vocation anal work is idleness, no matter what may be the uncalled for activity in other directions.—J.
(See homily on Proverbs 27:23 .)—C.
speak of the means of getting on in life.
The hand of the diligent shall bear rule ( Proverbs 10:4 ). For "diligent" the Vulgate has fortium, "the strong and active;" Septuagint, ἐκλεκτῶν , "choice." Such men are sure to rise to the surface, and get the upper hand in a community, as the LXX . adds, "with facility," by a natural law. But the slothful (literally, slothfulness ) shall be under tribute; or, reduced to compulsory service, like the Gibeonites in Joshua's time, and the Canaanites under Solomon ( Joshua 9:21 , Joshua 9:23 ; 1 Kings 9:21 ). So Proverbs 11:29 , "The fool shall be slave to the wise;" and an Israelite reduced to poverty might be made a servant (Le 25:39, 40). The LXX ; taking the word in another sense, translates, "The crafty shall be for plunder;" i.e. they who think to succeed by fraud and trickery shall become the prey of those who are stronger than themselves.