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On the other hand the industry of the virtuous woman (31:27) is blessed not only by wealth, but also by the opportunity to care for the poor (31:20), to see her husband become a leader (31:23), and most of all to receive the praise of the Lord (31:30). Sloth is not just one of many sins, but an attitude which harms one’s entire duty to God and to neighbor.

Jesus’ parable of the talents repeats the theme of foolish fear being the root of sloth (Matt 25:25, 26) and stresses the proper fear of the Lord as the source of diligence, making clear that it is at the return of Christ in judgment (cf. Proverbs’ day of harvest) when diligent use of God’s gifts will be rewarded and sloth punished. Paul stresses the necessity of serving God up to the proportion of the gifts He has given us (Rom 12:3-8) so that we are not slothful but aglow with the Spirit (12:11): sloth is against the Spirit! Likewise Hebrews emphasizes not going back after partaking of the Spirit, but going on to the end; not sluggish, but inheriting the promises (Heb 6:12).


H. Preisker, TWNT, IV (1942), “Nōthros,” 1126; F. Hauck, TWNT, V (1954), “Okneros,” 166, 167.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)