The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.
– Proverbs 20:4
Plowing in the cold is uncomfortable and hard work, but the time to plow is in the season, which is often rainy and cold. The sluggard misses the opportunity and later has nothing. The word for sluggard means sluggish, or lazy. Sluggishness suggests being slow to get to things and so the question, “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard?” (Proverbs 6:9). The cold provides sufficient reason for the sluggard not to plow. The sluggard is professional at piling up excuses (Proverbs 26:13), and seven wise men are not sufficient to dissuade him from his folly (Proverbs 26:16). The word for beg means inquire, or seek. The image suggests the sluggard seeks for the harvest of his field, but whatever effort he put in was not enough and not at the right time. The tragedy of the sluggard is realized in the sad end of his life tale. He comes to poverty, want, and nothing (Proverbs 6:10-11; 10:4; 19:15; 24:34).