So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
– Proverbs 6:11
This section on the folly of sloth ends with the consequences of sloth and sleep. Solomon uses two figures to illustrate. There is variance as to the precise meaning of the two terms, but the lesson is obvious enough. The highwayman and the armed man come on suddenly and rob completely. Indulging sloth and ease causes one to awake one day to loss and waste. Solomon elsewhere warns that neglect of work leads to ruin (Ecclesiastes 10:18). From one perspective, the house doesn’t drop through at once but slowly over time. But the sluggard sleeps and loses time so that the roof cave-in seems sudden.