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For the addict and the glutton will become impoverished,
and drowsiness wears rags. Bible

“the addict and the glutton will become impoverished.” The undisciplined person will become poor (see commentary on Prov. 21:17).

“drowsiness wears rags.” This seems to be a difficult reading in the Hebrew only because of the figure of speech personification that is involved. The noun “rags” is the object of the verb, “to wear” or to “put on.” In this verse, the addict and the glutton are not just called “drowsy,” or “sleepy,” instead they are included in the personification of “Mr. Drowsy” who is a drunk and glutton and as a result “wears rags.” The personification adds emphasis and allows the line to be short and punchy.

Some versions try to make the line easier for the English reader by including an ellipsis, thus, the NASB has, “drowsiness will clothe a man with rags,” but there is no need for the ellipsis, the meaning and seriousness of the verse should be clear to the thoughtful reader.

A person does not have to be an all-out drunk or addict to spend too much money on drugs and alcohol and get into financial trouble and “wear rags.” Alcohol and drugs (even if they are legal) are expensive and the wise Christian keeps his spending in check (Prov. 10:15; 21:17). Too many people waste or destroy their lives as addicts or drunks. While many people can handle social drinking, many others cannot. It is foolish to allow alcohol or drugs to ruin one’s life on earth and everlasting life too. Anyone who is being overcome and defeated by alcohol or drugs should seek help and make every possible effort to defeat those evils.


Commentary for: Proverbs 23:21