The Bread of Idleness

Proverbs 31:27 says, “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Some translations say “laziness.”

Laziness can be defined as “resting before you are tired.” There is a difference between being lazy and being busy. A woman who sits and watches TV while avoiding her housework is obviously lazy. But laziness can often be much more subtle.

Laziness begins with not caring enough to notice what has to be done. A woman can be busy in the kitchen baking, but if her furniture is dusty she cannot consider herself a good homemaker. She certainly is not watching over the affairs of her household.

Sometimes, even when a lazy woman thinks she is working hard, she is actually being counterproductive. It takes effort to learn a skill, even for something as simple as cleaning house. The lazy woman would rather just get it over with, and she often ends up “working harder but not smarter.”

Critics of Proverbs 31 point out that there are some things more important than work. This is a misrepresentation of the values held dearly by the Proverbs 31 woman. She knew the importance of spending quality time with her family, and she no doubt took the opportunity for some “me time.” Centuries later, Mary left her household duties to spend time with Jesus. I imagine her sister, Martha, thought she was being lazy, but it showed Mary’s healthy sense of priorities.

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