He becometh poor that dealeth [with] a slack hand
That is either remiss in giving to the necessities of others, according to his abilities, and as cases require; or that is negligent and slothful in his business. Or, "that worketh with a deceitful hand"; or, "with a hand of deceit" F21, as it may be rendered; who pretends to work, but does not; makes a show as if he did, but acts deceitfully; or who uses many tricking and deceitful ways and methods to live, as usually slothful persons do. Aben Ezra observes, it may be rendered and interpreted, "he becomes poor that makes a deceitful balance"; thinking to enrich himself by such fraudulent practices: or, as others, "a deceitful balance maketh poor" F23; such seldom or ever thrive, or it does not long prosper with them who use such unlawful methods;
but the hand of the diligent maketh rich;
that is, with the blessing of God along with it, as in ( Proverbs 10:22 ) ; such who are "sharp" F24 and acute, as the word signifies; who are careful and industrious, mind their business, and do the honest part; these, with a divine blessing, frequently grow rich: or rather who are like those that dig in the earth for gold, who search for it with great eagerness and diligence; for from this root is a word often used for gold, ( Proverbs 3:14 ) ( 8:19 ) ( 16:16 ) . All this is true in a spiritual sense; such who are slothful in attendance on the means of grace, the word and ordinances, are slack and negligent in duty, bring a spiritual poverty upon them; and like the Laodicean church, who, through her lukewarmness and carnal security, became poor and wretched, blind and naked: on the other hand, such who are diligent in the use of means are frequent at the throne of grace, forsake not the assembly of the saints, constantly wait at Wisdom's gates; these grow rich in grace and in all good works.
F21 (hymr Pk) "vola doli", Montanus; "fraudulenta manu", Tigurine version, Cocceius, Schultens; so Junius & Tremellius, Michaelis.
F23 So Mercerus.
F24 (Myuwrx) "acuti", Bochart. Hierizoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 55. col. 668.