Proverbs 26:13-16 – The Sluggard and His Excuses

stay in bedIn our devotion today, Solomon returns to a familiar character in the proverbs to his son—the Slothful, Lazy Sluggard [or as some use to call him, “Good for Nothing”].  We will consider Proverbs 26:13-16.

Proverbs 26:13“The slothful [lazy; sluggard] man saith, There is a lion [lit. fierce lion; roaring lion] in the way [road; path]; a lion [lit. young lion; violent lion] is in the streets.”

Have you ever known an individual who put more effort in getting out of work than the job itself would have required?   Maybe you work with someone who can rattle off a host of reasons for why an idea you have suggested will not work.

The slothful man in Proverbs 26:3 may be a son or a servant bidden to go work in the fields.  The sluggard’s response was somewhat preposterous—suggesting the possibility of a roaring lion on the path or he might encounter a young, vicious lion roaming the streets of the village.  Although possible, both suggestions were improbable given the nature of the “king of the beast” is to shy away from man, villages and city streets.  Like too many in our day, the character of this servant was to excuse himself from work and duty.

Proverbs 26:14 – “As the door [gate] turneth [returns; turns back] upon his hinges, so doth the slothful [lazy; sluggard] upon his bed.”

Solomon suggests an analogy of an old door that swings open and closes on its sluggardshinges as a portrait a sluggard rolling back and forth in his bed.  One can picture the noise of a bustling village awakening the sluggard; however, unlike his neighbors, he pulls the sheets over his head and is too lazy to get out of bed.

Proverbs 26:15 – “The slothful [lazy; sluggard] hideth [conceal; bury his hand in a feeding dish] his hand in his bosom [figurative of a bowl of food]; it grieveth [weary; offends; disgust] him to bring it again [return; go back] to his mouth.”

GarfieldOur third proverb of a sluggard is graphic indeed—he is too lazy to take his hands out of his pockets [in this instance, the fold of his robe] and lend a helping hand.  Perhaps he is pretending an injury by concealing his hand.  This man is so worthless that, he not only fails to lend a hand in preparing a meal, he moans and groans pretending to be so weary he lacks motivation to feed himself.

Proverbs 26:16 – “The sluggard [lazy; sluggard] is wiser [intelligent; discerning; skilled] in his own conceit [lit. eye; opinion; i.e. likes to blow his own trumpet]   than seven men that can render [return; bring back] a reason [judgment; advice].

I have met this man on many occasions—one who considers himself too smart to be taught by another.  Not only is he too lazy to seek wisdom and direction from someone wiser and more experienced than he; he is aloof and values his opinion over seven counselors whose counsel would be in agreement and set against his own.  There is little hope for such a fool!

Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith