Archive for April 23rd, 2019

Proverbs 26:13-16

In Proverbs 26:13-16 Solomon begins a series of statements around sluggards. In scripture, the word for sluggard is often translated as lazy too. The lazy man will create any excuse to avoid work. A lion in the road was a virtual impossibility in Biblical times. The lazy man shows creative talent (imagining not only a lion, but a fierce lion) and a form of work, but it is dedicated to the effort of avoiding work. “The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!” Often in life, it takes more effort to get out of doing what is needed than to simply get after it and get it done.

Solomon moves from creative storytelling to escape work, to the reality that a sluggard doesn’t get up and get to work. The only way a door can turn is on its hinges. The only turning the lazy man does is on his bed. Ross wrote “The humor in this verse is based on the analogy with a door—it moves but goes nowhere. Likewise the sluggard is hinged to his bed.” “As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed.” In order to live life, we have to get up and move. Lying in bed is not a way to accomplish things. The sluggard may twist and turn, but he finds a way to stay put so he doesn’t have to lift a finger.

But Solomon goes further in explaining the fact that a real sluggard won’t even do the things needed to take care of himself. Even simple things like eating and taking care of his house are too much for a sluggard to do. The lack of energy and initiative in the lazy man is so profound that he can’t or won’t properly care for his personal needs. “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.” Unfortunately, the lazy person doesn’t even see their own situation.  They are unaware that they are in fact living at a level far below what God intended or created.

Solomon continues by making it clear that while the sluggard may not truly understand their situation, they do wrongly believe that they are wise, and sometimes believe they are smarter than everyone else because they attempt to function without really ever doing much, just avoiding work and the rest of the world around them. The lazy man may lack energy and initiative, but he doesn’t lack a high opinion of himself. He considers himself smarter than seven men who can answer sensibly. The lazy man has great confidence in his own abilities, but never seems to accomplish much. “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.” The lazy man makes it very clear he thinks he is genius – as seven is the perfect number and the lazy man believes he is wiser than all!

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