Proverbs 26:15

The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.

– Proverbs 26:15

The third saying is very close to Proverbs 19:24. The word for grieveth means weary or tiring. The image exaggerates laziness to the point the sluggard is too lazy to lift his hand to his mouth to eat. Kidner pointed out the sluggard’s objection to being hurried in regard to this saying.




Proverbs 26:14

As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.

– Proverbs 26:14

The second saying gives the image of a hinged door as apt to depict the slothful upon his bed. A door is fastened to the post with hinges so it can swing back and forth, but it does not move out of its place. The sluggard is similarly hinged to his bed, so he does not get up and get to work. Proverbs marks a sluggard as one over-indulging in sleep and rest (Proverbs 6:9-10; 24:33). This group of sayings highlights the sluggard’s rationalizations and Kidner here points out the lazy often say they are not at their “best in the morning.”




Proverbs 26:13

The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.

– Proverbs 26:13

Verses 13-16 form a group of sayings about sluggards, or slothful men. All together they provide a picture of either self-deception, or at least a lack of self-awareness. A sluggard never thinks he is lazy, but rather has answers for all challenges to his lack of proper action and work. This saying echoes Proverbs 22:13, where the sluggard cannot go out to work because the possibility of a lion in the streets. Kidner pointed out this excuse makes the sluggard a “realist” in his own mind. He doesn’t think he is lazy but rather he is pragmatic.

This saying relates to the thinking of a person who will not start to work because of the all the difficulties. Whatever project is suggested, they persist in pointing out all the obstacles and difficulties. Merely pointing out a difficulty is sufficient reason to never tackle the project.




Proverbs 26:12

Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.

– Proverbs 26:12

This verse is the last proverb in this group about fools. To be wise in one’s own eyes, or in one’s conceit, is to be proud and right by your own judgment. It is a mark of folly as it is set contrary to the “fear of the Lord” in Proverbs 3:7, which is the very beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). It is not describing the naïve simpleton of low information, but rather the knowledgeable proud who is obstinate in his self-confidence. Being proud of his knowledge makes him harder than a fool.




Proverbs 26:11

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

– Proverbs 26:11

This proverb highlights the ineradicable nature of folly to a fool. The image of the dog returning to its own vomit is deliberately nauseating and apt as a picture of the fool returning to his folly. A fool is known by the fact that no matter how high he seems to attain, the depth of folly is his delight and continual resort.




Proverbs 26:10

The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.

– Proverbs 26:10

The wording of this proverb is extremely difficult. The words used have various meanings and the combination is puzzling. The word for great means abundant and is sometimes rendered captain or princes. It can indicate a superior rank. The word for formed means twist and connotes writing in pain. It is used to speak of childbirth, grief, or wounding. The word for rewardeth means wages and is used to speak of hiring, and appears twice in the verse. The word for fool is the most common word in Proverbs for fools. It refers to a dull an obstinate person. The word for transgressors means move away. It most often refers to physical and spatial movement. It is often translated as pass by, pass through, pass over, etc. It could refer here to a passer-by. The proverb certainly has a negative thrust with the idea of wounding and being in the context of verses pertaining to fools.




Proverbs 26:9

As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

– Proverbs 26:9

The word for parable is most often translated proverb in the Old Testament. It usually refers to a wisdom saying, like the proverbs in this book. The first phrase is a little more difficult. The word for drunkard means intoxicated person. The likely image is a drunken person grabbing a thorn bush, or branch, to possible use as a weapon or instrument. His senseless state means he doesn’t realize what he grabbed and that it will prove as hurtful to him as to anyone else. So, a fool does not understand a proverb and, therefore, will not use it correctly. Proverbs are fashioned in wisdom and require skill to understand and teach (Ecclesiastes 12:11).




Proverbs 26:8

As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honor to a fool.

– Proverbs 26:8

Binding a stone in a sling is a senseless act. It renders the sling useless for its intended purpose and could also injure the person trying to use it. The point is clear from the second phrase. Honor is not fitting for a fool and could even be dangerous (Proverbs 26:1).




Proverbs 26:7

The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

– Proverbs 26:7

The image of lame legs hanging limp indicates the inability of the man to use them. A parable, or proverb, is not understood by fools and cannot be used properly. It requires a wise man beginning from the fear of the Lord “to understand a proverb, and the interpretation” (Proverbs 1:5-7).




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