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 24:33

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
– Proverbs 24:33

Verses 33 and 34 give the conclusions from observing the “field of the slothful.” The sluggard is anchored to his bed (Proverbs 26:14). Sometimes it is an indulgence in sleep and sometimes it is a putting things off (Proverbs 12:27; 20:4). The wise man asks, “How long” (Proverbs 6:9)? The sluggard is also “void of understanding” and cannot be reasoned with (Proverbs 26:16).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 20:13

Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.
– Proverbs 20:13

Loving sleep is a feature of the sluggard, who is hinged to his bed (Proverbs 26:14). Oversleeping is an image of laziness and of missed opportunity. It brings shame and results in poverty (Proverbs 10:5; 19:15). The imperative, open thine eyes, performs double duty in this proverb. It is contrasted with loving sleep and so images alert action (Proverbs 6:9-11). Open eyes, or seeing eyes, also speaks of discernment and understanding. The second duty is telling the sluggard to wise up. The warnings are an opportunity for the sluggard to hear and receive wisdom and forsake the folly of laziness for the wisdom of diligence and hard work (Proverbs 24:30-34).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 19:15

Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.
– Proverbs 19:15

The word for deep sleep refers to a trance-like state of unconsciousness. It describes the state of Adam when God took his rib (Genesis 2:21), and Abram when God sealed his covenant with him (Genesis 15:12). Sleep is the continually indulged pleasure of the sluggard (Proverbs 6:9-10; 20:13). The sluggard sleeps and misses opportunities and is unaware of the ruin coming on him. He eventually awakes to loss and hunger (Proverbs 24:30-34).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 10:5

He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.
– Proverbs 10:5

This proverb contrasts hard work and slothfulness, which is a common theme throughout the Proverbs. Rather than focusing on diligence and abundance contrasted with slothfulness and poverty, this proverb focuses on the effects a son has on his parents. A wise son brings joy (Proverbs 15:20) and a foolish son brings grief (Proverbs 17:25). Looking a little deeper at the proverb, we see the core of it is not so much about industry versus laziness as it is wisdom. The summer and the harvest are seasons that require certain things to be done. The wise son gathers because he discerns the season and is diligent at the appropriate time. The shameful son either doesn’t discern the time or carelessly sleeps, both bringing shame.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 6:22

When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakes, it shall talk with thee.
– Proverbs 6:22

The intent of the keeping, not forsaking, binding, and tying is to exercise wisdom in life. The opening verses of this address parallel Deuteronomy 6:6-9 and this verse particularly reminds of Deuteronomy 6:7. Leading, keeping, and talking speaks of the continual presence of wisdom with the son who keeps it. Solomon speaks particularly of having wisdom in mind, thinking of life through wisdom as a filter, and being so fixed that even sleeping thoughts are of wisdom.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 6:10

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
– Proverbs 6:10

This is the refrain of the sluggard hinged to his bed. He always needs a little more sleep, a little more rest. This is a part of his putting off his work until a more convenient time. The sluggard is always awaiting the perfect conditions to work. Solomon reinforces in Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 that we are rarely have ideal conditions to work in. We must accomplish something and we don’t have all the time we would like. We don’t have the perfect tools. We don’t have the best weather and so on. Wisdom knows that we must work while it is today and if we await ideal conditions, we will go hungry (Proverbs 20:4; Ecclesiastes 11:4).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 6:9

How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
– Proverbs 6:9

Verses 9-11 press the application from the ant lessons. Solomon gives an aggressive rebuke to arouse the slothful sleeper. The sluggard loves sleep, rest, comfort, and ease. Solomon says he is hinged to his bed like a door to a frame (Proverbs 26:14). There is a proper time for rest and sleep, but also for work. The slothful always have a reason (Proverbs 26:16), but the point is that it is time they should be up and at work. The implication of the passage is that the sluggard is slow to start and that is one of the marks of sloth in Proverbs.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 3:24

When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
– Proverbs 3:24

Sleep is a precious gift from God (Psalm 127:2). It refreshes and replenishes us and is also a daily reminder that we are not God. He never sleeps, but we must or we die. Sleep is also a time of complete vulnerability. Fear and anxious worry rob us of sleep. Walking in wisdom, as in the previous verse, leads us to lay down in peace (Psalm 4:8; 3:5).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series