Proverbs 22:13

The slothful man saith, There is lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.
– Proverbs 22:13

Readers of Proverbs are well acquainted with the sluggard by this point. Despite all counsel and evidence to the contrary, the sluggard thinks he knows best (Proverbs 26:16). Here he justifies not working by the preposterous excuse of a lion in the street. The sluggard seeks the easier, more comfortable, route (Proverbs 20:4). The word for slothful means lazy. He, of course, intends to get to work, but it is always after (Proverbs 6:9-10). He needs just a little more sleep and to give the lions time to clear out.

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Proverbs 21:25

The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labor.
– Proverbs 21:25

The word for desire means longing, or wish. In the negative sense, the word refers to greed and lust. The desire is explained in the next verse as daily, greedy coveting. The word for killeth can mean to die as a penalty, or what we might call execution. The slothful man’s desire destroys him. The first phrase is explained by his refusal to work. The slothful have an animal laziness that marks them (Proverbs 6:9-11; 12:27; 19:24). When laziness is couple with strong appetites, then unrighteousness is sure to follow. The slothful man will go to various evil means to obtain what he desires and bring ruin upon his own head.

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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).

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Proverbs 19:24

A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.
– Proverbs 19:24

This proverb uses hyperbole to paint the image of the sluggard as being too lazy to even bring food to his mouth with his hand. The word for bosom means a dish and is so used in 2 Kings 21:13. The word for hideth means to conceal, or bury. The picture is of a lazy man with his hand buried in a dish and too lazy to expend the effort to lift the food to his mouth. The proverb highlights how sluggards want something for nothing and how even what they start, they will not finish (Proverbs 12:27). Consequently, the sluggard goes unsatisfied (Proverbs 6:9-11; 10:4; 13:4; 20:4).

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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).

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Proverbs 18:9

He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
– Proverbs 18:9

The word for slothful means to slacken, to be loose. The word for waster means a destroyer, or speaks of ruining. The lazy worker and the active destroyer belong to the same family. They are brothers, or in the same category. The result of each one’s work is ruin, though the waster intended that from the start and the sluggard did not. Sluggards have dreams and ambitions, but little to show for it (Proverbs 13:4; 21:25-26). Sluggards cannot get started to work on their ideas (Proverbs 6:9; 26:14), and once started, they cannot follow through and finish their work (Proverbs 12:27; 19:24; 26:15). Sluggards wake up one day to waste and loss (Proverbs 6:11). They end up the same place as the one who set out to destroy from the start.

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Proverbs 15:19

The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.
– Proverbs 15:19

The word for slothful means sluggish and lazy. The first phrase indicates his personal affairs are a tangled mess. He is averse to hard work and will not receive wisdom (Proverbs 12:27; 19:24; 26:15-16). The immediate point is that laziness makes everything harder and more frustrating for others (Proverbs 10:26; 18:9). The word for righteous in the contrasting phrase means upright or straight. The parallelism indicates there is unrighteousness with laziness. The way of the righteous is clear and straight (Proverbs 3:6; 8:9).

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Proverbs 14:23

In all labor there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.
– Proverbs 14:23

Proverbs doesn’t provide a shortcut to riches, but it does consistently assure us there is profit in diligent work. The word for profit means a gain, or increase. The sure way to it is labor, or toil (Proverbs 28:19). The contrast to hard work is idle talk, the talk of the lips. The word for penury means want, or lack. It can indicate poverty. Idle talk can be in many forms, such as excuses (Proverbs 22:13; 26:13), talking rather than listening (Proverbs 26:16), or pursuing quick schemes (Proverbs 28:19). These sort usually have big ideas about what they’re going to do, but it is always going to be done and never done.

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Proverbs 12:27

The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.
– Proverbs 12:27

The Proverbs speaks much of diligence and slothfulness. The first phrase shows the slothful man cannot finish what he has started. He has no commitment and perseverance to see a project through (Proverbs 19:24; 26:15). He creates a lot of waste and is left unsatisfied (Proverbs 6:11; 13:4; 21:25-26). The quarry taken in hunting is similar to the image of the harvest. There is a short time to roast it before it spoils. So, the slothful squander opportunities. The contrast expresses a different view by the diligent. All substance got through hard work and great blessing is precious, not to be wasted.

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