26:13 The sluggard 1 says, “There is a lion in the road!
A lion in the streets!” 2
26:14 Like 3 a door that turns on its hinges, 4
so a sluggard turns 5 on his bed.
26:15 The sluggard plunges 6 his hand in the dish;
he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. 7
26:16 The sluggard is wiser in his own estimation 8
than seven people who respond with good sense. 9
1 sn The Book of Fools covered vv. 1-12. This marks the beginning of what may be called the Book of Sluggards (vv. 13-16).
2 tn Heb “in the broad plazas”; NAB, NASB “in the square.” This proverb makes the same point as 22:13, namely, that the sluggard uses absurd excuses to get out of work. D. Kidner notes that in this situation the sluggard has probably convinced himself that he is a realist and not a lazy person (Proverbs [TOTC], 163).
3 tn The comparative “like” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied from context in the translation.
4 sn The sluggard is too lazy to get out of bed – although he would probably rationalize this by saying that he is not at his best in the morning. The humor of the verse is based on an analogy with a door – it moves back and forth on its hinges but goes nowhere. Like the door to the wall, the sluggard is “hinged” to his bed (e.g., Prov 6:9-10; 24:33).
5 tn The term “turns” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation from the parallelism.
6 tn Heb “buries” (so many English versions); KJV “hideth”; NAB “loses.”
7 sn The proverb is stating that the sluggard is too lazy to eat; this is essentially the same point made in 19:24 (see the note there).
8 tn Heb “in his eyes.” The lazy person thinks that he has life all figured out and has chosen the wise course of action – but he is simply lazy. J. H. Greenstone says, for example, “Much anti-intellectualism may be traced to such rationalization for laziness” (Proverbs, 269).
9 tn The term means “taste; judgment.” The related verb means “to taste; to perceive,” that is, “to examine by tasting,” or examine by experiencing (e.g., Ps 34:9). Here the idea is expressed with the participle in construct, “those returners [of] good sense,” those who answer tastefully, with discretion. Cf. NIV “who (+ can NRSV) answer discreetly.”