Proverbs 26:13
The slothful man said, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way . . .—See above on Proverbs 22:13.

Proverbs 26:13-16. The slothful man saith, &c. — “In this and the following verses, three degrees of sloth are represented; the first, when a man is loath to stir out of doors about his business in the field, Proverbs 26:13; the second, when he is loath so much as to leave his bed, Proverbs 26:14; and the third and highest, when he will scarcely put his hand to his mouth, Proverbs 26:15. By which hyperbolical expression the wise man admirably sets forth the incredible laziness of some, which increases upon them continually, if they will not shake it off; and yet, so presumptuous are they withal, that they laugh at those who take a great deal of pains to be wise, and fancy themselves much wiser; because, without any pains, they can find fault sometimes with other men’s works.” — Dodd. Thus, Proverbs 26:16, the sluggard is wiser in his own eyes — Because, by his idleness, he avoids those troubles and dangers to which other men, by their activity, expose themselves, forgetting, in the mean time, what reproach and loss are brought upon him by his slothfulness; than seven men that can render a reason — Namely, a satisfactory reason of all their actions, that is, who are truly wise men.26:2. He that is cursed without cause, the curse shall do him no more harm than the bird that flies over his head. 3. Every creature must be dealt with according to its nature, but careless and profligate sinners never will be ruled by reason and persuasion. Man indeed is born like the wild ass's colt; but some, by the grace of God, are changed. 4,5. We are to fit our remarks to the man, and address them to his conscience, so as may best end the debate. 6-9. Fools are not fit to be trusted, nor to have any honour. Wise sayings, as a foolish man delivers and applies them, lose their usefulness. 10. This verse may either declare how the Lord, the Creator of all men, will deal with sinners according to their guilt, or, how the powerful among men should disgrace and punish the wicked. 11. The dog is a loathsome emblem of those sinners who return to their vices, 2Pe 2:22. 12. We see many a one who has some little sense, but is proud of it. This describes those who think their spiritual state to be good, when really it is very bad. 13. The slothful man hates every thing that requires care and labour. But it is foolish to frighten ourselves from real duties by fancied difficulties. This may be applied to a man slothful in the duties of religion. 14. Having seen the slothful man in fear of his work, here we find him in love with his ease. Bodily ease is the sad occasion of many spiritual diseases. He does not care to get forward with his business. Slothful professors turn thus. The world and the flesh are hinges on which they are hung; and though they move in a course of outward services, yet they are not the nearer to heaven. 15. The sluggard is now out of his bed, but he might have lain there, for any thing he is likely to bring to pass in his work. It is common for men who will not do their duty, to pretend they cannot. Those that are slothful in religion, will not be at the pains to feed their souls with the bread of life, nor to fetch in promised blessings by prayer. 16. He that takes pains in religion, knows he is working for a good Master, and that his labour shall not be in vain. 17. To make ourselves busy in other men's matters, is to thrust ourselves into temptation. 18,19. He that sins in jest, must repent in earnest, or his sin will be his ruin. 20-22. Contention heats the spirit, and puts families and societies into a flame. And that fire is commonly kindled and kept burning by whisperers and backbiters. 23. A wicked heart disguising itself, is like a potsherd covered with the dross of silver.Compare the marginal reference note. Here there is greater dramatic vividness in the two words used:

(1) A roaring one,

(2) a lion, more specifically.

13. (Compare Pr 22:13). To excuse his idleness, and keeping himself at home. See Poole "Proverbs 22:13". The slothful man saith,.... Within himself; or to such that excite him to diligence and industry, to go about the business of his calling, to till his field, and dress his vineyard. The Septuagint and Arabic versions add, "being sent into the way"; ordered by his master to go out to work, when he makes the following excuse:

there is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets; in the way to his field or vineyard, and in the streets, where his business lies or leads unto it: a very idle excuse this; since lions are usually in woods, forests, and desert places, and not in public roads, and much less in streets of cities; see Proverbs 22:13. This may be applied to a man slothful in the duties of religion; the "way" and "streets" may denote public ordinances, which are the ways of God's appointing, prescribing, and directing to; and in which good men walk, and find pleasure and profit; and are the streets where Wisdom cries, or Christ is preached, and where he is sought for and found: but many are the excuses some men make not to attend them; see Luke 14:17; though they are vain, frivolous, and foolish, as this here; for in these ways and streets may true seen the feet of the messengers of peace; here the turtle's voice, the joyful sound of salvation by Christ, may be heard; here the Lamb of God is directed to, to be looked at, as taking away the sins of men, having been slain, and having shed his blood for the redemption of them: and though the terrible voice of the law may be sometimes heard, which is necessary to arouse and awaken sleepy sinners, and unhinge self-righteous persons from a dependence on the works of the law; yet, afterwards comes the still small voice of the Gospel, proclaiming freedom from the curse and condemnation of the law by Christ. Indeed, in some ages, there have been violent persecutors, comparable to lions; and informers have been in the way and in the streets, to terrify saints from their duty; but none of these could move them from it, nor separate fully gracious souls from their love to Christ: though carnal slothful professors are offended, when tribulation or persecution arise because of the word, these are lions to them; and, in times of peace and liberty, they can paint lions, very terrible to themselves, and raise such difficulties as are insuperable to them; a slight disorder of body, a small inclemency of the weather, little danger of catching cold, and the like, shall be a lion to them: not considering they have a devouring lion nearer them in their houses, chambers, and on their beds with them; even Satan, in whose clutches they are, who keeps their goods in peace, by whom they are led captive, and to whom they fall a prey: nor fearing the wrath of the King of kings, which is as the roaring of a lion: the wrath of God and of the Lamb, who is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and whose day of wrath will be such as none will be able to bear.

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

(h) Read Pr 22:13.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. Almost identical with Proverbs 22:13, where see note.

the slothful man] Rather, the sluggard. See Proverbs 26:16, note.Verses 13-16. - Proverbs concerning the sluggard. Verse 13. - This is virtually the same as Proverbs 22:13. The words for "lion" are different in two parts of the verse, shakhal being the lion of advanced age, ari the full-grown animal; the latter may possibly be assumed to be the more dangerous of the two, and so a climax would be denoted. There is a proverb current in Bechuana, which says, "The month of seed time is the season of headaches." 7 The hanging down of the legs of a lame man;

   And a proverb in a fool's mouth.

With reference to the obscure דּליוּ, the following views have been maintained: - (1) The form as punctuated appears directly as an imperative. Thus the lxx translate, the original text of which is here: ἀφελοῦ πορείαν κυλλῶν (conj. Lagarde's) καὶ παροιμίαν ἐκ στόματος ἀφρόνων, which the Syr. (with its imitator, the Targ.) has rendered positively: "If thou canst give the power of (sound) going to the lame, then wilt thou also receive (prudent) words from the mouth of a fool." Since Kimchi, דּליוּ has been regarded by many as the softening of the Imp. Piel דּדּוּ, according to which the Venet. translates: ἐπάρατε κνήμας χωλοῦ; and Bertheau and Zckler explain: always take away his legs from the lame, since they are in reality useless to him, just as a proverb in the mouth of the fool is useless - something that without loss might be never there." But why did not the poet write הרימוּ, or הסירוּ, or קחוּ, or the like? דּלּי, to carry away, to dispense with, is Syriac (Targ. Jer. I, under Deuteronomy 32:50), but not Hebrew. And how meaningless is this expression! A lame man would withstand a surgeon (as he would a murderer) who would amputate his legs; for lame legs are certainly better than none, especially since there is a great distinction between a lame man (פּדּח, from פּסח, luxare; cf. (Arab.) fasaḥ, laxare, vid., Schultens) who halts or goes on crutches (2 Samuel 3:29), and one who is maimed (paralytic), who needs to be carried. It comes to this, that by this rendering of 7a one must, as a consequence, with the lxx, regard וּמשׁל [and a proverb] as object. accus. parallel to שׁקים [legs]; but "to draw a proverb from one's mouth" is, after Proverbs 20:5, something quite different from to tear a proverb away from him, besides which, one cannot see how it is to be caught. Rather one would prefer: attollite crura claudi (ut incedat, et nihil promovebitis); but the מן of מפּסּח does not accord with this, and 7b does not connect itself with it. But the explanation: "take away the legs from a lame man who has none, at least none to use, and a proverb in the mouth of fools, when there is none," is shattered against the "leg-taking-away," which can only be used perhaps of frogs' legs. (2) Symmachus translates: ἐξέλιπον κνῆμαι ἀπὸ χωλοῦ; and Chajg explains דּליוּ as 3 pret. Kal, to which Kimchi adds the remark, that he appears to have found דּליוּ, which indeed is noted by Norzi and J. H. Michaelis as a variant. But the Masoretic reading is דּליוּ, and this, after Gesenius and Bttcher (who in this, without any reason, sees an Ephraimitic form of uttering the word), is a softened variation from דּדּוּ. Only it is a pity that this softening, while it is supported by alius equals ἄλλος, folium equals φύλλον, faillir equals fallere, and the like, has yet not a single Hebrew or Semitic example in its favour. (3) Therefore Ewald finds, "all things considered," that it is best to read דּליוּ, "the legs are too loose for the lame man to use them." But, with Dietrich, we cannot concur in this, nor in the more appropriate translation: "the legs of the lame hang down loose," to say nothing of the clearly impossible: "high are the legs of the lame (one higher than the other)," and that because this form גּליוּ for גּליוּ also occurs without pause, Psalm 57:2; Psalm 73:2; Psalm 122:6; Isaiah 21:12; but although thus, as at Psalm 36:9; Psalm 68:32, at the beginning of a clause, yet always only in connection, never at the beginning of an address. (4) It has also been attempted to interpret דּליוּ as abstr., e.g., Euchel: "he learns from a cripple to dance, who seeks to learn proverbs from the mouth of a fool." דּליוּ שׁקים must mean the lifting up of the legs equals springing and dancing. Accordingly Luther translates:

"As dancing to a cripple,

So does it become a fool to speak of wisdom."

The thought is agreeable, and according to fact; but these words to not mean dancing, but much rather, as the Arabic shows (vid., Schultens at Proverbs 20:5, and on the passage before us), a limping, waddling walk, like that of ducks, after the manner of a well-bucket dangling to and fro. And דּליוּ, after the form מלכוּ, would be an unheard-of Aramaism. For forms such as שׂחוּ, swimming, and שׁלוּ, security, Psalm 30:7, on which C. B. Michaelis and others rest, cannot be compared, since they are modified from sachw, ṣalw, while in דּליוּ the ending must be, and besides the Aramaic דּליוּ must in st. constr. be דּליוּוּת. Since none of these explanations are grammatically satisfactory, and besides דּליוּ equals דּללוּ equals דּדּוּ gives a parallel member which is heterogeneous and not conformable to the nature of an emblematical proverb, we read דּלּוּי after the forms צפּוּי, שׁקּוּי (cf. חבּוּק, Proverbs 6:10; Proverbs 24:33), and this signifies loose, hanging down, from דּלה, to hang at length and loosely down, or transitively: to hang, particularly of the hanging down at length of the bucket-rope, and of the bucket itself, to draw water from the well. The מן is similar to that of Job 28:4, only that here the connecting of the hanging down, and of that from which it hangs down, is clear. Were we to express the purely nominally expressed emblematical proverb in the form of a comparative one, it would thus stand as Fleischer translates it: ut laxa et flaccida dependent (torpent) crura a claudo, sic sententia in ore stultorum (sc. torpet h. e. inutilis est). The fool can as little make use of an intelligent proverb, or moral maxim (dictum sententiosum), as a lame man can of his feet; the word, which in itself is full of thought, and excellent, becomes halting, lame, and loose in his mouth (Schultens: deformiter claudicat); it has, as spoken and applied by him, neither hand nor foot. Strangely, yet without missing the point, Jerome: quomodo pulcras frustra habet claudus tibias, sic indecens est in ore stultorum parabola. The lame man possibly has limbs that appear sound; but when he seeks to walk, they fail to do him service - so a bon-mot comes forth awkwardly when the fool seeks to make use of it. Hitzig's conjecture: as leaping of the legs on the part of a lame man..., Bttcher has already shown sufficient reasons for rejecting; leaping on the part of any one, for the leaping of any one, were a court style familiar to no poet.

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