Here’s another section from Waltke’s introduction to the Proverbs, this time on the character of “the sluggard,” whom we looked at a little last Monday night.
This makes for another great personal bible study:
The sluggard’s unreliable and procrastinating nature makes him a constant source of irritation to all those who need to do business with him (10:26, 26:6) and a shame to his parents (10:5) as he destroys the family inheritance (19:13-15, 24:31). D. Phillip Roberts notes that Proverbs does not have a word for “workaholic” and comments that the two opposites, the sluggard and the diligent, are contrasted as vice and virtue–“It is simply not characteristic of Proverbs to posit two bad extremes and then find an Aristotelian mean.” (But then, notice the advice of Augur in 30:8-9.) The lazy person has to look on hard workers as fools; otherwise he stands self-condemned; his self-imagined wisdom (22:13) can be equated to the English equivalent, “I can’t go to work today; I might get run over by a truck!”
Laziness in Proverbs is more than a character flaw; it is a moral issue, for it leads to a loss of freedom (12:24), the perpetual frustration of getting nowhere (24:34), and the loss of life (see 6:6-11, 10:4, 18:9, 20:13, 21:25-26, 24:30-34, 28:24)…The sluggard is left begging in the harvest, and has “plenty of poverty,” a telling oxymoron (20:4, 29:19).
This goes nicely with Derek Kidner’s study on the same character, which, if you missed it, I posted last Monday.