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Proverbs 26 Exegetical_research

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Gregory Griesemer, Box 67

EXEGETICAL RESEARCH ON PROVERBS 26:13-16

I.                        CONTEXT

Proverbs 26:13-16 addressing the topic of the sluggard is part of the book of Proverbs which is a collection of wisdom presented for the purpose of instructing men “to know wisdom and instruction, to discern the sayings of understanding. (1:2)” They topic of the sluggard is sprinkled throughout the entire book (Prov. 6:6, 9–11 Prov. 24:33. Prov. 10:4, 5, 26; Prov. 12:9, 24, 27; Prov. 13:4; Prov. 14:23; Prov. 15:19; Prov. 18:9; Prov. 19:15, 24; Prov. 20:4, 13; Prov. 21:25, 26; Prov. 23:21; Prov. 24:30, 31, 33, 34; Prov. 26:13 [Prov. 22:13.] Prov. 26:14–16).[i]

Proverbs 26:13-16 is also part of the third collection of Solomonic Proverbs written by the Men of King Hezekiah which includes Proverbs 25:1-29:27. This collection includes a large amount of wisdom on various topics.

In chapter 26, the fool becomes the center of the reader attention. As bad as the fool is, 26:12 tells us who is even worse off then the fool: the fool who conceitedly thinks that he is wise. Proverbs 26:13-16 describes this hopelessly conceited fool. He is the sluggard who makes excuses, loves leisure, is self-destructive and conceited. 

26:5, 12 and 16 speak of the conceited fool. Ways to deal with the hard case of a sluggard may be found in the context. Also in the demeaning sarcastic tone of the writer.

Chapter 24:30ff  which reads “Near the field of a slothful man I passed by, And near the vineyard of a man lacking heart. And lo, it hath gone up—all of it—thorns! Covered its face have nettles, And its stone wall hath been broken down…” could be seen the scene outside the house of the sluggard of 26:13-16.

II.                     SYNTHESIS

26:13         The author pictures the lazy man declaring his wild excuses as to why he cannot leave his home to work. The lazy man exclaims that he must stay home for safety sake because there is a dangerous lion on the way to work and that there is a lion also in the place of business.

26:14         The author then compares the lazy man turning over and over in his extended lazy slumber to the door swinging back and forth on its hinges but going nowhere.

26:15         Then the author paints an absurd picture of the lazy man at the dinner table immobilized with his hand in his food dish but not willing to exert the energy to put his food in his mouth.

26:16         Finally, the author exposes the most dangerous of the lazy mans defects. He is conceited and does not take wise counsel. The lazy man values his uninformed opinion more then the reasoned judgments of a room full of wise men.

III.                 EXEGETICAL PROPOSITION

We must see the shamefulness of the actions of the lazy man who make wild excuses not to work, loves and indulges in useless leisure, is too lazy to even feed himself and is too conceited to see the error of his ways so that we will avoid falling into laziness ourselves.

IV.                GRAMMATICAL INSIGHTS

Proverbs 26:13-16 (NASB95)

13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square!”

The sluggard  עָ֭צֵל

There is discussion whether this term is a noun or an adjective. Should it be “sluggard” (noun) or “sluggish man” (adjective). The majority of the language works consulted go with adjective. Either choice, the distigusing charectoristic of this person is their lazyness. I favor the modern term “deadbeat” but no major versions chose to use this in their translation.

The diffence between the terms “road” and “open square”

The first being the way to get to work the second being the actual place that commece takes place.

Road

2006 דֶּרֶךְ (dě∙rěḵ): n.masc.; ≡ Str 1870; TWOT 453a—1. LN 1.99-1.105 way, path, route, road, highway, i.e., a thoroughfare to physically get from one place to another (Ge 16:7), note: context will provide the size of the pathway, ranging from a narrow path to a major thoroughfare; 2. LN 15.18-15.26 journey, i.e., the act. of moving from one place to another, with a destination, and usually planned route (Ge 24:27);[ii]

Open Square

8148 I. רְחֹב (reḥōḇ): n.fem.; ≡ Str 7339; TWOT 2143d—LN 1.88-1.94 public square, plaza, city-hub, i.e., a central part of a city where people meet and civic activity occurs [iii]

“What the slothful man really dreads. He dreads the way, the streets, the place where work is to be done and a journey to be gone; he hates business, hates every thing that requires care and labour.[iv] “

Contextual note: The sluggard’s excuses are not usually so absurd. They are probably good enough for him to think that he is being reasonable and others should be convinced and sympathetic. Remember, the fool is wise in his own eyes. (v 12 and v 16) He doesn’t this he sound pathetic.

Lion and Lion

The first term is less common but they seem to simply be synoyms


14 As the door turns on its hinges, So does the sluggard on his bed.

Verb supplied- the nature of the comparison between a door and the sluggard is signaled by the missing/assumed verb in the second half of the comparison. The door turns on its hinges. The sluggard turns (not in the Hebrew but supplied from the preceding comparison) in his bed.


15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; He is weary of bringing it to his mouth again.

Textual issue: Where is the sluggard’s hand? In his Dish or Bosom?

The KJV promoted the “bosom” rendering (probably because the LXX did) until it conformed to the consensus amongst all other major translations and changed also to the  “dish” idea with the NKJV update.

“The figure appears, thus understood, an hyperbole, on which account the LXX understand by צלחת the bosom of lap, κόλπον; Aquila and Symmachus understand by it the arm-pit, μασχάλην of μάλην; and the Jewish interpreters gloss it by חיק (Kimchi) or קרע החלוק , the slit (Ita. fenditura) of the shirt. But the domestic figure, 2 Kings 21:13, places before us a dish which, when it is empty, is wiped and turned upside down;152and that the slothful when he eats appears too slothful to bring his hand, e.g., with the rice or the piece of bread he has taken out of the dish, again to his mouth, is true to nature: we say of such a man that he almost sleeps when he eats.[v]

Lexical issue: What is the problem resulting in the lazy man not bringing his food to his mouth?

The term is in the nifal and used by Swanson as the primer example of the 4th usage. The definition indicates a conscious choice not to act. The context of the proverbs also assumes a conscious choice as opposed to some legitimate physical affliction.

4206 לָאָה (lā∙˒ā(h)): v.; ≡ Str 3811; TWOT 1066—1. LN 74 (qal) not be able, formally, be weary, i.e., not have the capacity to carry out a function or task, as an extension of being weary or tired, and so unable to respond with potency (Ge 19:11+); (nif) not be able (Ex 7:18; Jer 6:11; 15:6+); 2. LN 25.167-25.178 (qal) become emotionally tired, i.e., be in a state which will manifest negative emotions or attitudes such as impatience or discouragement (Job 4:2, 5+); (nif) become weary (Isa 1:14; Isa 16:12; 47:13; Jer 9:4[EB 5]; 20:9); (hif) cause emotional weariness (Job 16:7; Isa 7:13(2×); Eze 24:12; Mic 6:3+); 3. LN 23.78-23.87 (hif) wear out, i.e., cause one to be physically tired (Jer 12:5+); 4. LN 88.246-88.251 (nif) lazy, formally, weary, i.e., refuse to engage in necessary activity as a lifestyle, as an extension of being physically tired (Pr 26:15+); 5. LN 57.37-57.48 (nif) lack, formally, be weary, i.e., be in a state of need, as an extension of being physically tired (Ps 68:10[EB 9]+)[vi]


16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discreet answer.

How the sluggard views himself

wise, i.e. intelligent (φρόνιμος, verftändig), endowed with reason and using it, Deu. 4:6; 32:6; Prov. 10:1; 13:1; Hos. 14:10; often joined to נָבוֹ Deu. locc. citt. opp. to נָבָל ibid.; אֱוִיל, בְּסִיל Prov. 17:28; Ecc. 6:8; sagacious, shrewd, 2 Sa. 13:3; Jer. 18:18; Isa. 19:11; 29:14; wise from experience of life, and skilful with regard to affairs both human (Prov. 1:6; Eccl. 12:11) and divine [vii]

In his own eyes

            Eyes are used figuratively for personal judgment.

בְּעֵינַי in my eyes, i.e. according to my judgment, as it seems to me, in my opinion, by which in Hebrew the sense of to seem, videri, is expressed by a circumlocution. [viii]

Lexical issue: Should שֶׁבַע be taken as the number 7 or a large indefinite number?

 

8679 I. שֶׁבַע (šě∙ḇǎ˓): number; ≡ Str 7651; TWOT 2318—1. LN 60.16 seven, i.e., a cardinal number (Ge 7:2), note: in some contexts “seven” is a large indefinite number; 2. LN 60.54 seventh, i.e., the seventh in a series involving, time, space, or set (Dt 15:9); 3. LN 60.73 seven times, i.e., seven occurrences of something (2Ki 4:35), note: in some contexts “seven” is a large indefinite number; 4. LN 60.1-60.9 many, formally, seven, i.e., a large quantity of an object as a figurative extension of the cardinal number seven [ix]

Seven men of discernment: These men exercise great discernment and wisdom in stark contrast to the conceited sluggard, yet they are dismissed in favor of the fool’s own opinion.

 

3248 טַעַם (ṭǎ∙˓ǎm): n.masc.; ≡ Str 2940; TWOT 815a—1. LN 24.72 taste, i.e., the use of taste buds to distinguish and enjoy flavor (Ex 16:31; Nu 11:8(2×); Job 6:6; Jer 48:11+); 2. LN 32.24-32.41 discretion, discernment, i.e., good judgment as a facet of wisdom and capacity for understanding (1Sa 25:33; Job 12:20; Ps 119:66; Pr 11:22; 26:16+);[x]



V.              DOCTRINES DISCUSSED

The text discusses the tendencies of fallen man. Men hate work which is the result of the curse. Conceit and pride. Truth and error. Wisdom and foolishness. Autonomy and humility. In my sermon I went into other issues such as: Worship as a lifestyle. Urgency. The return of Christ. Hell and heaven. The holiness of God. Soteriology. Atonement.

I know this part is weak. I did look in theologies by Shedd, Zuck, Grudem, Packer, Evans, Karleen, and Enns for ideas. Not too much theology comes from these 4 verses I guess.

VI.                BIBLIOGRAPHY

1) Duane A. Garrett, vol. 14, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1993), 141.

2) John Kruis, G., Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling, Includes Index., electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1997, c1994).

3) John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985), 1:962.

4) Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), 6:390.

5) Walter A. Elwell, vol. 3, Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, Baker reference library (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1996, c1989), Pr 25:1.

6) Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, c1991), Pr 26:13.

7) The Pulpit Commentary: Proverbs, ed. H. D. M. Spence-Jones (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004), 501.

8) Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson's Quick Reference Topical Bible Index., Nelson's Quick reference (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), 375.

9) Ronald F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Rev. Ed. of: Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary.; Includes Index. (Nashville: T. Nelson, 1995).

10) James Swanson and Orville Nave, New Nave's (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1994).

11) James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), DBLH 8148.

12) Wilhelm Gesenius and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2003), 764.

13) R. Laird Harris, Robert Laird Harris, Gleason Leonard Archer and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, electronic ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999, c1980), 689.


----

[i]James Swanson and Orville Nave, New Nave's (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1994).

n. noun, or nouns

masc. masculine

Str Strong’s Lexicon

TWOT Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

LN Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon

act. active voice

[ii]James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), DBLH 2006, #2.

n. noun, or nouns

fem. feminine

Str Strong’s Lexicon

TWOT Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

LN Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon

[iii]James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), DBLH 8148.

[iv]Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, c1991), Pr 26:13.

152 While צַפַּחַת, ṣaḥfat, in the sense of dish, is etymologically clear, for צַלַּחַת, neither ṣalaḥ (to be good for), nor salakh (to be deaf, mangy), offers an appropriate verbal meaning. The Arab. zuluh (large dishes) stands under zalah (to taste, of the tasting of good), but is scarcely a derivative from it. Only צלח, which in the meaning of good for, proceeding from the idea of penetrating through, has retained the root-meaning of cleft, furnishes for צַלַּחַת and צְלֹוחִית a root-word in some measure useful.

[v]Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), 6:289.

v. verb

Str Strong’s Lexicon

TWOT Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

LN Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon

qal Qal

+ More references in bhs

nif Niphal

EB English Bible versification

hif Hiphil

(2×) The word defined occurs twice in this verse

[vi]James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), DBLH 4206, #5.

[vii]Wilhelm Gesenius and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, Translation of the Author's Lexicon Manuale Hebraicum Et Chaldaicum in Veteris Testamenti Libros, a Latin Version of the Work First Published in 1810-1812 Under Title: Hebräisch-Deutsches Handwörterbuch Des Alten Testaments.; Includes Index. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2003), 277.

[viii]Wilhelm Gesenius and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, Translation of the Author's Lexicon Manuale Hebraicum Et Chaldaicum in Veteris Testamenti Libros, a Latin Version of the Work First Published in 1810-1812 Under Title: Hebräisch-Deutsches Handwörterbuch Des Alten Testaments.; Includes Index. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2003), 622.

Str Strong’s Lexicon

TWOT Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

LN Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon

[ix]James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), DBLH 8679, #4.

n. noun, or nouns

masc. masculine

Str Strong’s Lexicon

TWOT Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

LN Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon

(2×) The word defined occurs twice in this verse

+ More references in bhs

[x]James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), DBLH 3248, #2.

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