“The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.”
“The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.” – NKJV
The idea here is that the sluggard….wait just a moment…what kind of mental image do you have this very second?
Sluggard. Think about that word, sluggard. Not just lazy or slothful, but slimy, covered with mucous, moving slowly about the ground leaving shiny trails behind. Sluggard. A slug. A snail-like critter, but too poor for a shell.
The idea, here, is that the sluggard has a self perception problem. He is wiser in his own eyes than seven men, simply because he is the sluggard, not the ones working. The great Matthew Henry comments:
“His slothfulness is the cause of his good opinion of himself. If he would but take pains to examine himself, and compare himself with the laws of wisdom, he would have other thoughts of himself… So wretchedly besotted is he that he takes his slothfulness to be his wisdom; he thinks it is his wisdom to make much of himself, and take all the ease he can get… Of such sluggards, who are proud of that which is their shame, their is little hope.”*
So, is there hope for someone who sees laziness and living off of others as a virtue? Verse 12 says that there is more hope for a fool than one that is wise in his own eyes. How much worse, then, one wise in his own eyes that is also a bum? A sluggard?
The Fox News Channel did a story on how some people are scamming the American food stamp system (EBT). They attempted to show how assistance originally meant to aid those in real need was being taken advantage of by people refusing work. Fox News found a perfect example in a young surfer named Jason.
Jason, an unemployed surfer who mooched off of relatives and friends, determined that work was something he did not want to do. He admitted to being perfectly happy taking tax payers’ dollars each month to buy food. All he cared about was playing in a band, meeting cute girls, drinking, and most of all, surfing every day.
There was no reasoning with him. He had everything figured out.
But what does the Bible have to say?
“The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.” – Proverbs 21:25
“For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10 NIV
*Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 1014.