Proverbs 10:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 10:26, NIV: As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so are sluggards to those who send them.

Proverbs 10:26, ESV: Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to those who send him.

Proverbs 10:26, KJV: As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.

Proverbs 10:26, NASB: Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So is the lazy one to those who send him.

Proverbs 10:26, NLT: Lazy people irritate their employers, like vinegar to the teeth or smoke in the eyes.

Proverbs 10:26, CSB: Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so the slacker is to the one who sends him on an errand.

What does Proverbs 10:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse describes a lazy person, the "sluggard" (Proverbs 6:6, 9) as causing his employer great disappointment. Biblically, the Hebrew term ā'sēl is seen only in the book of Proverbs; it implies someone lacking self-control and motivation to an immoral degree. Later, Solomon will remark that attempting to rely on a fool—and expression of which is laziness— is as irrational as cutting off one's own feet (Proverbs 26:6).

For those who need such a person to perform a task, his habits are as distasteful as vinegar and as irritating as smoke that gets into the eyes. When his employer sends him on an errand, the lazy person doesn't complete it.

For believers, it's important to remember that God's work demands diligence and haste. Jesus commissioned His disciples to proclaim the gospel "to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). After two millennia, the church hasn't completed that commission. Millions have yet to hear the gospel for the first time. Christians need to take to heart the counsel Paul gives in Galatians 6:9: "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." He also encouraged the Corinthian believers to "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).