Proverbs 26:15

ESV The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.
NIV A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
NASB A lazy one buries his hand in the dish; He is weary of bringing it to his mouth again.
CSB The slacker buries his hand in the bowl; he is too weary to bring it to his mouth!
NLT Lazy people take food in their hand but don’t even lift it to their mouth.
KJV The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.
NKJV The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth.

What does Proverbs 26:15 mean?

Here is another exaggerated statement used by Solomon (Proverbs 25:1) to criticize unproductive behavior. Few people are literally so lazy that they won't even put food in their mouths. The idea is sometimes seen in comedy, again as an exaggerated joke. One of the dangers of laziness is reputation: a person known for being lazy is likely going to be mocked and disrespected for their lack of effort.

Practically, laziness is dangerous and expensive. Those who lay around without working put themselves at much greater risk of poverty (Proverbs 6:9, 11). It may seem easier in the short term, but as a lifestyle it leads to disaster (Proverbs 20:4; 23:21).

Christian believers can exhibit laziness in spiritual matters. They may choose not to put effort into spiritual growth and miss out on rewards as a result (1 Corinthians 9:24–27). The world can tempt Christians to ignore study of the Bible or work in church activities. Even prayer can be crowded out by laziness (1 Thessalonians 5:17). So can church attendance, which is not always extremely convenient (Hebrews10:24–25). Giving to the work of the gospel can also suffer when it's thought of as too great a sacrifice of hard-earned money (1 Corinthians 16:2). Keeping the imagery of this proverb, those too lazy to practice spiritual discipline will spiritually starve.
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