Proverbs 26:16

ESV The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.
NIV A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven people who answer discreetly.
NASB A lazy one is wiser in his own eyes Than seven people who can give a discreet answer.
CSB In his own eyes, a slacker is wiser than seven who can answer sensibly.
NLT Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors.
KJV The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

What does Proverbs 26:16 mean?

Many frustrated parents have told their children something like, "if you'd put as much effort into the work as you do into making excuses, it would already be done!" Human beings have a seemingly limitless ability to rationalize: to explain away and justify their actions even when common sense disagrees. Looking for excuses, the lazy person takes on the role of a super-genius; they know better than everyone else. They see dangers and excuses no one else thinks of. Some of those seem ridiculous (Proverbs 26:13). Others seem arrogant.

In some cases, a lazy person's excuses are offensive. The last phrase of this proverb literally means "return discreetly" or "reply with good taste." Inventing reasons not to meet obligations can mean angering others and putting down their efforts.
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