Proverbs 10:26
As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Proverbs 10:26. As vinegar to the teeth — Which, by its coldness and sharpness, it offends; and as smoke, &c., so is the sluggard — Unserviceable and vexatious. “A negligent, dilatory servant vexes those who send him, just as keen vinegar gives pain to the teeth, and bitter smoke torments the eyes.” — Schultens.10:22. That wealth which is truly desirable, has no vexation of spirit in the enjoyment; no grief for the loss; no guilt by the abuse of it. What comes from the love of God, has the grace of God for its companion. 23. Only foolish and wicked men divert themselves with doing harm to others, or tempting to sin. 24. The largest desire of eternal blessings the righteous can form, will be granted. 25. The course of prosperous sinners is like a whirlwind, which soon spends itself, and is gone. 26. As vinegar sets the teeth on edge, and as the smoke causes the eyes to smart, so the sluggard vexes his employer. 27,28. What man is he that loves life? Let him fear God, and that will secure to him life enough in this world, and eternal life in the other.The teeth set on edge by the sour wine used by peasants Ruth 2:14; Psalm 69:21, the eye irritated by wood-smoke, these shadow the annoyance of having a messenger who will loiter on the way. 26. that is, causes vexation. As vinegar to the teeth; Which by its cold and sharpness it offends.

So is the sluggard; unserviceable and vexatious. As vinegar to the teeth,.... Which, with its coldness and sourness, blunts the teeth, and makes it troublesome to eat: the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it,

"as the sour grape is hurtful to the teeth;''

sets them on edge;

and as smoke to the eye; dims the sight, causes the eye to water, and is very pernicious and vexatious:

so is the sluggard to them that send him: that is, the slothful messenger, as the Targum explains it; who, being sent on an errand, is dilatory, does not make haste to bring back the answer; which is very vexatious to those that send him, raises their passions, makes them fretful and very angry, be it on what account it will: so slothful and unprofitable servants, to whom talents are given for usefulness, which they hide or use not, are very provoking to Christ, and whom he will order into outer darkness; those who have gifts for sacred service ought not to be slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, Matthew 25:26.

As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that {l} send him.

(l) He is trouble and grief to him about any business.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. them that send him] Contrast Proverbs 25:13.Verse 26. - Vinegar (Ruth 2:14; Psalm 69:21). As sour wine sets the teeth on edge. Septuagint, "as the unripe grape is harmful to the teeth" (Ezekiel 18:2). Smoke. In a country where chimneys were unknown, and the fuel was wood or some substance more unsavoury, the eyes must have often been painfully affected by the household fire. Thus lacrimosus, "tear-producing," is a classical epithet of smoke (see Ovid, 'Metam.,' 10:6; Her., 'Sat.,' 1:5, 80). To these two annoyances is compared the messenger who loiters on his errand. The last clause is rendered by the LXX., "So is iniquity to those who practise it" - it brings only pain and vexation. 20 Choice silver is the tongue of the righteous;

     But the heart of the godless is little worth.

Choice silver is, as Proverbs 8:19, cf. 10, pure, freed from all base mixtures. Like it, pure and noble, is whatever the righteous speaks; the heart, i.e., the manner of thought and feeling, of the godless is, on the contrary, like little instar nihili, i.e., of little or no worth, Arab. yasway kâlyla (Fl.). lxx: the heart of the godless ἐκλείψει, i.e., ימעט, at first arrogant and full of lofty plans, it becomes always the more dejected, discouraged, empty. But 20a leads us to expect some designation of its worth. The Targ. (according to which the Peshito is to be corrected; vid., Levy's Wrterbuch, ii.:26): the heart of the godless is מחתא (from נחת), refuse, dross. The other Greek versions accord with the text before us.

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