James Nisbet Commentary - Proverbs 26:13 - 26:13

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James Nisbet Commentary - Proverbs 26:13 - 26:13

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‘The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.’


I. There is a lion in the way!—In what way? I answer, In the way of life, of every life. Life, if it is to be a true life, is not an easy thing. The men who live for nobler objects than those of shameful selfishness, like St. Paul, will have to fight with wild beasts at Ephesus or elsewhere.

II. ‘There is a lion in the way.’—Yes, and not one, but many lions: (1) the lion of the world’s opposition and hatred; (2) the lion of our own fleshly nature, of our own physical and mental passions; (3) our ‘adversary the devil.’

III. These lions—the world, the flesh, and the devil—for all their seeming strength and ferocity and the passion in their throats, prove but cowardly beasts after all. But the slothful man not only says, ‘There is a lion in the way,’ but adds, ‘I shall be slain in the streets,’ and then in a reproachful and injured tone, ‘You well know that many have been so slain.’ Yes, it is quite true; they have been so slain; but to them, as to their Lord, through death and after death, if not in life, have come the glory and the victory.

Dean Farrar.


‘The sluggard is ever imagining difficulties. He sees lions where there is none (22:13). His only real difficulty is his own indolence. He would rather starve than put forth any exertion. Yet he is full of self-conceit. Wiser than seven men, the number of perfection.’