Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Judgments Solomon made about individual cases brought to him for Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10), or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
“As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So is the lazy man to those who send him.”
Sending a “lazy man” on a mission is offensive like “vinegar to the teeth” and “smoke to the eyes.” Vinegar is unpleasant to teeth and causes them to be “set on edge.” Sins were never completely forgiven under Moses’ Law, hence there was a sense in which the children paid for their parents’ sins. The proverb, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge” (Ezekiel 18:2-3) was no longer to be used in Israel, once God chose a new people with a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:29-34), which He has chosen by the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 8:6-13; 1 Peter 2:1-5). Anyone who has ever grilled over an open fire knows what smoke does to the eyes. That irritation causes watering, similar to crying. The “lazy man” offends in both ways because he/she cannot be depended upon for any useful work.
“The fear of the LORD prolongs days, But the years of the wicked will be shortened. 28 The hope of the righteous will be gladness, But the expectation of the wicked will perish.”
Honoring both “father and mother” was the first commandment in Moses’ Law “with promise” (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16) as pointed out in the New Testament (Ephesians 6:1-3). Learning from parental experience and instruction has beneficial physical effects on children. The stability of respect and reverence for parents never diminishes throughout one’s life. On the other hand, those who disdain, disregard, or disparage their parents walk through life on a rocky road with many pitfalls. “The righteous” always have positive blessing to look forward to, but “the wicked” have nothing but a great destruction.
“The way of the LORD is strength for the upright, But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity. 30 The righteous will never be removed, But the wicked will not inhabit the earth.”
“Strength,” stability, and boldness to approach God in prayers (Hebrews 4:16) and other worship (Psalm 100:1-2) is for “the upright” (those who obey the “Upright” God, Deuteronomy 32:4). “Workers of iniquity” (dedicated sinners) are always under God’s condemnation (Psalm 6:8; Luke 13:23-28; Matthew 7:21-23). Proverbs 21:15: “It is a joy for the just to do justice, But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.”
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.