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