Proverbs 6:8

Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
– Proverbs 6:8

Without an overseer, the ant works diligently in the appropriate season and has food in the later season. The ant does not delay or put off work until another time. Working urgently and diligently now yields good fruit later. Contrariwise, the sluggard accomplishes little to nothing on his own, doesn’t plan ahead, and doesn’t have what we call a hard work ethic. Likewise, the sluggard will have little to gather in the harvest.

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Proverbs 6:7

Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
– Proverbs 6:7

Solomon’s point is not that the ants have no sort of organized or cooperative effort, but that the individual ant is not driven by a supervisor or taskmaster. In other words, the ant is self-motivated and does not need the overbearing presence of an overseer in order to work diligently. Often the young man does not accurately assess his slothfulness because perhaps he works hard when a parent, teacher, or coach is over them driving them forward. We are to learn wisdom from the ant and the ant has no such oversight.

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Proverbs 6:6

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
– Proverbs 6:6

Verses 6-11 warn against the folly of slothfulness, or laziness. Laziness was warned against in the previous section concerning delivering yourself from surety and here is addressed more bluntly. Sloth is addressed frequently in Proverbs and is always pitted against wisdom. Sluggard means a sluggish or lazy person. Verses 6-8 instruct the sluggard to consider the lowly ant as an example and a reproof. A few characteristics of the ant are considered, such as diligence, unwearied and persistent effort. The point here is not to humanize ants but the fact they aren’t human supplies a reproof. They do not have the capacity for wisdom a human has, and so when they act more wisely than a human does, it is a thorough rebuke. The ant is not only good for rebuke, but also instruction in wisdom and that is why the wise teacher directs attention there. In fact, it is a mark of wisdom to be able to learn from many different places and the things around you.

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