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Go to the Ant
Proverbs 6: 8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 She prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her sustenance in harvest.
She prepares her bread in summer: Here again, while it literally says she (singular ant) prepares, it is in a collective sense. Prepare (כּוּן kun) means to get ready in advance, which, in this case, the food (literally bread) is gathered and then stored for future use, i.e., the winter.
And gathers her sustenance in harvest: Here gather (אָגַר agar) is collecting the food. (Deut. 28:39; Prov. 6:8; 10:5) Here sustenance (מַאֲכָל maakal) has the same meaning as bread in the first line, both meaning food.
One reference work says, “Storing food during the harvest for use during the wintertime; the ant embodied two great virtues, diligence, and wisdom. Actually, the ants either enter a state of dormancy when it is cold or continue working all year round. Obviously, the ants’ endless carrying of grains, leaves, and matter to their ant-heaps must have been the grounds for the proverbial sayings.”
The ant has no chief, officer, or ruler. While it is true that they have a queen ant; however, she is simply responsible for laying eggs and serving as the colony’s mother. She does not give the ants any direction in carrying out their work. Therefore, the work of hundreds of thousands of ants in a given colony is carried out by hard work and wisdom. The ant wisely stores up its food in the summer, and at harvest, it stockpiles provisions.
The Israelite’s lesson was to gain from the ant was that they needed to be hard working. Whether he is being observed by a supervisor or not, he needs to work hard and strive to improve himself as a worker. For any Christian today, we, too, need to be doing our best in whatever we are doing because it brings either glory or reproach to our good name and, more importantly, to the name of God. This applies whether we are in the privacy of our home or at our place of employment, school, or religious services. There are far more benefits to being diligent than being lazy.
 Jesper Svartvik, “Ant”, in Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, ed. David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers and Astrid B. Beck, 66 (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2000).
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