Proverbs 6:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 6:6, NIV: Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!

Proverbs 6:6, ESV: Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.

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

Proverbs 6:6, NASB: Go to the ant, you lazy one, Observe its ways and be wise,

Proverbs 6:6, NLT: Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise!

Proverbs 6:6, CSB: Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise.

What does Proverbs 6:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Solomon, the wise teacher, recommends a tiny creature as a positive example: the ant. This is meant to contrast the behavior of what he calls a "sluggard," also translated as "slacker." This is from a Hebrew term used only in the book of Proverbs, and which implies both laziness and irresponsibility. Rather than being the type of person easily dismissed as "a good-for-nothing," it's better to follow the example of the hard-working ant.

Laziness in the book of Proverbs is identified with unrighteousness (Proverbs 15:19), and deep sleep and hunger (Proverbs 19:15). The apostle Paul scorned laziness. He advised the Thessalonian Christians: "For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies" (2 Thessalonians 3:10–12). In his first letter to Timothy, Paul advised Timothy not to enroll younger widows in the church's welfare program, because "they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not" (1 Timothy 5:11–13).

Those who "cannot" work are not the same as those who "will not" work. Lazy people with too much time on their hands are a detriment to the faith.