What does Proverbs 6:6 mean?
ESV: Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.
NIV: Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
NASB: Go to the ant, you lazy one, Observe its ways and be wise,
CSB: Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise.
NLT: Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise!
KJV: Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 6:6–11 turns Solomon's attention to the subject of laziness. The term translated here as "sluggard" or "slacker" implies something more than being unmotivated; it also includes irresponsibility and laziness. Such persons put themselves at risk of ruin. Even if they can get by, in the present, a lack of preparation means they will not survive a crisis. In contrast, Solomon suggests the example of the ant: a creature who works diligently and is therefore able to endure harder times.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter provides teaching on two aspects of wealth management. The first is avoiding putting one's property in debt for the sake of some other person's risky investment. The other warns against laziness, indicating that it puts a person at risk for sudden ruin. Solomon then poetically explains attitudes and actions which God finds especially repulsive. Next, Solomon returns to the subject of adultery. He reiterates the inherent risks of sexual immorality, including the catastrophic consequences which it brings. That lesson continues into the following chapter.
Chapter Context:
This chapter of Proverbs continues the wise sayings Solomon addresses to his son. In chapter 5 he addresses adultery and marriage. In this chapter he addresses financial matters, work ethics, characteristics and conduct the Lord despises, and sexual immorality. A common theme of these lessons is to avoid the natural consequences of foolish choices. The next chapter describes the adulteress's ways and the pitfalls involved in committing adultery with her.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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