What does Proverbs 6:8 mean?
ESV: she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.
NIV: yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
NASB: Prepares its food in the summer And gathers its provision in the harvest.
CSB: it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest.
NLT: they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.
KJV: Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
NKJV: Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.
Verse Commentary:
The ant works hard during the summer and gathers food when it is available in order to have a supply on hand during winter. Soldier ants illustrate this truth. They gather enough food for not only themselves but also for the next generation. By doing this, they not only protect themselves from hard times, they provide security for their children. Earlier in this passage, Solomon encouraged lazy, irresponsible people to look to ants as a better example (Proverbs 6:6–7).

Proverbs 10:5 reinforces the importance of working hard to prepare for the future. This verse states: "He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame." Joseph is a classic example of someone who believed in preparing for the future. In a dream the pharaoh of Egypt saw seven good cows arise from the Nile that were followed by seven poor, very ugly, thin cows. The seven thin cows ate the seven plump cows. He also saw seven full ears of grain grow on one stalk followed by seven empty, blighted ears that ate them. Joseph interpreted the dream as meaning Egypt's agriculture would be enormously productive for seven years, but seven years of famine would follow. He advised Pharaoh to store one fifth of the plentiful produce as a reserve for the seven years of famine. Pharaoh believed the Spirit of God had given Joseph such wisdom, and he appointed Joseph the second-in-command over all Egypt (Genesis 41).
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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