Go to the ant, thou sluggard
That art become surety for another, and got into a snare and net, and yet takest no pains to get out. Or this may be directed, not to the surety, but the debtor; who, through his slothfulness, has contracted debts, and uses no industry to be in a capacity to pay them. Or, it may be, this has no connection with the former; but the wise man proceeds to a new subject, and to dissuade from idleness, which brings ruin on families, and leads to all sin; and, for the instruction of idle and slothful men, proposes the example of the ant, and sends them to it to learn industry of it F8; consider her ways;
what diligence and industry it uses in providing its food; which, though a small, weak, feeble creature, yet will travel over flints and stones, climb trees, enter into towers, barns, cellars, places high and low, in search of food; never hinder, but help one another in carrying their burdens; prepare little cells to put their provisions in, and are so built as to secure them from rain; and if at any time their corn is wet, they bring out and dry it, and bite off the ends of it, that it may not grow. These, with others, are taken notice of by Frantzius F9; and some of them by Gersom on the place; and be wise;
learn wisdom of it, and be wiser than that, as the Septuagint and Arabic versions: this is a mortification of proud men, that would be reckoned wise, to be sent to so despicable a creature to get wisdom from.
F8 So Horace gives it as an example of labour----"Parvula (nam exemplo est) magni formica laboris" Sermon. l. 1. Sat. 1. v. 33, 34, 35. & Phocylides, v. 152-159.
F9 Hist. Animal. Sacr. par. 5. c. 8. Vid. Aelian. Hist. Animal. l. 2. c. 25. & l. 6. c. 43.