Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Proverbs 6:1-19 (ESV)
6 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger, 2 if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth, 3 then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into the hand of your neighbor: go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor. 4 Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; 5 save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler. 6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. 7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. 12 A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, 13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, 14 with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; 15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing. 16 There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
Chapter 6 begins with a series of practical teachings, which are sort of a preview of what we will find in chapters 10 – 15. Verses 1 – 5 teaches us to apologize quickly, preferably before the day is over. Just as it is easier to clean a dish right after supper before things have dried on, it is easier to keep short accounts and apologize as quickly as possible when we have said something hurtful. Verses 6 – 8 are the famous illustration of the ant. If we are lazy sluggards about our work, we will be poor. If ants with their tiny brains can keep on task, we have no excuse! Verses 9-11 have been used by many a parent trying to motivate their sleepy teenager to get up on a weekend. Finally, verses 12-19 focus on the 8th commandment (do not bear false witness). As we see, this includes not only deliberate lies, but other sneaky and malicious things we might do which would harm another’s reputation or cause discord.