|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
30:24-28. Four things that are little, are yet to be admired. There are those who are poor in the world, and of small account, yet wise for their souls and another world. 29-33. We may learn from animals to go well; also to keep our temper under all provocations. We must keep the evil thought in our minds from breaking out into evil speeches. We must not stir up the passions of others. Let nothing be said or done with violence, but every thing with softness and calmness. Alas, how often have we done foolishly in rising up against the Lord our King! Let us humble ourselves before him. And having found peace with Him, let us follow peace with all men.
Verse 25. - The ants are a people not strong. The ant is proposed as an example to the sluggard (Proverbs 6:6, etc.). He calls the ants a people, am, because they live in a community, and have authorities which they obey, and their actions are regulated by certain definite laws. So Joel (Joel 1:6) calls the locusts a nation, and Homer ('Iliad,' 2:87) speaks of ἔθνεα μελισσάων ἀδινάων, "the tribes of thronging bees." Yet they prepare their meat in the summer. In countries where ants hybernate the object of this commended foresight is mistaken; but the statement, as that in Proverbs 6:6-8, is in accordance with the popular belief of the day, and serves well to point the moral intended. We know certainly that in Europe these insects fill their nests with heterogeneous articles - grain, seeds, husks, etc., not as stores to be consumed in the winter, but for warmth and comfort's sake. Scripture is not intended to teach science; it speaks of such matters phenomenally, with no attempt at a precision which would not have been understood or appreciated by contemporaries. But in the present case more careful observation has confirmed the correctness of the asset. tions in our proverbs. In countries where, ants do not hybernate, they do make granaries for themselves in the summer, and use these supplies as food in the winter months (see note on Proverbs 6:8).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The ants are a people not strong,.... Far from it; what is weaker than an ant? a multitude of them may be destroyed at once, with the crush of a foot. Pliny calls it "minimum animal", the least animal; and the Arabians use it as a proverb, to call a weak man one weaker than an ant: and there is one sort of ants called "dsar", so small that one hundred of them will not weigh more than a barley corn (g): they are called a people, because they associate together in great numbers; though small in bulk, and weak as to power and strength; and which is a figure elsewhere used in the sacred Scriptures; see Joel 1:6; and by profane writers, as Homer and Virgil, who speak of bees as a people and nation (h); and of nations of flies, and of flying birds, geese, cranes, and swans (i);
yet their prepare their meat in the summer; build granaries with great art and wisdom, carry in grains of corn with great labour and industry, in the summer season, when only to be got, and lay them up against winter. Phocylides (k) the poet says much the same things of them; he calls them a tribe or nation, small but laborious, and says, they gather and carry in their food in summer for the winter, which is a proof of their wisdom. Cicero (l) says, the ant has not only sense, but mind, reason, and memory. Aelianus (m) ascribes unspeakable wisdom to it; and Pliny (n) discourse and conversation; See Gill on Proverbs 6:6; see Gill on Proverbs 6:7; See Gill on Proverbs 6:8. It is a pattern of industry and diligence both as to temporal and spiritual things, Ecclesiastes 9:10.
(g) Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 4. c. 22. col. 598. (h) Iliad. 2. v. 87. "Et populos et proelia dicam", Georgic. l. 4. v. 4, 5. (i) Iliad. 2. v. 459, 469. & 15. v. 690, 691. (k) Poem. Admon. v. 158, 159. (l) De Natura Deorum, l. 3.((m) De Animal. l. 16. c. 15. (n) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 30.
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