|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:6-11 Diligence in business is every man's wisdom and duty; not so much that he may attain worldly wealth, as that he may not be a burden to others, or a scandal to the church. The ants are more diligent than slothful men. We may learn wisdom from the meanest insects, and be shamed by them. Habits of indolence and indulgence grow upon people. Thus life runs to waste; and poverty, though at first at a distance, gradually draws near, like a traveller; and when it arrives, is like an armed man, too strong to be resisted. All this may be applied to the concerns of our souls. How many love their sleep of sin, and their dreams of worldly happiness! Shall we not seek to awaken such? Shall we not give diligence to secure our own salvation?
Verse 7. - Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler. This statement is substantially correct, for though the most recent observations made by modern naturalists have discovered various classes of ants occupying the same ant hill, yet there appears to be a total want of that gradation and subordination in ant life which is noticeable among bees. The three terms used here, katsa, shoter, moshel, all refer to government, and correspond respectively with the modern, Arabic terms, kadi, wall, and emir (Zockler). The first refers to the judicial office, and should rather be rendered "judge," the root katsah being "to decide" (see Isaiah 1:10; Isaiah 3:6, 7; Micah 3:9). The word, however, is used of a military commander in Joshua 10:24; Judges 2:6-11, and in this sense it is understood by the Vulgate, which has dux. Shoter, rendered "overseer," is literally "a scribe," and appears as the general designation for any official In Exodus 5:6, 19 the shoter is the person employed by the Egyptian taskmasters to urge on the Israelites in their forced labour; in Numbers 11:16 the shoter is one of the seventy elders; and in 1 Chronicles 23:4 he is a municipal magistrate. The meaning assigned to the word in the Authorized Version seems to be the correct one. The ant has no overseer; there is none to regulate or see that the work is done. Each ant apparently works independently of the rest, though guided by a common instinct to add to the common store. In moshel we have the highest title of dignity and power, the word signifying a lord, prince, or ruler, from mashal, "to rule."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler. None to guide and direct her what to do; nor any to overlook her, to see that she does aright, or to oblige her to work, and keep her to it; nor any to call her to an account, and correct her for doing amiss; and nevertheless diligent and industrious, doing everything of herself, by the instinct of nature, readily and willingly: and yet how slothful are men; who, besides the dictates of nature, reason, and conscience, have parents, masters, ministers, and magistrates, to guide, direct, exhort, instruct, and enforce! so Aristotle (k) says of the ant, that it is without any ruler or governor.
(k) Hist. de Animal. l. 1. c. 1.
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