Ecclesiastes 10:3 MEANING

Ecclesiastes 10:3
(3) That he is a fool.--In Hebrew, as in English, the antecedent of "he" may be taken differently, and so the Vulg. and other authorities understand the verse as meaning that the fool in his self-conceit attributes folly to everyone else. But it is better, as well as more obvious, to take the verse of the self-betrayal of the fool (Proverbs 13:16; Proverbs 17:28; Proverbs 18:2).

Verse 3. - Yea, also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way. As soon as ever he sets his foot outside the house, and mixes with other men, he exhibits his folly. If he remained at home he might keep his real ineptitude concealed; but such persons as he are unconscious of their inanity, and take no pains to hide it; they go where, they act as, their foolish heart prompts them. There is no metaphor here, nor any reference to the fool being put in the right path and perversely turning away. It is simply, as the Septuagint renders, Καί γε ἐν ὁδῷ ὅταν ἄφρων πορεύηται His wisdom (Hebrew, heart) faileth him. Ginsburg and others render, "He lacketh his mind," want of heart being continually taken in the Book of Proverbs as equivalent to deficiency of understanding (Proverbs 6:32; Proverbs 7:7, etc.). But Delitzsch and Wright consider the order of the words and the suffix to be against this view, and they translate as the Authorized Version, i.e. his understanding is at fault. And he saith to every one that he is a fool. The sentence is ambiguous, and capable of two interpretations. The Vulgate has, Cumipse insipiens sit, omnes stultos aestimat. Jerome quotes Symmachus as rendering, "He suspects all men that they are fools." According to this view, the fool in his conceit thinks that every one he meets is a fool, says this in his mind, like the sluggard in Proverbs 26:16, "Who is wiser in his own conceit than ten men that can render a reason." Another explanation, more closely in accordance with the foregoing clauses, takes the pronoun in "he is a fool" to refer to the man himself, se esse stultum (comp. Psalm 9:21 [20], "Let the nations know themselves to be but men"). As soon as he goes abroad, his words and actions display his real character; he betrays himself; he says virtually to all with whom he has to do, "I am a fool" (comp. Proverbs 13:16; Proverbs 18:2). It is hard to say to which interpretation the Septuagint inclines, giving, Καὶ α} λογιεῖται πάντα ἀφροσύνη ἐστίν, "And all that he will think is folly."

10:1-3 Those especially who make a profession of religion, should keep from all appearances of evil. A wise man has great advantage over a fool, who is always at a loss when he has anything to do. Sin is the reproach of sinners, wherever they go, and shows their folly.Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way,.... The king's highway, the common road; as he passeth along the streets, going to any place, or about any business:

his wisdom faileth him; or "his heart" (p); he appears by his gait, his manner of walking, to want a heart, to be a fool; walking with a froward mouth, winking with his eyes, speaking with his feet, and teaching with his fingers; all which shows the frowardness and folly of his heart, Proverbs 6:12; or he discovers it throughout his conversation, in all the actions of it, in whatsoever business he is concerned, and in all the affairs of life. The Targum is,

"when he walketh in a perplexed way;''

then his wisdom fails him; he does not know which way to take, whether to the right or left: this can never be understood of the highway of holiness, in which men, though fools, shall not err, Isaiah 35:8;

and he saith to everyone that he is a fool; his folly is manifest to all; he betrays it, by his words and actions, to every man he has to do with; his sins and transgressions, which are his folly, he hides not, they are evident to all; and, as the Targum expresses it,

"all say he is a fool:''

though indeed he himself says this of every other man, that he is a fool; for, according to the Vulgate Latin version, he, being a fool himself, thinks everybody else is so.

(p) "cor ejus", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

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