Chapter 10

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1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.

3 Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.

4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.

5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:

6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.

7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.

8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

9 Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.

10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.

11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.

12 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.

13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.

14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?

15 The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.

16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!

17 Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.

19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.

20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

Commentary for Ecclesiastes 10

To preserve a character for wisdom. (1-3) Respecting subjects and rulers. (4-10) Of foolish talk. (11-15) Duties of rulers and subjects. (16-20)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.

4-10 Solomon appears to caution men not to seek redress in a hasty manner, nor to yield to pride and revenge. Do not, in a passion, quit thy post of duty; wait awhile, and thou wilt find that yielding pacifies great offences. Men are not preferred according to their merit. And those are often most forward to offer help, who are least aware of the difficulties, or the consequences. The same remark is applied to the church, or the body of Christ, that all the members should have the same care one for another.

11-15 There is a practice in the East, of charming serpents by music. The babbler's tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison; and contradiction only makes it the more violent. We must find the way to keep him gentle. But by rash, unprincipled, or slanderous talk, he brings open or secret vengeance upon himself. Would we duly consider our own ignorance as to future events, it would cut off many idle words which we foolishly multiply. Fools toil a great deal to no purpose. They do not understand the plainest things, such as the entrance into a great city. But it is the excellency of the way to the heavenly city, that it is a high-way, in which the simplest wayfaring men shall not err, #Isa 25:8|. But sinful folly makes men miss that only way to happiness.

16-20 The happiness of a land depends on the character of its rulers. The people cannot be happy when their princes are childish, and lovers of pleasure. Slothfulness is of ill consequence both to private and public affairs. Money, of itself, will neither feed nor clothe, though it answers the occasions of this present life, as what is to be had, may generally be had for money. But the soul, as it is not redeemed, so it is not maintained with corruptible things, as silver and gold. God sees what men do, and hears what they say in secret; and, when he pleases, brings it to light by strange and unsuspected ways. If there be hazard in secret thoughts and whispers against earthly rulers, what must be the peril from every deed, word, or thought of rebellion against the King of kings, and Lord of lords! He seeth in secret. His ear is ever open. Sinner! curse not THIS KING in thy inmost thought. Your curses cannot affect Him; but his curse, coming down upon you, will sink you to the lowest hell.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Ecclesiastes 10

  • Sandy
    Some people love money so much they will do anything for it
  • Sandy
    WOW The devil is tricky! 1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
  • A disciple
    "Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better." For the ones who have had a lifetime of selfishness and the need to be constantly validated and approved, it is an especially difficult way to learn the discipline of Christ. Some grow up in households where so-called liberal views prevail and the heathen mentality is presumed to be Natural; but God's grace is greater.
  • Exegesis 1
    Ecclesiastes is a 'wisdom book'. In his writings, the Preacher has stated that all history and human activity is subject to the Sovereign Will of God (3:11, 7:13). In chapter 10, the Preacher compartmentalizes both the spiritual and the natural world; 'feasting brings laughter, wine brings joy, and money answers everything', but Yahweh will Judge all.
  • Ruthette
    In the natural things of life , money is the solution. God will supply for all our needs,
    even money. God gives us the power to get wealth.
  • Cornelius Omotola for verse 8
    Ecclesiastes 10:8, is actually meant for the evil doers, that they cannot go unpunished for whatever acts of evil they must have done to fellow human beings, because God hate wickedness.
  • Reinarudo Watanabe
    ECCLESIASTES 10:19 COMMENTS 5 02 2015 4:10 AM Not because we do not need money, but we need in every day living only. In Luke 16:13 we cannot serve two masters. Temporal things is good, but the eternal things is the best. 2 Cor4:17-18 . Lord, thank you for the wealth is in you. A-men.
  • Xolani Dlamini for verse 19
    Money must luv us,not us Luv money but we must remember that be poor is not on God will.When you read the bible many they were having farm,cow including Jesus was having present of gold when was born.Bible say treasure is hidden in Christ so we must luv Christ and we will have money.
  • Anoldis M for verse 19
    im born again ...I love my Jesus n l love the money that He blesses me with to bless others N by the way Jesus had a TREASURER
  • EDDY SUSELO for verse 19
    I totally agree, money is very important, but it is not the most important thing.

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Bible Trivia

According to the 'Preacher' of Ecclesiastes, should a person in authority rise up and be angry with us, how should we respond?
  • We should start gaining support for our cause
  • We should move away
  • We should resist
  • We should be gentle and submissive