Ecclesiastes 10


‘As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honour. The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. Even as fools walk along the road, they lack sense and show everyone how stupid they are. If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great offences to rest.’ Ecclesiastes 10:1-4

As we begin this chapter, we see that is a continuing thought from Ecclesiastes 9:18. Solomon begins by saying that anyone can build a great reputation for themselves but it only takes one sin to destroy that whole reputation.

We must always remember that people are watching us, and if we act in such a way which doesn’t reflect that we belong to God, then everything we’ve done up until that point is worthless.

The right hand usually speaks about power and authority, Acts 7:55–56 / Romans 8:34 / Ephesians 1:20 / Colossians 3:1, however here it’s used to distinguish right from wrong. The right hand represents good and right and the left hand represents darkness and evil.

We must be careful to gather all the facts before we make any judgments about others, otherwise, we will be foolish. If we speak too much, we can end up speaking lies and come to the conclusion that we know more than we actually do, this too is foolishness. If anyone is too quick to resign from any position, despite having charges against them, is also a fool.

‘There is an evil I have seen under the sun, the sort of error that arises from a ruler: Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones. I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves.’ Ecclesiastes 10:5-7

Solomon here is dealing with those who have been appointed into positions of power and influence, however, in doing so, they neglect the wise, Proverbs 19:10 / Proverbs 30:21-22. In other words, the wise must be included in governments, if not the nation will come to ruin.

‘Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them. If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success. If a snake bites before it is charmed, the charmer receives no fee.’ Ecclesiastes 10:8-11

Life has its dangers, even for those who are extra careful, so we need wisdom every day of our lives. Someone once said that ‘common sense isn’t all that common’, this is true of the fool, wisdom must be used before and throughout we plan to do anything in life.

‘Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. At the beginning their words are folly; at the end they are wicked madness—and fools multiply words. No one knows what is coming—who can tell someone else what will happen after them? The toil of fools wearies them; they do not know the way to town.’ Ecclesiastes 10:12-15

There are times when we have no one to blame for what happens to us, than ourselves. Many people come to ruin because of their own words and actions, we see this happening in the political world, where MPs promise the earth and deliver nothing. We have politicians who speak about things they have no clue about and the general public can tell, this too will bring about their ruin.

We need to learn to think before we speak because there are those who speak so much that they reveal just how insecure they really are. These are the people who don’t understand what’s happening here and now, never mind what’s going to happen in the future. In all truthfulness, even those who are wise can’t know what the future will bring by looking at their present situation.

These fools speak so much but they can’t teach us anything because they don’t even know the way to town.

‘Woe to the land whose king was a servant and whose princes feast in the morning. Blessed is the land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes eat at a proper time—for strength and not for drunkenness. Through laziness, the rafters sag; because of idle hands, the house leaks. A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry, and money is the answer for everything. Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird in the sky may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say.’ Ecclesiastes 10:16-20

Any country that doesn’t have experienced leaders in place will not last very long. The king here and his so-called officials were busy feasting in the morning, but their judgments were being twisted because of their drunken state, Isaiah 5:8-23 / Jeremiah 50:27 / Hosea 7:13 / Amos 6:1.

However, if the king has been raised by a father who continually reminded him about the importance of government, then that same country will have wise leadership. It’s then that the leaders of those countries will set up feasts at the right time, that is when they don’t have those drunken officials beside them, twisting their judgments.

While the officials indulge themselves with food and drink and look out for their own selfish needs, the country simply falls into ruin. We must remember though that we’re not to curse the king, the reason for this is simple, it prevents chaos in the country, Romans 12:1-7. The idea of government is God’s idea and he wants all people to be governed, Ecclesiastes 8:15.

Go To Ecclesiastes 11


"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."