Ecclesiastes 10:18

18 When the owner is lazy, the roof sags; when hands are idle, the house leaks.

Ecclesiastes 10:18 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 10:18

By much slothfulness the building decayeth
Or, "by slothfulnesses" F7, The word is in the dual number, and so may signify the slothfulness of the hands, as Aben Ezra, of both hands, and of both feet; or the various kinds of slothfulness, as the Arabic version, slothfulness both of body and mind; or of all sorts of persons, superiors and inferiors, princes and subjects; and with respect to all things present and future: and, as through slothfulness a material building decays; or a "beam", as the word signifies, the raftering of a house, the roof, which consists of rafters and beams joined together when the tiling is decayed by winds and rains, or any breaches made in the rafters, and no care taken to repair, the whole falls in, and the house is in ruins: so figurative buildings, families, churches, and kingdoms, come to nothing, through the sluggishness of masters of families, ministers of the word, and civil magistrates; to the latter of which more especially this is to be applied, who give up themselves to luxury and sloth; and, through idleness of the hands, the house droppeth through;
or, "through the letting" or "hanging down of the hands" F8; the remissness of them, as is to be observed in idle persons, who will not lift them up to work; particularly to repair a breach in a house, by means of which the rain drops through it, and makes it uncomfortable and unsafe being in it; and, in process of time, that itself drops to the ground: and this expresses the same thing, how, through the neglect of the civil magistrate, a commonwealth comes to nothing; or, however, the members of it become wretched and miserable.


F7 (Mytlueb) "in pigritiis", Montanus; "per duplicem pigritiam", Tigurine version; "pigritia amborum", Junius & Tremellius.
F8 (twlqvb) "per remissionem", Tigurine version; "demissione", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus; so Cocceius, Rambachius.

Ecclesiastes 10:18 In-Context

16 Woe to you, land, when your king is a child, and your leaders start their parties in the morning!
17 Happy are you, land, when your king is well-born, and your princes eat at the proper time, in order to stay strong, not to get drunk!
18 When the owner is lazy, the roof sags; when hands are idle, the house leaks.
19 Parties are made for having a good time, wine adds cheer to life, and money has an answer for everything.
20 Don't insult the king, not even in your thoughts; and don't insult the wealthy, not even in your bedroom; for a bird in the air might carry the news, a creature with wings might repeat what you said.
Complete Jewish Bible Copyright 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.