Ecclesiastes 10



More Wise Sayings (10:1–20)

1–20 In this chapter, the Teacher gives some additional sayings designed to help his readers live their lives more happily and productively. In verse 1, for example, the Teacher warns us that a reputation gained by much wisdom can quickly be lost by a little folly!

In verse 4, the Teacher advises us to endure the anger and displeasure of our leaders calmly, without leaving our post Proverbs 15:1); if we remain calm, any error we have made will be forgiven.

In verses 8–9, the Teacher tells us to work carefully in order to avoid harming ourselves. If we dig a pit on our property, we should remember where it is when we go out at night!

In verses 12–14, the Teacher shows us that fools and wise men can be distinguished by their words (see Proverbs 12:23; 15:2,28). Those who are empty of wisdom are often full of words! (verse 14).

In verses 16–17, the Teacher says that a land whose king was (formerly) a servant is a land that is cursed. The Teacher is referring to an unqualified upstart who has seized power, and who rules with arrogance and cruelty. The lesson is this: immature, unqualified people should not be thrust into leadership before they are ready (see 1 Timothy 3:6). Furthermore, such immature leaders are likely to be dissolute and self-indulgent; they may even get drunk at breakfast time!

In verse 19, the Teacher says that money is the answer for everything. This can be understood in several ways. Perhaps the Teacher was just quoting a common saying. Or perhaps he was saying that money will do more for a person than wine and feasting. Or he may have simply been saying that money is more useful; it can be used for anything.

Finally, in verse 20, the Teacher gives us a warning: do not criticize your leaders—even in your thoughts. A critical spirit is fatal to our well-being. If we nurture a critical spirit, some word will slip out, and we can be sure it will return to haunt us.