Introduction to Ecclesiastes 10


This chapter treats of the difference between wisdom and folly; and of the preferableness of the one, to the other, especially in civil government: folly is compared to a dead or deadly fly; a little of which as much hurts a wise man's reputation, as that does the most precious ointment, Ec 10:1. A wise man and a fool differ in the situation of their heart; which is in the one on the right hand, in the other on the left, Ec 10:2; the folly of the latter lies not only in his heart, but betrays itself throughout the whole of his conversation, Ec 10:3. And it is one part of wisdom in a subject to bear patiently the anger of his prince, and not in a passion and at once leave his service, Ec 10:4. And, among the follies of princes, this is a great one; to bestow their honours and favours on improper persons, to the neglect of such as are deserving, Ec 10:5-7. And several proverbial expressions are used, as cautions to a wise man against plotting mischief to others; breaking in upon the constitution and laws of a commonwealth; weakening the strength of the state by an methods, and making discord in it, and carrying thin by mere strength and force; when, if wisdom used, it would direct to proper ways and means, by which things would be managed to the best advantage, Ec 10:8-10. Then the babbling of fools against a government is exposed, which is like the secret bite of a serpent, Ec 10:11; and the difference between the words of wise men, which express grace and kindness, and are amiable and acceptable to men; and those of fools, which destroy themselves, begin in folly, and end in mischief; are noisy, and without meaning; do not direct to things most plain and easy, but wearisome and fatiguing to themselves and others, Ec 10:12-15. Next the unhappiness of a land is observed, when the governors of it are childish, intemperate, slothful, and prodigal; the happiness of a country when it is the reverse, Ec 10:16-19; and the chapter is concluded with advice not to curse a king, or any great personage; no, not in the most private and secret manner; since, by one means or another, it will be discovered Ec 10:20.