Ecclesiastes 10:17

17 Blessed is the land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes eat at a proper time— for strength and not for drunkenness.

Read Ecclesiastes 10:17 Using Other Translations

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!
Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility, and your princes feast at the proper time, for strength, and not for drunkenness!
Happy is the land whose king is a noble leader and whose leaders feast at the proper time to gain strength for their work, not to get drunk.

What does Ecclesiastes 10:17 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Ecclesiastes 10:17

Blessed [art] thou, O land, when thy king is the son of
Or "heroes" F26, called "Hhorim" in the Hebrew, which signifies "white"; either from the white garment they wore, or rather from the purity and ingenuity of their minds and manners; being illustrious persons, not only by birth and education, but in their lives and actions. Now a land is happy when it is governed by a king that is not only descended from a race of heroes and illustrious men, and has a princely and liberal education; but that imitates his ancestors, and treads in their steps, and is famous himself for wisdom, virtue, and real piety, in which true nobility consists; and so the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "whose king is noble"; who is of an ingenuous mind, has princely virtues and qualifications; who is wise and prudent, skilful in the affairs of government, and assiduous and industrious therein; for as, on the one hand, kings may, as they commonly do, descend from illustrious progenitors, and yet be base and wicked, ignoble and infamous, in their administration; and, on the other hand, persons may be raised from a low estate to royal dignity, as David and others, and yet behave with great prudence and ingenuity. The Targum applies this to the land of Israel also, and instances in Hezekiah, a man mighty in the law; and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for
that is, eat their meals at proper times, and that after they have been at business; to refresh nature, and recruit their strength, that they may be fit for further service; and do not indulge themselves, and spend their time, in rioting and drunkenness; which would render them very unfit for public business, to sit in council, or in any court of judicature: according to the Targum, the time was four o'clock, that is, ten o'clock in the morning. Or, "not unto drinking" or "drunkenness" F1; they do not eat so as to cause an appetite, or eager desire for drinking to excess: or, not "with drinking" F2; their eating is not attended with excessive drinking; they eat and drink moderately. The Egyptians had a law, which fixed such a measure of wine to be allowed their kings daily, and no more F3; and it was Solon's law, given to the Athenians, that if a prince was found drunk, death was his punishment F4; and, with the Indians, if a woman killed a drunken king, her reward was to marry his successor F5: all which show how odious drunkenness was with the Heathens, and especially in their kings and princes; see ( Proverbs 31:4 Proverbs 31:5 ) . So Plato observes F6, that

``drunkenness ought to be abstained from; and rather it should be allowed to any than to a keeper, (that is, of a city and its laws, a Civil magistrate), for it would be ridiculous for a keeper to need a keeper.''
Jerom, as before observed, interprets this figuratively, "blessed is the land", of the church; whose "King" is Christ, the son of nobles, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and whose "princes" are the apostles, who seek not pleasure in this world, but shall eat in the world to come.

F26 (Myrwx) "heroum", Montanus.
F1 (ytvb alw) non "autem ad compotationem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Gejerus, Rambachius; so Broughton.
F2 "Non cum ingurgitatione", Cocceius; "non eum compotatione", Schmidt.
F3 Plutarch. de Iside & Osir. "in principio". Vid. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 3. c. 11.
F4 Laert. Vit. Solon. p. 38.
F5 Strabo. Geograph. l. 15. p. 488.
F6 De Republic. l. 3. p. 621.
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