Ecclesiastes 4:5

5 Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves.

Read Ecclesiastes 4:5 Using Other Translations

The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.
The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.
“Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin.”

What does Ecclesiastes 4:5 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Ecclesiastes 4:5

The fool foldeth his hands together
In order to get more sleep, or as unwilling to work; so the Targum adds,

``he folds his hands in summer, and will not labour;''
see ( Proverbs 6:10 ) . Some persons, to escape the envy which diligence and industry bring on men, will not work at all, or do any right work, and think to sleep in a whole skin; this is great folly and madness indeed: and eateth his own flesh;
such a man is starved and famished for want of food, so that his flesh is wasted away; or he is so hungry bitten, that he is ready to eat his own flesh; or he hereby brings to ruin his family, his wife, and children, which are his own flesh, ( Isaiah 58:7 ) . The Targum is,
``in winter he eats all he has, even the covering of the skin of his flesh.''
Some understand this of the envious man, who is a fool, traduces the diligent and industrious, and will not work himself; and not only whose idleness brings want and poverty on him as an armed man, but whose envy eats up his spirit, and is rottenness in his bones, ( Proverbs 6:11 ) ( 14:30 ) . Jarchi, out of a book of theirs called Siphri, interprets this of a wicked man in hell, when he sees the righteous in glory, and he himself judged and condemned.
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