Ecclesiastes 9:16

16 So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.

Read Ecclesiastes 9:16 Using Other Translations

Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man's wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.
So even though wisdom is better than strength, those who are wise will be despised if they are poor. What they say will not be appreciated for long.

What does Ecclesiastes 9:16 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Ecclesiastes 9:16

Then said I, wisdom [is] better than strength
Wisdom of mind, even in a poor man, is better than strength of body, even of the, most potent prince and powerful army, as may be concluded from the above instance; since the poor wise man could do more by his wisdom than the great king with his mighty army; who was obliged to break up the siege, in consequence of the counsel given, or the methods directed to, or taken, by the poor man; nevertheless, the poor man's wisdom [is] despised, and his words are
not heard;
notwithstanding such a flagrant instance and example as this just mentioned; yet men still retain their prejudices against a poor man, and despise his wise counsels and advice, for no other reason but because he is poor, and will not attend to what he says: or, "though the poor man's wisdom" F11, as Aben Ezra; Solomon drew the above conclusion from that instance; though this is usually the case, that men despise the wisdom of a poor man, and will not listen to his advice, this did not lessen the wise man's opinion of it. The words may be rendered, "even the poor man's wisdom despised, and his words not heard" F12; these are better than outward force and strength, and more serviceable and useful; which the Septuagint version favours: the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "how is the poor man's wisdom despised!" &c. as wondering at it that so it should be, when so much profit and advantage arose to the city from it.


F11 (tmkxw) "quamvis sapientia", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Gejerus, Amama; "etsi", Drusius.
F12 "Et pauperis sapientiam contemptam" Tigurine version.
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