Ecclesiastes 10:8

8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

Ecclesiastes 10:8 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 10:8

He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it
This and the three following clauses are proverbial expressions, teaching men to be wise and cautious, lest by their conduct they bring mischief upon themselves; as it often is, the one that digs a pit for another, falls into it himself, as the wise man's father before him had observed, ( Psalms 7:15 Psalms 7:16 ) ( Psalms 9:15 Psalms 9:16 ) ; as kings that lay snares for their people, and subjects that plot against their sovereign; or courtiers that form schemes for the rain of those that are in their way; or any man that devises mischief against another, frequently so it is, that the same befalls them; as Haman, who prepared a gallows for Mordecai, was hanged on it himself; and whoso breaketh an hedge a serpent shall bite him;
which often lies hid in fences, in old walls, and rotten hedges F19, ( Amos 5:19 ) ( Acts 28:3 ) ; so he that breaks down the hedges and fences of kingdoms and commonwealths, and breaks through the fundamental laws of a civil constitution, and especially that transgresses the laws of God, moral or civil, may expect to smart for it. Jarchi interprets this hedge of the sayings of their wise men, which those that transgress shall suffer death by the hand of heaven: but it would be much better to apply it to the doctrines contained in the word of God, which are a hedge and fence to the church of God, and whoever transgress them will suffer for it; see ( 2 John 1:8 2 John 1:9 ) ; The Targum, by the "serpent", understands an ungodly king, who bites like a serpent, into whose hands such transgressors shall be delivered: and some have thought of the old serpent the devil, as Alshech, who deceived Adam and Eve.


F19 Nicander apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 1. c. 4. col. 26.

Ecclesiastes 10:8 In-Context

6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.
7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.
8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.
9 Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.
10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.