Ecclesiastes 4:15

15 and I saw everyone rally to the rule of this young successor to the king.

Ecclesiastes 4:15 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 4:15

I considered all the living which walk under the sun
All men that were then alive, who were capable of walking upon the earth; even all of them that were under the heavens, in every land and nation, under whatsoever dominion or government: these, and their manners, Solomon had particularly observed, and made his remarks upon, by which it appeared how fickle the minds of the populace were under every government, and how precarious and uncertain were the honour and dignity of princes; with the second child that shall stand up in his stead:
the heir and successor or every prince, that shall rise up and take the throne of his father or predecessor, and reign in his stead. The wise man observed how the people commonly behaved towards him; how that they generally stood best affected to him, than to the reigning prince; worshipped the rising sun, courted his favour and friendship, soothed and flattered him; expressing their wishes to see him on the throne, and treated with neglect and contempt their lawful sovereign. Some, contrary to the accents, connect this with the word "walk" F8; that walk with the second child, join themselves to him, converse with him, and show him great respect and honour: and there are others that, by this second child, understand the poor and wise child, that succeeds the old and foolish king, whom yet, in time, the people grow weary of; such is the levity and inconstancy of people, that they are not long pleased with princes, old or young, wise or foolish. The Targum interprets this of the foresight Solomon had, by a spirit of prophecy, of those that rebelled against his son Rehoboam, and of those that cleaved unto him, who was his second, and reigned in his stead. Noldius


F9 thinks Solomon refers to the history of his friend Hiram, king of Tyre, whose kingdom, in his and in his son's time, was very large, flourishing, and opulent, but in a following reign not so; and he renders and paraphrases the words thus,
``"I saw all the works under the sun; [with] Baleazarus, the son of a friend" (Hiram, for (ynv) , rendered "second", is the same as (rbx) , "a friend"), "who shall stand" or "reign after him: there is no end of all the people",'' &c.
the kingdom in those two reigns being flourishing; yet posterity shall not rejoice in him, in Abdastratus, the grandson of Hiram, destroyed by the four sons of his nurse F11.
F8 So the Tigurine version, Vatablus, Cocceius, Gejerus.
F9 Concord. Part. Ebr. No. 1023.
F11 Meander apud Joseph. Contr. Apion. l. 1. s. 18.

Ecclesiastes 4:15 In-Context

13 A poor youngster with some wisdom is better off than an old but foolish king who doesn't know which end is up.
14 I saw a youth just like this start with nothing and go from rags to riches,
15 and I saw everyone rally to the rule of this young successor to the king.
16 Even so, the excitement died quickly, the throngs of people soon lost interest. Can't you see it's only smoke? And spitting into the wind?
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.