Articles and Notes

Ecclesiastes 10


Chapter Ten


1) To compare the harm of folly and the value of wisdom

2) To see the impact of folly on one's reputation, the government, and
in business


The Preacher continues to share wisdom that can help endure the many
vanities in life.   This chapter is filled with proverbial statements,
in which he first deplores folly and the affect it can have on one's
reputation (1-3). 

The Preacher also describes how folly is often manifested in government,
and in one's life and labors.  The land suffers when governed by foolish
men, and labor is made even more difficult.  Yet wisdom can bring
success to one's endeavors, and blessings to the land when found in the
conduct of those who lead (4-20).



      1. Like dead flies putrefy the perfumer's ointment
      2. So folly is to one respected for wisdom and honor

      1. The wise man's heart is at his right hand
      2. The fool's heart is at his left hand (in the wrong place)

      1. A fool walks along the way without wisdom
      2. He shows everyone that he is a fool


      1. Do not leave your post
      2. Allow conciliation to pacify great offense

      1. An evil observed by the Preacher (5-7)
         a. Error proceeding from the ruler
         b. Folly exalted while the rich are debased
         c. Servants in power while true princes are humbled
      2. Those who labor with foolishness hurt and hinder themselves
         a. As illustrated through several examples given by the
         b. The wisdom of the wise will know how to expedite his labors
      3. The foolish seldom know how to restrain themselves (11-15)
         a. They do not know how to hold their tongues
         b. They do not know how to direct their labor
      4. How folly and wisdom affect the condition of the country
         a. Woe to the land whose leaders...
            1) Are childish and feast in the morning
            2) Are lazy, resulting in broken down buildings
         b. Blessed is the land whose leaders...
            1) Feast at the proper time
            2) Successfully rule, providing for true happiness and
               meeting every need
      5. Be careful what you say (20)
         a. Do not curse the king
         b. Do not curse the rich
         c. For what you say will likely reach their ears


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Folly deplored (1-3)
   - Folly manifested (4-20)

2) What comparison is used to illustrate how folly ruins the reputation
   of the wise? (1)
   - As dead flies cause the perfumer's ointment to give off a foul odor

3) Where is the heart of a wise man?  The heart of the foolish man? (2)
   - At his right hand; at his left hand

4) When does the fool display his folly to everyone? (3)
   - Even when he walks along the way

5) How should one respond when the spirit of the ruler rises against
   them? (4)
   - By remaining at their post (i.e., maintaining their faithfulness)
   - By seeking conciliation

6) What evil had the Preacher seen under the sun pertaining to
   government? (5-7)
   - Error proceeding from the ruler
   - Folly set in great dignity while the rich are set in a lowly place
   - Servants on horses while princes walk on the ground

7) What four illustrations appear to depict the lack of wisdom in
   business? (8-9)
   - Digging a pit, then falling into it
   - Breaking through a wall, only to be bit by a serpent
   - Being hurt by the stone one quarries
   - Endangered by the wood one splits

8) When the ax is dull, what is required?  What will bring success? (10)
   - More strength; wisdom

9) To what is a babbler compared? (11)
   - A serpent that may bite when not charmed

10) How are the words of the wise?  What will the lips of a fool do to
    him? (12)
   - Gracious
   - Swallow him up

11) What do the words of a fool begin with?  How do they end? (13)
   - Foolishness; with raving madness

12) What else is said about a fool? (14-15)
   - He multiplies his words
   - His labor wearies him

13) When is there woe upon the land? (16)
   - When the king is a child, and the princes feast in the morning

14) When is a land blessed? (17)
   - When the king is the son of nobles, and princes feast at the proper

15) What is evidence of laziness and idleness? (18)
   - Decaying buildings and leaking houses

16) What observations are made about feasting, wine and money? (19)
   - Feasting is made for laughter
   - Wine makes merry
   - Money answers everything

17) Why should one not curse the king nor the rich? (20)
   - What you say (even in private) may eventually get back to them

Ecclesiastes 10

Wisdom superior to folly

[Ecc 10:1-20 NKJV] 1 Dead flies putrefy the perfumer's ointment, And cause it to give off a foul odor; [So does] a little folly to one respected for wisdom [and] honor. 2 A wise man's heart [is] at his right hand, But a fool's heart at his left. 3 Even when a fool walks along the way, He lacks wisdom, And he shows everyone [that] he [is] a fool. 4 If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, Do not leave your post; For conciliation pacifies great offenses. 5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, As an error proceeding from the ruler: 6 Folly is set in great dignity, While the rich sit in a lowly place. 7 I have seen servants on horses, While princes walk on the ground like servants. 8 He who digs a pit will fall into it, And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent. 9 He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, [And] he who splits wood may be endangered by it. 10 If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success. 11 A serpent may bite when [it is] not charmed; The babbler is no different. 12 The words of a wise man's mouth [are] gracious, But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up; 13 The words of his mouth begin with foolishness, And the end of his talk [is] raving madness. 14 A fool also multiplies words. No man knows what is to be; Who can tell him what will be after him? 15 The labor of fools wearies them, For they do not even know how to go to the city! 16 Woe to you, O land, when your king [is] a child, And your princes feast in the morning! 17 Blessed [are] you, O land, when your king [is] the son of nobles, And your princes feast at the proper time--For strength and not for drunkenness! 18 Because of laziness the building decays, And through idleness of hands the house leaks. 19 A feast is made for laughter, And wine makes merry; But money answers everything. 20 Do not curse the king, even in your thought; Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; For a bird of the air may carry your voice, And a bird in flight may tell the matter.


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