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Summary: Ecclesiastes 10

THE FATE OF ALL FOOLS (ECCLESIASTES 10)

Mr Jones is driving past the state mental hospital when his left rear tire suffers a flat. While Mr Jones is changing the tire, another car goes by, running over the hub cap in which Mr Jones was keeping the lug nuts. the nuts are all knocked into a nearby storm drain.

Mr Jones is at a loss for what to do and is about to go call a cab when he hears a shout from behind the hospital fence, where one of the inmates has been watching the whole thing.

"Hey, pal! Why don't you just take one lug nut off each of the other three wheels? That'll hold your tires on until you can get to a garage or something."

Mr Jones is startled by the patient's seeming rationality, but realises the plan will work, and installs the spare tire without incident. Before he leaves, he calls back to the patient. "You know, that was pretty sharp thinking. Why do they have you in there?"

The patient smiles and says, "I'm in here because I'm crazy, not because I'm stupid."

Acutaully a fool is not crazy, so he is responsible for his temperament, tongue and talents; his actions, attitude and abilities; his walk, word and work.

What isa fooll? How is he diifferent from a wise man? Whyis it important for a fool to correct and change one¡¦s foolish ways?

Be Intelligent, not Impatient

1 As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. 2 The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. 3 Even as fools walk along the road, they lack sense and show everyone how stupid they are. 4 If a ruler¡¦s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great offenses to rest. 5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, the sort of error that arises from a ruler: 6 Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones. 7 I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves. 8 Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. 9 Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them. 10 If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.

Yesterday before this sermon (Jan 15, 2017) a neighbor told me a hilarious story of her three-year old daughter¡¦s first year enrolment test for an elite kindergarten few years ago. Nervously they waited for their turn at the interview. When the daughter¡¦s name was called, she was faced with a barrage of test.

The first one was to say one to ten in English, which was not a problem to her. The alphabets were much tougher to identitfy, almost failing in one alphabet. All was rosey, fine and dandy as they waited for the official reply. They were called in as they heard the offical answer. A teacher told the parents, ¡§Your daughter passed the exam but we still cannot accept her because she was not ¡¥still¡¦ enough.¡¨

These elite schools prefer to choose a quieter student to uphold their brand and promote an image.

The word ¡§fool¡¨ occurs an astonishing nine times in four different Hebrew words in the chapter (cikluwth vv 1, 13; keciyl vv 2, 12, 15; cakal vv 3 twice, 14; cekel v 6). The first three verses contrasted the two words foolishness and wisdom. A little folly is contrasted to bad ointment or stinking savour. The verb ¡§bad smell¡¨ is also translated as stink (Gen 34:30), to be abhorred (Ex 5:21), in abomination (1 Sam 13:4) and loathsome (Prov 13:5) (Think skunk , durian and arm pits). The odor is unbelievable, unbearable and unbecoming. The verb¡¨give/send forth¡¨ is the gentleman, weaker from other translations such as utter (Ps 19:2), belch out (Ps 59:7), abundantly utter (Ps 145:7), pour out (Prov 1:23) and flowing (Prov 18:4). It is forcful, furious and flowing, not faint, failing, or favorable. The point is not to approve, applaud or admire foolishness, but to avoid, avert or abandon it.

Right hand (v 2) is an honored position in the Bible. For example there are 41 occurences of ¡§right hand¡¨ in Psalms to none for ¡§left hand.¡¨ It is associated with power (Matt 26:64), exaltation (Acts 2:33) and glory (Acts 7:55) and majesty (Heb 1:3) in the New Testament.

Verse 3 talks about a fool¡¦s walking and talking. Walking is direction and talking is self-disclosure. There is no way to disguise, deflect or defer his walk and his words. It is in his posture, presentation and personality.

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