Summary: A study of chapter 10 verses 1 through 20
Ecclesiastes 10: 1 – 20
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.
I have always had a problem with saying the word ‘fool’ because of what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 5, “21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire” However, our Precious Holy Spirit has seen fit to talk about this condition as we will see in chapter 10 of Ecclesiastes, So, let’s have a go at what our Holy God wants to teach us.
I have observed that many of us do not know what certain words mean. So, the first question I would like to ask is. ‘what is a fool?’
Our Holy Master tells us in Psalms 53 verse 1, “ 1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good.”
Wow! That says a lot. So, we can deduce that a ‘fool’ is a non-believer. That fact would necessitate us to ask then, ‘Can a Christian be a fool?’ 2 Chronicles chapter 16 verse 9 informs us, “9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”
So, the answer is that we cannot be a fool, but we can act foolishly. We will be seeing from God’s Holy Word what happens when we take our eyes off of Him and focus our attention solely on our own issues.
Another word for ‘foolish’ or ‘foolishness’ is ‘folly’. This describes a person who ‘goes his own way’ or is ‘thick headed’. It is a person who puts their faith is our Holy Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for ‘salvation’ but does not keep Him as ‘Lord’. It describes a person who has one foot in the world while the other is trying to fit into the world. If we attempt to act like this it will ruin our reputation and cut off our influence.