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Bible Commentaries
Ecclesiastes 10

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-20

  1. Intro: Wise or Otherwise
    1. (bumper sticker) “I took an IQ test and the results were negative.”
    2. Common sense isn't as common as it used to be. Will Rogers
    3. The wages of sin is stupidity.
    1. (1) Folly/fool is used 9 x’s in this section.
      1. Folly creates problems for those who commit it.
        1. He already compared a good name to a fragrant perfume (7:1). So he uses the same image.
    2. Who is the fool of scripture?
      1. The fool in Proverbs is assured a destructive fate (Prov 10:14, 21). This destruction comes in part because of his rebellious attitude (Prov 10:8). Fools refuse instruction or discipline (Prov 15:5; 16:22; 17:10). Instead, they recklessly get themselves into trouble (Prov 14:16; 18:6). They are also arrogant (Prov 12:15) and untrustworthy (Prov 26:6). Fools speak impulsively and argumentatively (Prov 20:3; 29:9, 11).
    3. There is a moral aspect to the fool.
      1. Job called his wife foolish when she advised him to curse God and die (Job 2:10). The fool prefers evil (Prov 10:23; 13:19) & rejects God (Ps 14:1). He rejects repentance (Prov 14:12), choosing instead to repeat his folly (Prov 26:11; 27:22). Fools tend to bring others down to their level (Prov 26:4) and should be avoided(Prov 13:20; 14:7).
    4. The Perfumer’s ointment was created by blending different spices.
      1. The addition of something small, such as a dead fly, would ruin the perfume.
      2. What are the dead flies that must be taken out of your life?
        1. A little house fly of pride? A horsefly of jealousy? A blowfly temper?
    5. (2) Right hand, left hand?
      1. In the bible times right hand referred to honor & the left, dishonor. [Mt.25 sheep/goats]
        1. Our English word sinister comes from the Latin word that means on the left hand.
    6. Why is one wise & another foolish? It is a heart issue.
      1. Our heart is the center of our life, our master control that governs the issues of life.
        1. Prov.4:23nlt Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
    7. (3) You can identify fools just by the way they walk down the street. NLT
    8. Conclusion: A wise person will stay away from folly.
    9. Now lets look at 4 different fools not to imitate:
      1. Foolish Rulers. Foolish Workers. Foolish Talkers. Foolish Leaders.
    1. ​​​​​​​If anyone needs wisdom it’s the ruler of a country.
      1. It’s what Solomon asked for when God asked him what he wanted.
    2. (4a) A ruler ought to 1st possess control over himself before he tries to control other people.
    3. (4b) He says don’t run, stay right there, seek to bring peace.
    4. (5-7) It’s foolish to put fools in high places & qualified people in the low offices.
      1. The servants in this verse were people who had neither dignity nor competence and yet were in a position of authority.
      2. These verses describe situations where people have been placed in inappropriate positions.
        1. Fools and servants are elevated to positions of authority & respect, while the rich and powerful are put in positions of servitude.
          1. Here, the author is concerned with unfair or unjust situations.
      3. Solomon’s son Rehoboam was a good example of that.
        1. His pride & unyielding spirit led to the division of the nation (1 Kings 12).
        2. He followed the advice of young friends instead of the advice of the wise counselors. [Lighten harsh labor? The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.” But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers]
    5. (7) He, in a sense, made the old men to walk & put the young men on horses.
      1. We need to put the best on horses & not apologize for it.
    1. ​​​​​​​He’s not teaching that hard work is bad.
      1. In each instance, normal day to day activities - digging a pit, tearing down a wall, breaking rocks, or cutting wood - are interrupted by some sort of accident, illustrating humanity’s limited ability to know or control future circumstances.
    2. (11) Snake charmers were common as entertainers in that day.
      1. Snakes have no external ears. They pick up sound waves primarily through the bone structure of the head. More than the music played by the charmer, it is the man’s disciplined actions (swaying & staring) that hold the snakes attention & keep the serpent under control. It is indeed an art. www
        1. This snake charmer just wanted to collect his money & move on. He was careless, presumptuous & overconfident.
  5. ​​​​​​​FOOLISH TALKERS (12-15)
    1. ​​​​​​​Their words were Destructive, Unreasonable, Uncontrollable & Boastful.
    2. (12) Destructive – swallow him up
      1. Anyone struggle w/speaking gracious words?
      2. Jesus always knew what to say & when to say it. The Lord God has given Me​​​​​​​ The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. Is.50:4
      3. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​On the other hand, the left hand :) the fool just blurts it out.
      4. End result: the foolish talker ends up getting swallowed up by his own lips.
        1. He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction. Prov.13:3
    3. (13) Unreasonable – raving madness
    4. We’ve all met people who can talk about any subject that you can bring up.
      1. You usually learn of their ignorance when they step on a subject your very familiar with (I like to play ignorant & listen…till they hang themselves)
    5. (14) Uncontrollable – multiplies words
      1. Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak, and to speak well, are two different things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.
    6. (14b,15) Boastful – no man knows
    7. Foolish people talk of the future as though they know all about it…
      1. Reminds me of the Psychic who always answers the phone, I knew you’d call!
      2. Prov.27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.
    8. (15b) The comedy here is that they knew so much about the future, yet needed to ask directions to the next well marked city.
    1. ​​​​​​​(16,17) Indulgence
      1. Real leaders use their authority to build the nation, while mere officeholders use the nation to build their authority. www
      2. Leaders should be spiritually mature & this comes by obedience to the will of God.
      3. A Statesman asks, what is best for my country?
    2. A Politician asks, what is best for my party?A mere Officeholder asks, what is most profitable for me?
    3. (18) Incompetence
    4. These guys were so busy w/Enjoyment, they didn’t have time for Employment.
      1. When this happens the building or the organization starts to fall apart.
        1. Laziness seems to pinpoint their problem. If I rest, I rust. Martin Luther.
        2. Woodrow Wilson wrote, A friend of mine says that every man who takes office in Washington either grows or swells; when I give a man an office, I watch him carefully to see whether he is swelling or growing.
    5. (19) Indifference
    6. This seems to be the personal philosophy of the foolish rulers.
    7. (20) Indiscretion
    8. Don’t curse your Leader even in your thought/mind. wow!
      1. ​​​​​​​From Ex.22:28 You must not dishonor God or curse any of your rulers.
      2. Why not? Because it will get back to them.
      3. May carry your voice - similar to the modern phrase the walls have ears.
        1. ​​​​​​​Probably where we got, a little birdie told me.
    9. Lesson: We must live by Gods Wisdom not on our Folly.
      1. “Some people fall for everything and stand for nothing.”
      2. Never do something permanently stupid just because you are temporarily upset.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 10". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/ecclesiastes-10.html. 2017.
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