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Bible Commentaries

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ecclesiastes 10

Introduction

Resuming the subject touched upon in the second half of Ecc 9:19, the writer cheers the people of God, groaning under the tyranny of the world, by directing attention to the fact that their enemies, (in the first instance the Persians) were given up to folly and its destructive influences. Where folly rules, destruction cannot be far off, as it is said, “thou didst hide their heart from understanding, therefore shalt thou not suffer them to remain exalted,” ( Job 17:4).

Verse 1

Ecclesiastes 10:1. Not without significance is it said, “Flies of death,” arid not “dead flies,” although these are meant. The effect described is not produced by flies as such; but is so entirely connected with death, that instead of flies any other dead thing might have been mentioned. “Dead flies,” are only specified because they find their way first of all to the salve pot, and because the author wished to adduce some small thing. Physical death is the more prominently referred to as its correspondent, in spiritual things, is folly. The employment of the singular of the verb יבאיש calls special attention to it. When special emphasis is meant to be laid on the second word in the stat. constr., the verb is accommodated to it. That the singular depends on מות was recognised even by Symmachus, μυιῶθάντος σήψει ἔ?λαιον εὐ?ῶ?δες μυρεγοῦ? . The oil of the perfumer is mentioned as being a costly, noble substance. יביע is added subsidiarily, for the purpose of indicating more distinctly the cause: “in that they cause to putrify,” in consequence of the process of putrification which they commence. But that it serves only a subsidiary purpose is evident, because יבאיש does not suit any but the second clause. “To make to stink,” is used elsewhere for “to make contemptible” in Genesis 34:30, (compare Exodus 5:21) and in this sense it is to be repeated in the second clause. יקר signifies originally “dear, costly,” and then “excellent,” glorious, noble.” Compare Jeremiah 15:19, where יקר “excellent” is opposed to זולל “contemptible;” and Lamentations 4:2, “the sons of Zion, the glorious,” ( Psalms 45:10; Proverbs 3:15; Proverbs 6:26). מן is used here causatively. At its commencement under Cyrus, the Persian kingdom was glorious in wisdom and honour: its praises were sounded not only by the profane, but also by the sacred writers. Geier remarks with regard to the two terms “wisdom and honour,” “duo haec vocabula duplicem pretii causam indicant, sapientiam et honerem, i.e., partim internam culturam partim externam hominum existimationem opes aut felicitatem gloriosam.” A little folly: that is, folly which is little in proportion to the entire system and edifice of which it proves the ruin. Corresponding to the active cause here, namely, “the little folly,” stands that which is acted upon, namely, “the much good” in Ecclesiastes 9:18. In the New Testament also the leaven is called little, not in relation to a greater quantity thereof, but to the whole mass (ὅ?λον θύραμα :) see the parallel passages 1 Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9. Folly, si n, is so little and insignificant that on a superficial consideration it is scarcely noticed, or at all events, is looked upon only as a bagatelle, a peccadillo.

Verse 2

Ecclesiastes 10:2. The right hand being “the principal one, the dearest, the strongest hand, with which we chiefly grasp, work, wield our weapons, and so forth,” we say of that which is as it ought to be, that it is at the right, whilst of things that are no longer in their normal state, we say that they are at the left. A comparison has rightly been instituted between this expression and our saying, “his heart is in the right place.” Attention is drawn to the heart here, so far as in it are the roots of the understanding which is always determined and guided by inclination.

Verse 3

Ecclesiastes 10:3. On the way which he goes, in his actions. When the heart has taken a perverse turn, the hands are unable to lay hold of anything rightly. He saith of every one, he is foolish. By a strange confusion of places, he speaks thus especially of those on whom God has bestowed the gift and privilege of wisdom. Hitzig says, “Himself he dare not hold for a fool: for therein would lie some truth, and a beginning of understanding would have been made.”

Verse 4

In the difficult circumstances in which they are placed, the people of God should be on their guard against irritability, which would inevitably tend to increase their sufferings: and further, they should carefully guard that precious treasure of calmness of soul which is his portion who sees the hand of God in everything, even in that which is hardest to bear, and resigns himself patiently and humbly to the Divine will.

The spirit of the ruler, to wit, of the foolish one, ( Ecclesiastes 9:17; Ecclesiastes 10:1-Leviticus :) of the sinner, ( Ecclesiastes 9:18). Hitzig remarks, “the ruler here is one who, when angered, is capable of committing great offences” against thee. The author addresses the covenant people, against whom the minds of the heathen rulers were greatly irritated, because they had got wind of the pretensions made by them to the privilege of wisdom, and to the future possession of the throne of the world. What the place is for the people of God, is plain from the yielding, from the retiring gentleness, mentioned in the second clause, which is exclusively found amongst those who commit their cause to God. Through it Jacob overcame Esau, and David Saul, (1 Samuel 26). The contrast to מרפא is in Proverbs 14:30, קנאה “anger, passion.” Great sins, into which a passionate tyrant inevitably falls, when he meets with resistance. To rage against the people of God is a great sin. Cartwright says, “haec igitur animi submissio et patientia turbulentissimas perturbationum et animi motuum tempestates serenat tumidissimos et maxime inflates affectuum fluctus tranquillat, et ex leone agnum reddit. Quamobrem connitendum, ut hac virtute imbuamur, qua cum deo, tum hominibus placeamus, etiam his, qui a pietate et humanitate procul remoti sunt.”

Verse 5

Ecclesiastes 10:5. The Ruler, absolutely is the heavenly one, even as in Ecclesiastes 5:8, and Ecclesiastes 8:2; Ecclesiastes 8:4, the king is the heavenly king. Of the heavenly ruler, שליט is used in Daniel 4:23; Daniel 5:21, also. The correct view is given by Jerome as communicated to him by the Jew of whose assistance he availed himself, “Hebraeus potentem et principem a cujus facie, ignoratio videatur egredi, Deum exposuit, quod putent homines in hac inaequalitate rerum ilium non juste et ut aequum est judicare.” The ב before שגגח is of great importance. It is not really an “error,” it only has the seeming of one; it bears this appearance only to those superficial minds whose eyes are fastened on the present, and which are unable to survey the whole and take the end into view.

Verses 5-10

The humiliation of the people of God, and the triumph of the world, is a heavy stone of stumbling. But in His own good time God will remove this offence out of the way: those who have used violence will meet with recompence: and it is the less possible that they should escape ruin as they are utterly destitute of the corrective and preservative element of wisdom.

Verse 6

Ecclesiastes 10:6. This verse sets before us “the evil,” the apparent “fault” in providence. The matter treated of is the downfall of the people of God. According to what precedes, the “folly” spoken of must be that of the heathens, especially that of the Persians. By the “rich” we cannot understand such as are now actually so, for then they would not be sitting in a low place, but such as by right should be so. According to the divine destination, Israel was a rich people. To him the promise had been given, “there shall be no poor among you—(אביון forms a strict contrast to the word עשיר employed here)—for the Lord will bless thee,” ( Deuteronomy 15:4) and further, “thou shalt lend unto many nations, and shalt borrow from no one; thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee,” ( Deuteronomy 15:6; Deuteronomy 28:11). The prosperity meant for the Israelites was prefigured in the opulence which, through the divine blessing, was enjoyed by their forefathers, who walked in God’s ways: compare Genesis 13:2. “And Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver and gold.” It is true that the promise given in the law rested on the expressly specified condition of faithfulness in fulfilling the divine commands; and failure therein must of course lead to suspension of the promise. But still the promise might not be for ever revoked; and because this seemed to be the case, it looked as if there were a fault in the divine government. This appearance is done away with by what follows. In connection with בשפל compare Genesis 13:23 of Psalms 136 which was written during the dominion of the Persians, “who remembered us in our low estate, בשפלנו .” שֶ פֶ ל is only used in these two passages.

Verse 7

Ecclesiastes 10:7. A world turned upside down: Servants ride and masters walk. Servants,—such, by right and by God’s appointment, were the heathen; for Israel was called to universal dominion: him were the nations meant to obey, ( Genesis 49:10). The Jews were a kingdom of priests, ( Exodus 19:6) before them their enemies would be compelled to play the hypocrite, and they should tread on their high places, ( Deuteronomy 33:29); through them all nations were to be blessed, and as the dispensers of blessing, the latter must by consequence take up towards them the position of dependent petitioners, ( Isaiah 44:5; Isaiah 45:14). “Thou shalt be above only and thou shalt not be beneath,” ( Deuteronomy 28:13-John :). So ought it to be according to their true idea, and so must it some time really be: compare Daniel 7:27, “and the kingdom and the dominion, and the power over the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High:” compare also Isaiah 61:5, “and strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your ploughmen and your vine-dressers.” And so in fact it is now as to the essential features: in Christ and His Church Israel has attained to dominion over the world. At the time, however, when the author wrote, the idea and the reality stood in most glaring contrast to each other. “We are servants,” it is said in Ezra 9:9. In Lamentations 5:8, exactly as here, those are styled servants who by right should be such, although they actually are not—“servants rule over us and there is none that delivereth out of their hand,” on which Ch. B. Michaelis remarks, “qui nobis potius si pii fuissemus servire debuissent, Deuteronomy 28:48. Princes: that is, by right and according to God. The passage of chief authority on this point is Lamentations 1:1 where Israel is called “the princess over the provinces.”

Verse 8

Ecclesiastes 10:8. The writer now proceeds to advance considerations which may prove a consolation in such abnormal circumstances. But whoso diggeth a ditch (גומץ is a pure Aramaic word) shall fall into it. It was the custom to dig ditches, which were covered with brandies of trees, in order to catch lions and other wild beasts, and it might come to pass that a man should fall unwittingly into the ditch which he himself had dug. That which may happen in the external sense, does always and inevitably happen when any one digs a ditch in the moral sense. He who prepares mischief for his neighbour will himself be overtaken by ruin: the conquering kingdoms of this world prepare their own downfall by that which they do to others; but above all do they expose themselves to inevitable divine vengeance who deal unfairly by the people of God. That is a sweet consolation for those who suffer wrong. Passages of greatest weight in relation to this matter are Psalms 7:16-Esther :, “he hath made a pit and digged it, but he falleth into the ditch which he maketh. His mischief returns on his own head, and his wrong cometh down on his own pate.” Psalms 57:7, “A net have they prepared for my steps, they bent my soul, they digged before me a ditch, they fell into it themselves,” (compare besides Proverbs 26:27, Sir_27:29 ). Whoso breaketh through a wall, a serpent shall bite him. Serpents often lurked in walls ( Amos 5:19). He therefore who breaks through a common wall may easily get bitten by a serpent. That which happens sometimes physically, takes place always morally. He who breaks through a wall in the moral world, he who makes attacks on the property of his neighbour, is bitten by the serpent of divine righteousness, so certainly as that God has spoken, “thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmarks “( Deuteronomy 19:14), and “cursed is he who removes his neighbour’s landmarks” ( Deuteronomy 27:17). The snake is used as an image of divine judgment also in Amos 9:3. גדר and גדרה designate in particular the walls built to protect vineyards and other property.

Verse 9

Ecclesiastes 10:9. Whoso looseneth stones (compare הסיע אבנים “to break stones loose” in 1 Kings 5:31) shall be hurt therewith (LXX. , διαπονηθήσεται ἐ?ν αὐ τοῖ?ς ) whoso cleaveth wood shall be injured thereby, סִ כֵ ּ י in the Chaldee, “periculo se exposuit,” in Hithpael, “in periculo versari,” connected with מסכן “poor” in Ecclesiastes 4:13; Ecclesiastes 9:15-Nehemiah :; with מסכנות “poverty,” in Deuteronomy 8:9; and with מסכן “impoverished” in Isaiah 40:20. In common life one may easily receive injuries whilst engaged in occupations requiring violent exertion. But he will inevitably receive injury who in the moral sphere carries on occupations involving violence, who does works, which in respect of force resemble the breaking of stones, and the splitting of wood.

Verse 10

Ecclesiastes 10:10. The misery of the heathen world is that it does not possess in wisdom a corrective, that, in fact, it has nothing on which the iron of their understanding may be whetted when its edge has become dull. In this respect the people of God has an infinite advantage over it. Whoso possesses such a corrective must be exalted, however deeply he may have sunk: he who possesses it not, must perish, to whatever height he may have risen. When the iron has become dull, קהה is only another mode of writing כהה . Piel, however, is used there undeniably in an intransitive sense: and that the iron must be the subject here is clear from what follows: “and he,” to wit, he whom it concerns, the owner of the hatchet; whereas this could not well be if this owner did not already form the subject to &#קהה פנים signifies first “face” then “edge;” so in Ezekiel 21:21. קלל “to be light,” in the Pilp. form, “to make light,” then “to sharpen;” for this latter meaning we need adduce no examples, seeing that “to sharpen” is simply “to make light.” חילים occurs elsewhere also in the sense of “powers;” and גבר in that of “to strengthen,” ( Zechariah 10:6; Zechariah 10:12). He puts to, applies, more strength, but without attaining a satisfactory result. This holds good both of the physical and the spiritual sphere. The verb כשר is used in the sense of “to be right” in Esther 8:5; the substantive כשרון in that of “capacity, ability,” in Ecclesiastes 2:21; Ecclesiastes 4:4 of this book. On this ground we are justified in attaching to the word הכשיר here, the meaning, “to make right, to amend, to correct,”—a meaning, moreover, which suits the connection admirably. Others have adopted the less appropriate explanation, “ea est sapientiae praestantia, ut prosperum eventum consiliis suorum spondeat,” appealing to the fact that כשר occurs in the sense of “prosper” in Ecclesiastes 11:6, and כשרין in that of “gain, advantage” in Ecclesiastes 5:10.

Verse 11

Ecclesiastes 10:11. When suffering under the evil tongue of the heathen, Israel is exhorted to look to the divine retribution, which will come not only on the works of the hands, but also on the works of the tongue, ( Matthew 12:36-Haggai :). He will thus see that the man who is sinned against with the tongue is in a better case than the man who sins with his tongue. The snake is here the spiritual snake, to wit, the man whose poisonous wickedness causes him to resemble the snake. In the New Testament the wicked Pharisees are styled ὄ?φεις , γεννήματα ἐ?χιδνῶ?ν . To the snake corresponds, in the second clause, the “owner of the tongue.” Without enchantment; this is never applied when it is foreseen that it will be fruitless. To en chantment, in the case of ordinary snakes, correspond supplicative prayers in the case of spiritual snakes. The main passage on this point is Psalms 58:5-Joshua :: “Poison have they (the wicked) like the poison of snakes: like a deaf adder stoppeth he his ear. Which hearkeneth not to the voice of the charmer, of the enchanter, who can enchant well.” The commentary to the words has no advantage is supplied by the declaration of Ecclesiastes 10:12, “the lips of the fool swallow up himself,” and by that of Ecclesiastes 10:8, “he that diggeth a ditch shall fall into it.” The connection, referring as it does to serpents, defines the tongue, more precisely, to be the evil poisonous tongue. Psalms 140:2, supplied the foundation for the expression, “the possessor of the tongue;”—“the man of the tongue will not prosper in the land.” The man of the tongue, is put there in contrast to the man of wicked and violent deeds. In Ecclesiastes 10:3 of the same Psalm we read, “they sharpen their tongue like the serpent; adder’s poison is under their lips:” and this passage, along with Psalms 58, serves as a commentary on the figurative description of enemies as snakes.

Verses 11-20

In order to quicken in the minds of his fellow-countrymen the hope of an imminent termination of the rule of their tyrants, the author points out that their character is such as to render it impossible for them to continue long their present courses. Of that character wickedness and folly are fundamental features, ( Ecclesiastes 10:11-Ezra :). The king and his nobles are given up to drunkenness and debauchery, ( Ecclesiastes 10:16-Esther :).

The system of state is utterly destitute of moral vigour: speedy ruin is promised by the prevailing rottenness and sensuality, and by the omnipotence of gold, ( Ecclesiastes 10:18-Psalms :). In Ecclesiastes 10:20, the author indicates the reason why, when treating of the events and relations of his time, he limits himself to gentle and enigmatical hints—a character which for the sake of clearness we have not kept up in our exposition of the contents of the book.

Verse 12

Ecclesiastes 10:12. חן is the grace that wins favour. Compare Proverbs 22:11,” He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips, the king is his friend.” Psalms 45:2, “grace was poured out over thy lips.” Luke 2:52; Luke 4:22, “and all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words, (ἐ?πὶ? τοῖλόγοις τῆχάριτος ) which proceeded out of his mouth.” In Christ was fully verified the saying, “the words of the wise, that is, of the true Israelites, are grace:” by his grace, in which each of his servants participates, he draws the whole heathen world to himself. The lips are used to represent speech, discourse, in the second clause. The lips of the fool, of the heathen in his natural condition, and specially of the heathen tyrant and dominant nation, swallow them up, because they set them at enmity with God and man. Their thought was to swallow up others, to destroy others by their mischievous discourse: (compare Psalms 5:10, “their throat is an open sepulchre:”) but instead of swallowing up others they swallow up themselves. Compare Proverbs 18:7, “A fool’s mouth prepares him horror, and his lips are a snare to his soul;” and Psalms 64:9, “and they are cast down, over them cometh their own tongue,” so far, namely, as it draws upon them the punishment and judgment of God.

Verse 13

Ecclesiastes 10:13. In the proportion in which we bring before our minds the entire extent of the foolishness of our enemy, in that proportion will our hope of final victory be lively. Such as are every inch fools cannot be far from ruin. The end of his mouth, which Hitzig rightly explains, “the end which his mouth makes with its discoursing.” Mischievous madness, that is, madness which is hurtful first to others, but afterwards also to himself, so certainly as there is a divine retribution. He is not a good-natured, harmless, but a mischievous, fool

Verse 14

Ecclesiastes 10:14. And the fool maketh many words:—words such as those of which James speaks in Ecclesiastes 4:13, of his Epistle, (compare also Luke 12:18-Proverbs :) to wit, plans for the future, what he will then do, how he will live in splendour and merriness, how he will spread himself out in all directions and humble all his foes. That this is the more precise import of the words is evident from what follows. It is, furthermore, of the nature of the “fool,” to talk of such matters; this therefore by itself would justify the explanation given. To all the high flying thoughts and proud words of the Persian the lie was all at once given on the appearance of Alexander. That event proved the author of this book to be a wise man.

Verse 15

Ecclesiastes 10:15. True religion affords fine culture. Even Moses described the people of God as, by divine grace, the wisest among the nations, (Deuteronomy 4) and the heathen as a foolish people, (Deuteronomy 32). That which in Genesis 49:21, is spoken primarily of Naphtali—“he giveth goodly words”—is but an individualization, and holds good substantially of entire Israel. The Persians appeared as coarse barbarians in comparison with the people of God: and it was impossible that the supreme power should remain long in the hands of such blunderers. Where the mind, the spirit is, there in the long run must be the authority. The work of the fool wearies him; and for the simple reason, that we can only carry on that business with pleasure and love, for which we have spiritual capacity. עמל is treated as a feminine for the sake of avoiding the violation of euphony which would be presented in the verb by the third masculine. Because he knoweth not how to go to the city: compare Proverbs 13:16; Proverbs 14:8, “the prudent man in his wisdom understandeth his way,” and Ecclesiastes 10:15, “the prudent man understandeth his step.” Here, as Ecclesiastes 10:3 shows, he cannot even find his way—he is at sea regarding it. The way into the city is specified, as being the most frequented. He who is unable to find that, must be sadly ignorant of the bearings of a district.

Verse 16

Ecclesiastes 10:16. Woe to thee, O Land, whose king is a child. Out of a prudent regard to his position and circumstances the author here uses indefinite and general language, (compare 5:20): at the same time it is clear enough from the context, (specially from Ecclesiastes 10:19) that he had in view the state of the Persian Empire. It is in reality as if he said—“Woe to thee, O Land of Persia, because thy kings are children?” That נער refers, not to age, but to boyish childish character, is plain both from the context, (Geier says, “a stultitia absolute considerata pergit ad certam ejus speciem, ratione peculiaris subjecti, nempe in magistratu constituti;”) from the parallel passages here, and from the contrast drawn in Ecclesiastes 10:17. In precisely the same manner is Rehoboam called נער in 2 Chronicles 13:7, although when he ascended the throne he was already forty-one years old: so also in Isaiah 3:12, are bad rulers described as women and children, (compare further 1 Corinthians 14:20). Not only had Xerxes a boyish character, but, according to the Israelitish standard, according to the standard of God’s law, even the better Persian rulers were more like boys than men. And whose princes eat in the morning, that is, at the time which ought to be devoted to serious and important business.

Verse 17

Ecclesiastes 10:17. “A noble,” not merely by birth, but in disposition and customs. The words for strength and not for drunkenness, (or gluttony) show clearly enough what the writer has in mind. He does not refer to invigoration, but to intemperate drinking, and the pleasures connected therewith.

Verse 18

Ecclesiastes 10:18. Luther remarks—“he introduces a proverb, as if he meant to say,—in such a kingdom or land, where the great lords and mighty men seek their own profit, and the king is without sense, things go on as they do in the house of an idle man, who might frequently repair his roof and protect it against the weather for a penny, but lets the rain come through bill at last the entire building is damaged. For where the master of a house is not industrious, always building and repairing, one damage is sure to follow on the heels of another.” The house is the edifice of state. Double rottenness, is great rottenness, as Kushan Rishataim, “double wickedness,” means great wickedness; in Ezekiel 47:9, “the double stream” means “the strong stream,” and as in Jeremiah 50:21, מרתים “double apostacy,” signifies great apostacy. שפלות “low place,” designates here, a miserable reduced condition.

Verse 19

Ecclesiastes 10:19. Bread they make to laughter. Here it is quite clear that the author is not giving general observations, but depicting things as they really and truly existed. Hitzig says, “That which in Ecclesiastes 10:16 was not affirmed, to wit, that the home of the speaker was such an unhappy country, is here added.” Laughter is used in Ecclesiastes 2:2, for extravagant merriment. Elsewhere לשחוק always means “to laughter,” and consequently may not in this place be translated, “amidst laughter.” If היה לשחוק signifies, “to become laughter,” then will עשה לשחוק mean “to make to laughter,”—to laughter, not in the passive, but in the active sense. Besides, עשה along with ל is employed in other places to designate that into which anything is made: compare Isaiah 44:17, “the remainder he maketh to a God,” לאל עשה שאריתו . Bread, which should serve to give strength, serves them only as a vehicle of laughter. Their meal times are scenes of excess. And wine maketh glad the living. This is plainly a dictum taken from the mouths of the “merry carousers.” It is a compendium of Isaiah 22:13, (compare 1 Cor. where the godless say, “let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.” And money answereth all things: nay with the accusative signifies “to answer,” ( Job 31:35) and then “to be answerable for,” ( Job 33:13). Money is the answer to all charges, the apology for all crimes: he who has money may allow himself any liberty. ענה cannot signify “to afford, to confer.”

Verse 20

Ecclesiastes 10:20. The author now assigns the reason why, in the part immediately preceding, and in fact throughout the whole book, he had spoken of the circumstances of the Persian Empire in such a vague and indistinct manner. Openness under a tyrannical government is dangerous and ruinous. Ewald renders the sense as follows, “as well on account of the great danger of treachery, as in considerat ion that duty, ( Ecclesiastes 8:2) forbids it, we should never permit ourselves to curse our rulers even in the greatest secrecy.” The advice, however, is rather a simple rule of prudence, and may be subsumed under that saying of our Lord’s, γίνεσθε θρόνιμοι ὠ?ς οἱ? ὄ?φεις . Only a false explanation can find, in Ecclesiastes 8:2, a reference to the duty of which Ewald speaks. Nothing is said of such a duty in the entire book: on the contrary, the writer says the strongest possible things against the heathen tyrannical rule—covert ly, however, and so that he could nowhere be laid hold of. It would, in truth, have been perverse to judge an Asiatic tyranny by the principles laid down in Romans 13;—principles which even in our own day do not hold good for Greeks in relation to the Turks. The word מדע belongs to the language in its post-exile period, and occurs elsewhere only in the sense “insight, understanding:” so also the Chaldee מנדע from which it is derived. Here it is usually explained by “consciousness, thought.” This meaning, however, besides being uncertain, does not appear to suit the connection; the word קול shows that the writer is not treating of mere thoughts,—besides that, the sphere of thoughts is not accessible to espionage, which is here the sole subject of consideration. It is the simplest course to understand by מדע , “study;” just as in Latin, studium is used both of studies, and of the place where studies are carried on. The mention of “the study” cannot surprise, if we examine Ecclesiastes 12:12: it is moreover very suitably employed in connection with “bedchamber,” of which mention is made also in 2 Kings 6:12, “Elisha, the prophet, telleth the King of Israel the words which thou speakest in thy bed-chamber.” The rich man is the Persian, (compare Ecclesiastes 5:11). On the words, “for the birds of heaven, etc,” the Berleburger Bible remarks, “it may come out by no visible medium, as quickly and marvellously, as if a bird flying by or seated before the window had picked it up.”

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Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 10". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/heg/ecclesiastes-10.html.