A. As mentioned in the previous lessons, there are things in life that we cannot avoid
3. These contribute much to the “vanity” of “life under the sun”
B. But when we have a wisdom that is from above we can:
1. Endure the imperfect and often wicked governments of men
2. Live joyful lives despite the certainty of death
C. Solomon is going to continue with more wise counsel in chapter 10 by emphasizing the importance of true (divine) wisdom over human wisdom.
D. The general scope of all the observations in this chapter is to recommend wisdom to us, and its precepts and rules, as of great use for the right ordering of our life and to caution us against folly.
A. WISDOM WILL PRESERVE ONE’S REPUTATION (10:1-4)
1. Folly mars the finest of reputations
a. Ecclesiastes 10:1
b. Any putrefaction spoils perfume; and so a foolish act ruins the character of him who has the reputation ofbeing wise and good.
c. The higher a man’s standing and reputation, the more injurious to himself and others is the exhibition of folly. A little foolishness may overshadow great wisdom.
d. How many in an unguarded moment have tarnished their reputation which they were many years in acquiring!
d. Thus, we must always be on guard
2. Folly constitutes an unsafe guide
a. Ecclesiastes 10:2
b. The “right hand” and the “left hand” are used in Scripture to express good and evil. The wise man is always employed in doing good; the fool, in nonsense or evil.
c. The right hand is more expert than the left. The wise is more on his guard than the foolish sinner, though at times he will slip. But, better a diamond with a flaw, than a pebble without one.
3. Folly will invariably betray itself
a. Ecclesiastes 10:3
b. In every act of life, and in every company he frequents, the irreligious man shows what he is.
c. Vanity, nonsense, and wickedness are his themes: so that in effect he saith to every one that he is a fool.
4. In contrast to the fool, the wise person will be patient, steadfast, and conciliatory, even when opposed by those in authority
a. Ecclesiastes 10:4
b. Solomon is saying, It is safer and better to yield to an angry prince than to contend with him.
c. Solomon speaks for himself, and for every wise and good man that is a leader or ruler, that he could easily forgive those, upon their submission, whom he had been very angry with
B. FOLLY MANIFESTED IN VARIOUS WAYS (10:5-20)
1. An evil observed by the Preacher
a. Ecclesiastes 10:5-7
b. True wisdom teaches a nation’s ruler that he is not to think that because their subjects are to be quiet and submissive under them they may do what they please.
c. Solomon says it is an evil thing when they who are in authority fail and do not do their duty (v. 5).
d. What this error in the ruler is, verses 6-7 point out: it is simply this-an injudicious distribution of offices, and raising people to places of trust and confidence, who are destitute of merit, are neither of name nor family to excite public confidence, and are without property; so that they have no stake in the country, and their only solicitude must naturally be to enrich themselves, and provide for their poor relatives.
e. This is frequent in the governments of the world; and favoritism has often brought prosperous nations to the brink of ruin.
f. Folly was set in dignity; and the man of property, sense, and name, was set in a low place.
2. Those who labor with foolishness hurt and hinder themselves
a. Ecclesiastes 10:8-11
b. True wisdom teaches that it is wise to live a quiet and peaceable life. This is a principle which holds true for both ruler and subject
c. The king should not invade the rights and liberties of his subjects, nor should subjects mutiny and rebel against their leader.
d. This exposes them to danger
e. Ruler and subjects should act wisely toward one another – the ruler with the intention of managing wisely and the subject by living in patient submission
3. The foolish seldom know how to restrain themselves
a. Ecclesiastes 10:12-15
a. True wisdom teaches that we should govern our tongue
b. The fool quickly exposes himself by his speech
c. It is important to govern and control our tongue:
1) Jeremiah 9:3