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Matthew Henry's Commentary

Ecclesiastes Chapter 10

o preserve a character for wisdom. (1-3) Respecting subjects and rulers. (4-10) Of foolish talk. (11-15) Duties of rulers and subjects. (16-20)

Verses 1-3: Those especially who make a profession of religion, should keep from all appearances of evil. A wise man has great advantage over a fool, who is always at a loss when he has anything to do. Sin is the reproach of sinners, wherever they go, and shows their folly.

Verses 4-10: Solomon appears to caution men not to seek redress in a hasty manner, nor to yield to pride and revenge. Do not, in a passion, quit thy post of duty; wait awhile, and thou wilt find that yielding pacifies great offences. Men are not preferred according to their merit. And those are often most forward to offer help, who are least aware of the difficulties, or the consequences. The same remark is applied to the church, or the body of Christ, that all the members should have the same care one for another.

Verses 11-15: There is a practice in the East, of charming serpents by music. The babbler's tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison; and contradiction only makes it the more violent. We must find the way to keep him gentle. But by rash, unprincipled, or slanderous talk, he brings open or secret vengeance upon himself. Would we duly consider our own ignorance as to future events, it would cut off many idle words which we foolishly multiply. Fools toil a great deal to no purpose. They do not understand the plainest things, such as the entrance into a great city. But it is the excellency of the way to the heavenly city, that it is a high-way, in which the simplest wayfaring men shall not err, (Isa 25:8). But sinful folly makes men miss that only way to happiness.

Verses 16-20: The happiness of a land depends on the character of its rulers. The people cannot be happy when their princes are childish, and lovers of pleasure. Slothfulness is of ill consequence both to private and public affairs. Money, of itself, will neither feed nor clothe, though it answers the occasions of this present life, as what is to be had, may generally be had for money. But the soul, as it is not redeemed, so it is not maintained with corruptible things, as silver and gold. God sees what men do, and hears what they say in secret; and, when he pleases, brings it to light by strange and unsuspected ways. If there be hazard in secret thoughts and whispers against earthly rulers, what must be the peril from every deed, word, or thought of rebellion against the King of kings, and Lord of lords! He seeth in secret. His ear is ever open. Sinner! curse not THIS KING in thy inmost thought. Your curses cannot affect Him; but his curse, coming down upon you, will sink you to the lowest hell.


David Burnette's Life Application

A Sharp Axe

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the Book of Ecclesiastes with Chapter 10. In our text today we see we are to behave wisely but if we are unprepared or unskilled we will have little or no impact on our situations. In making application we see the importance of studying the Word of God to be a workman in our lost world. Just as an sharp ax will be more effective so will a laborer for the Lord who understands the doctrines of the Bible. How about you? Do you have a knowledge of the doctrines of the Bible? Let us learn from out text today to remember that just as a sharp ax is more effective as a tool - so is a Christian who understands and applies the doctrines of the Bible.

 

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Ecclesiastes 10

Ecclesiastes 10

 1Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

 2A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.

 3Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.

 4If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.

 5There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:

 6Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.

 7I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.

 8He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

 9Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.

 10If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.

 11Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.

 12The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.

 13The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.

 14A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?

 15The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.

 16Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!

 17Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

 18By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.

 19A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.

 20Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.