Ecclesiastes 10:15-20: A Sundry of Wisdom

Read: Ecclesiastes 10:15-20

The Preacher gives various points concerning wisdom towards the end of Chapter 10:

  • The fool who can’t find his way home after a longs day of work shows his foolishness. The point of the proverb is not that that the fool is stupid or forget his way, rather that he worked himself so hard that he does not have the energy to get home. A fool as such works harder, not using wisdom to more efficiently complete a task that a wiser person could do with less effort.
  • On the same token, the Preacher rails against inexperience on the part of a king. He pities the land that has a young, inexperienced king to the one who has a wise and mature king. Such rulers play before work rather than working before play.
  • In all this though, the Preacher says it not wise to insult or talk poorly about the King – even if the king is a fool – because of the possibility that gossip mongers will spread the words around.
  • The Preacher speaks to merriment and how money can be a buffer for people. While such things are not inherently bad, these things have their proper place and usage
  • And once again, the Preacher rails against laziness. He says that a lazy will have a dilapidated house with a leaky roof.

These points of wisdom draw to a close the principle treatise the Preacher set out to write concerning how the Preacher learned wisdom, how he learned its limits, and how one can aptly apply it. The Preacher in his experience sought wisdom for the purpose of becoming wise, but in this realized that the wisdom for wisdom sake we vanity. Rather than do this, the Preacher concludes that it is best to fear God and keep his commandments. For the Preacher, this was the conclusion (Ecclesiastes 12:13). For the Proverbs, it was the principle premise (Proverbs 1:7). Wisdom in the right context has purpose. The Hebrew word “חכמה” carries with it the idea of being skillful as a master craftsman would be at his craft. Wisdom in the context of the fear of the Lord is to enable one to live skillfully before God according to the commandments God has given. Aptly applying wisdom to one’s life can help one obey God in many practical ways.

Lord, help me to take wisdom and apply it aptly in my own life!