Words And Works of Wise Men And Fools

Foolishness should not take us by surprise. We can see it every day, and it is all around us. There is an old Middle East proverb which says foolishness can be known by six things:Anger without cause.Speech without profit.Change without progress.Inquiry without purpose.Putting tr … More

Foolishness

This passage starts out by saying that men of folly are digging their own graves (v. 8). Not paying any attention to duty is also compared to the breaking down of walls. It is easy to get hurt by chiseling stone or falling trees (vv. 9-10). Solomon shows that even though wisdom is valuable in dangerous and difficult tasks, its value can be null and void by improper timing (v. 11). He contrasts the words of a wise man with that of a fool (vv. 12-15). He says a wise man’s words are gracious but a fools words are self destructive. The fool reveals only his mischievous madness when he opens his mouth.

Next, Solomon contrasts the sorry state of a nation whose leaders are incompetent and undisciplined (v. 16) with the fortunate state of a nation whose leaders are competent and disciplined (v. 17).  Incompetent leaders are lazy, causing the ruin of the state and the loss of protection (vv. 18-19). However, he also warns against criticizing government officials (v. 20) even if their leadership deserves such criticism.

Application

No one can make a fool out of me unless I give him reason to do so. Each of us make that choice between foolishness and wisdom.    

Ecclesiastes 10:8-20 (English Standard Version)


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