Ecclesiastes 10 – “Assorted Sayings”

h6_29currHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Chapter 10 contains a group of assorted wisdom sayings. The major topics are wisdom and folly, political decorum, and unexpected occurrences in life.

II. Photo
Qoheleth points to one of life’s ironies in v. 8: “He who digs a pit will fall into it…”

III. Important Verses
v. 1: Dead flies turn the perfumer’s ointment fetid and putrid; so a little folly outweighs massive wisdom.
v. 7: I have seen slaves on horseback, and nobles walking on the ground like slaves.
v. 8: He who digs a pit will fall into it; he who breaches a stone fence will be bitten by a snake.
vv. 16-17: Alas for you, O land whose king is a lackey and whose ministers dine in the morning! Happy are you, O land whose king is a master and whose ministers dine at the proper time — with restraint, not with guzzling!
v. 20: Don’t revile a king even among your intimates. Don’t revile a rich man even in your bedchamber; For a bird of the air may carry the utterance, And a winged creature may report the word.

IV. Outline
1-3. Proverbs about wisdom and folly
4. Proverb about a kings’ wrath
5-9. Unexpected occurrences
10-11. Wisdom and ability
12-15. The fool
16-20. Political decorum

V. Comment
No comment today. I hope to revisit this chapter at the end of the cycle. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Murphy, Wisdom Literature (Forms of Old Testament Literature)
Photo taken from