Ecclesiastes 10 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Ecclesiastes 10)

Verse 2

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

Heart — His understanding is always present with him and ready to direct him. He mentions the right hand, because that is the common instrument of action.

A fool's — His understanding is not effectual to govern his affections and actions.

Verse 3

[3] Yea 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.

Walketh — In his daily conversation.

He saith — He discovers his folly to all that meet him.

Verse 4

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

The spirit — The passion.

Leave not — In anger or discontent. Continue in a diligent and faithful discharge of thy duty, and modestly and humbly submit to him.

Yielding — A gentle and submissive carriage.

Verse 6

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

The rich — Wise and worthy men, rich in endowments of mind.

Verse 8

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

An hedge — Whereby another man's fields or vineyards are distinguished, that he may either take away their fruits, or enlarge his own fields.

Verse 9

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

Whoso removeth — Stones too heavy for them: who rashly attempts things too high and hard for them.

Verse 10

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

Wisdom — As wisdom instructs a man in the smallest matters, so it is useful for a man's direction in all weighty affairs.

Verse 11

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

Without — If not prevented by the art and care of the charmer; which practice he does not justify, but only mentions by way of resemblance.

Verse 12

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

Gracious — Procure him favour with those who hear him.

Verse 14

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

Full of words — Forward to promise and boast what he will do, whereas none can be sure of future events, even during his own life, much more after his death.

Verse 15

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

Wearieth — Fools discover their folly by their wearisome and fruitless endeavours after things which are too high for them.

Because — He is ignorant of those things which are most easy, as of the way to the great city whither he is going.

Verse 16

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

A child — Either in age, or childish qualities.

Eat — Give up themselves to eating and drinking.

Morning — The fittest time for God's service, for the dispatch of weighty affairs, and for sitting in judgment.

Verse 17

[17] Blessed 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!

Nobles — Not so much by birth, as by their noble dispositions.

Verse 20

[20] Curse 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.

Thy thought — In the most secret manner.

The rich — Princes or governors.

A bird — The king will hear of it by unknown and unsuspected hands, as if a bird had heard and carried the report of it.