Ecclesiastes 10:11-20 “The Labour of The Foolish Wearieth Every One of Them”

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Study Aired January 5, 2014

Ecc 10:11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.
Ecc 10:12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
Ecc 10:13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.
Ecc 10:14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?
Ecc 10:15 The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.
Ecc 10:16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!
Ecc 10:17 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!
Ecc 10:18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.
Ecc 10:19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.
Ecc 10:20 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.

Introduction

In verse 3 of this chapter we were told:

Ecc 10:3 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.

This entire chapter warns us against becoming entangled with the affairs of this age. We are warned that he who becomes entangled in the affairs of this age and this world is the very fool of who “says to every one that he is a fool”. The world will call him either a freedom fighter or a patriot, but the wise man will remain faithful to his heavenly King and to his citizenship and will recognize that all those who are encouraging the resistance of the evils of this age as the fools they are.
We were just told in verse four of this same chapter:

Ecc 10:4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.

Those who know Jesus Christ do not resist the powers that be, not even the evil powers.

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Rom 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Rom 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Our self- righteous old man tells us “all that is needed for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing”. But the wise know that if a ruler is evil, even if he is “the basest of men, he is still “the minister of God”, and we are never to resist “the ordinance of God”.

Dan 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and [ He] setteth up over it the basest of men.

Inwardly, “the basest of men” is the same as the sinners Christ came to save “of whom I am chief”, and “the basest of men” is recognized as the old man within us all. He is “the fool” within each of us, ruling from the very throne of our hearts, where Christ rightfully belongs.
Here are our Lord’s words bearing on this subject. They are not easy for our self- righteous old man to receive, but they are words of great wisdom for all who are given to accept them:

Mat 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
Mat 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Mat 5:40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
Mat 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Mat 5:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

Here is a quote from the author of a book that is now on the market. What this author has to say has always appealed to the natural man within all men of all time, and it is the spirit which demonstrates that “the way of peace they know not”.

American Christians have been taught to think the Lord is just fine with Satan owning everything having to do with civil government. This is not the teaching of either Testament of the Bible. Resistance to Tyrants aims to prove that (and, frankly, it’s not a difficult case to make.”

“Resistance To Tyrants”, the title of this man’s book, is taken from the statement by one of the founding fathers of our nation, Thomas Jefferson who famously made the statement “resistance to tyrants is obedience to God”. Jefferson never gave a chapter or verse for that statement, and Christ’s admonition that those who are His are commanded to “resist not evil: but… turn to him the other cheek”, happens to be found in both Testaments, though it is only in type and shadow in the former testament:

Exo 23:4 If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.

The rest of this tenth chapter of Ecclesiastes also emphasizes the foolishness of rising up against the powers which the Lord has put in place to rule the kingdoms of this world, and to do so “after the counsel of His own will”.
Speaking of those who would rise up against the ruler, we are told:

Ecc 10:11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.

The KJV+ reveals that the word ‘babbler’ in verse 11 is a combination of two words which together are ‘Baal tongue’.

Ecc 10:11 SurelyH518 the serpentH5175 will biteH5391 withoutH3808 enchantment; H3908 and a babbler H1167 H3956 is noH369 better. H3504

Here are the two Hebrew words which the translators have rendered ‘babbler’:
H1167
בּעל
ba‛al
bah’- al
From H1166; a master; hence a husband, or (figuratively) owner (often used with another noun in modifications of this latter sense: -Â + archer, + babbler, + bird, captain, chief man, + confederate, + have to do, + dreamer, those to whom it is due, + furious, those that are given to it, great, + hairy, he that hath it, have, + horseman, husband, lord, man, + married, master, person, + sworn, they of.
Here is the second word:
H3956
לש×××â€Ã‚ÂÂלש×ןÂÂÂלש×ון laÌ‚shoÌ‚n laÌ‚shoÌ‚n leshoÌ‚naÌ‚h
law- shone’, law- shone’, lesh- o- naw’
From H3960; the tongue (of man or animals), used literally (as the instrument of licking, eating, or speech), and figuratively (speech, an ingot, a fork of flame, a cove of water): -Â + babbler, bay, + evil speaker, language, talker, tongue, wedge.

So the message we are being given is that the tongue of men of its own power is as poison as the bite of a serpent, and here are but a few verses which tell us about “that old serpent”:

Job 26:13 By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.

Even the poisonous tongue of man is a work that is being done “after the counsel of [ God’s] own will”. (Eph 1:11)

Psa 140:3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah.
Amo 9:3 And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them:
2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

In its positive application, the words of God to our old man are nothing more than babbling, as this verse demonstrates.

Act 17:18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.

The poison words of man’s mouth are contrasted with the wise words of God which come out of the mouths of His people and His prophets:

Ecc 10:12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.

A truly wise man knows that God has “made all things… even the wicked… for Himself” and for His purposes, and that even “the basest of men” are simply instruments in the sovereign hand of God who is “working all things after the counsel of His own will”. (Eph 1:11)

Ecc 10:13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.

Dan 4:17 tells us that God “ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and [ He] setteth up over it the basest of men”. We are “swallowed up” by our own foolish anger against the work God is doing in a world which He has custom designed as “th[ is] present evil age”.

Gal 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

But an angry fool seeks his own self- righteous revenge against the evil God is working in this “present evil age”. Like Job we all ‘contend with, reprove and condemn our own Maker’ for doing things His way. (Job 40:1-8)

Ecc 10:14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?

A foolish man thinks he can decide for himself what his future holds for him. Here are the boastful words of which a fool is so full:

Jas 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
Jas 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
Jas 4:15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
Jas 4:16 But now ye rejoice in your [ foolish] boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

A fool thinks he “will go into such a city”, when this is the Truth of the matter:

Ecc 10:15 The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.

One city in particular no fool can find is this one:

Gal 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

“Weary[ ing] every one of them” is the prophesied end of Babylon:

Jer 51:64 And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.

But before Babylon can sink within us, we must first go into Babylon, and that is exactly what this verse reveals we all do:

Ecc 10:16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!

We are “the land” that is caused to sin, when we rebel against our Lord’s Words.

Deu 24:4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

“Thy king [ being] a child” speaks of his spiritual maturity, not of his physical age. “Eat[ ing] in the morning”, is not an admonition against eating breakfast, rather is it an admonition against “ris[ ing] early to follow after strong drink”, and spending the whole day serving their appetites.

Isa 5:11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!

Solomon’s son Rehoboam, as a type of our rebellious old man, was a “child” all his life, and his actions demonstrated that he was a foolish, and childish king. This is one of the evils referred to earlier in this same chapter:

Ecc 10:5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:
Ecc 10:6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.

This is exactly what we all first do. Until our old man begins to “die daily”, we all live lives in which “folly is set in great dignity” as the “man of sin” for many long weary years sits in the temple of our hearts proclaiming himself to be God.

2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Here, as a type of what we all first do, is what we are told of Rehoboam’s rule:

2Ch 13:7 And there are gathered unto him [ Jereboam, King of the northern kingdom of Israel] vain men, the children of Belial, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them.

Children who are young and are still on the milk of God’s Word are “yet carnal” and are not capable of dealing with spiritual matters which require spiritual maturity:

1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
1Co 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1Co 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

Spiritual immaturity, being “babes in Christ”, is equated with being carnally minded, and the carnal mind is enmity against God:

Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Rom 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

The message of scripture is that spiritual immaturity is “enmity against God”, whether it is deliberate or not. Withstanding God is therefore a very immature, childish, drunken and foolish, yet a necessary part of our lives. On the other hand, spiritual sobriety, vigilance, diligence and spiritual maturity, will in God’s own predestined time follow that part of the “one event” which we are told “comes alike to all”. (Ecc 9:2)

Ecc 10:17 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!

The only true “son of nobles” are the true sons of God, whose ‘bread and nourishment and strength’ is “the Word of God” Himself:

Joh 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Joh 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Joh 6:55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Joh 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Joh 6:57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
Joh 6:58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

As… I live by the Father, so he that eats Me… shall live by Me”. ‘Living by Christ’ is a matter of having Christ Himself living His live of diligent service to His Father within us, and building up within us a house for God.

1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

God will not be found in a house that is falling through and in a state of decay:

Ecc 10:18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.

Here is the exact opposite of “much slothfulness”:

Exo 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
1Th 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

A life of diligent, vigilant service to our Lord is a life of praying without ceasing.

Ecc 10:19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.

What this verse is telling us is that a spiritual feast and spiritually rejoicing “does us good like a medicine”.

Pro 17:22 A merry [ life giving] heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken [ dying] spirit drieth the bones.
Luk 6:23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
Php 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

But wine and a feast must be financed, and the statement “but money answers all things” is the positive application of money. ‘”Money” as the symbol of the Word and spirit of our heavenly Father, given to us through the death and resurrection of His Son, the price paid for all things has indeed been “answered”, and paid. “… But money answers all things”.
Twice we are told that we are “bought with a price”.

Mat 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
1Co 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1Co 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

The “money” of the spirit and Word of God truly is the ‘answer to all things’. It is that “money”, His Word, which informs us that we are blessed when our King is the Son of God. But it is that very same “money”, His Word, which also tells us this:

Ecc 10:4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.
Ecc 10:5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:
Ecc 10:16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!

Spiritually we are being told that we must bear the earthy before we can bear the heavenly:

1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”, but we still must bear the flesh and blood of this earth first, before we will be granted to bear the heavenly. Outwardly we must endure our own ‘old man’ before the ‘new man’ will begin to be birthed within us, and in like manner we must submit ourselves to wicked rulers like the high priests, Herod and Pilate, or we will find ourselves to be fighting against God.
These are the fiery words of God for our admonition in all such matters:

Ecc 10:20 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.

When we “curse the king… [ or] the rich”, even in our very thoughts, we really are not just cursing the king or the rich. We are also cursing and fighting against God Himself, because no one does anything He does not cause them to do. It is God Himself who is “working all things after the counsel of His own will”. Even the “bird of the air” which “carries [ our] voice” to the king, and to the rich” and causes us to ‘reap what we have sown’ is a part of Him working all things.
So we become nothing more or less than Joseph’s brothers who simply could not yet accept the fact that everything that happens is actually happening because God is the only power capable of “working all things after the counsel of His own will”.

Gen 45:4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
Gen 45:5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
Gen 45:6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
Gen 45:7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
Gen 45:8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
Gen 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

God ‘means’ all the evil of all time which He has ever caused mankind to work “unto good”, and what God “means unto good” is what will be done:

Job 23:13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.
Job 23:14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

It is “He [ who] performs the thing that is appointed for [ all men of all time]… and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him what do you? It is all being done “according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth”.

Dan 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Next week, if the Lord wills, we will see that it is “a pleasant thing… for the eyes to behold the sun”.

Ecc 11:1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
Ecc 11:2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.
Ecc 11:3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.
Ecc 11:4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
Ecc 11:5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
Ecc 11:6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.
Ecc 11:7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:
Ecc 11:8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.
Ecc 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
Ecc 11:10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.

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