Author: Roy B. Zuck
Week of June 26, 2016
Ecclesiastes 10: 12-2 1
Words can get you in trouble. Ever been in a social gathering where one person talks on and on? Eventually, he says something that reveals his ignorance, words which show that his pretense for knowing something about everything is just that—pretense.
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon called such a person a fool. “A fool is consumed by his own lips,” “his words are folly,” “the fool multiplies words” (10:12-14).
Even though a talkative fool may weary himself by hard work, he is still so ignorant that he doesn’t even know the way to town! (v. 14)
Sometimes such fools even get to top positions in government. And that’s why Solomon resumed in 10:16-20 the subject of rulers which he had discussed in 9:13-10:7. A nation with such a ruler—one who is so self-indulgent that he spends mornings feasting—is unfortunate (10:16). Self-focused rulers continue in their levity and drunkenness, thinking that with money they can buy themselves out of any problem (vv. 18-19). But fortunate is the nation with a noble, self-controlled king (v. 17).
Our tendency in such situations is to criticize the ruler (or even our boss), to malign and deride him for his sin. Such criticism, however, is dangerous, Solomon stated. The word may get around by gossip (“a bird . . . may carry your words”) and we may be in trouble because of our own words (vv. 20-21).
The lesson: Be wise with your words no matter what your circumstances. “Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious” (v. 12).