Fools, Folly and Foolishness
Ecclesiastes 10: 1-20
Introduction: Nine times in the chapter these words are used as descriptions for the various actions of mankind. As we survey the chapter we can categorize those descriptions under the various categories.
V.1 Concentrated – it only takes a small amount of foolishness to destroy something good. A good reputation can be destroyed through one act of foolishness.
Vv 2,3 Choices – Where do the choices that man makes come from? How do the wise man’s differ from the foolish? How hard are the foolish to spot?
V.4 Reactions – The wise is proactive and the angry/fool is reactive. When met with anger we will react in anger, unless we are wise. The wise defuses a situation, the fool escalates it!
Vv 5-7 Favoritism – The foolish are exalted above those that have the expertise and experience because of their relationship with those in charge.
Vv 8-9 Risk – What does the wise understand about risk taking? How might he minimize them? How does the foolish man respond to risk?
V.10 Preparation – How does the wise differ from the foolish in his approach to work?
V. 11 Timing – The wise has a good sense of timing to go with his ability.
Vv.12-14 Babbling – The wise choose and use gracious words. The fool doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut.
V.15 Lazy – a decent days work leaves the foolish man exhausted and confused.
Vv. 16-17 Squandering – Although possessing a position of leadership and authority the fool misuses it for gluttony and personal gain.
V.18 Idleness – The foolish have no plan and no motivation to do maintenance or planning.
V.19 Hedonism/ Materialism – The fool says live it up now and over extend your credit.
V.20 Respect – guard your mouth you never know who might be listening.
Ecclesiastes 10:1-20 1 Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor.
2 A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left.
3 Even when the fool walks along the road, his sense is lacking and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool.
4 If the ruler’s temper rises against you, do not abandon your position, because composure allays great offenses.
5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like an error which goes forth from the ruler—
6 folly is set in many exalted places while rich men sit in humble places.
7 I have seen slaves riding on horses and princes walking like slaves on the land.
8 He who digs a pit may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall.
9 He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, and he who splits logs may be endangered by them.
10 If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.
11 If the serpent bites before being charmed, there is no profit for the charmer.
12 Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him;
13 the beginning of his talking is folly and the end of it is wicked madness.
14 Yet the fool multiplies words. No man knows what will happen, and who can tell him what will come after him?
15 The toil of a fool so wearies him that he does not even know how to go to a city.
16 Woe to you, O land, whose king is a lad and whose princes feast in the morning.
17 Blessed are you, O land, whose king is of nobility and whose princes eat at the appropriate time—for strength and not for drunkenness.
18 Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks.
19 Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything.
20 Furthermore, in your bedchamber do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known.