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CHAPTER 10 May 1 
Miscellaneous Observations 
1Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer to send forth an evil odour; so does a little folly outweigh wisdom and honour. 2A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, but a fool’s heart at his left. 3Yes also, when the fool walks by the way, his understanding fails him, and he says to everyone that he is a fool. 4If the spirit of the ruler rises up against you, don’t leave your place; for gentleness lays great offenses to rest. 5There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, the sort of error which proceeds from the ruler. 6Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in a low place. 7I have seen servants on horses, and princes walking like servants on the earth. 8He who digs a pit may fall into it; and whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. 9Whoever carves out stones may be injured by them. Whoever splits wood may be endangered thereby. 10If the axe is blunt, and one doesn’t sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but skill brings success. 11If the snake bites before it is charmed, then is there no profit for the charmer’s tongue. 12The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but a fool is swallowed by his own lips. 13The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness; and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. 14A fool also multiplies words. Man doesn’t know what will be; and that which will be after him, who can tell him? 15The labour of fools wearies every one of them; for he doesn’t know how to go to the city. 16Woe to you, land, when your king is a servant, and your princes eat in the morning! 17Blessed are you, land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 18By slothfulness the roof sinks in; and through idleness of the hands the house leaks. 19A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes the life glad; and money is the answer for all things. 20Don’t curse the king, no, not in your thoughts; and don’t curse the rich in your bedroom: for a bird of the sky may carry your voice, and that which has wings may tell the matter. 


10:1 Solomon had “honour” to an unprecedented extent (1 Kings 3:13). But in this same book he admits that he, the man famed world-wide for wisdom, gave himself to folly (2:3). He knew so well the error and folly of his ways, but he could only preach the lesson but not heed it. A true fool is one whose wisdom fails him in practice (when he “walks by the way”, :3); and especially is this acute when this “error… proceeds from the ruler” (:5). It’s all about Solomon himself. His self-analysis, like that of many an alcoholic and drug addict, was excellent. The very possession of truth and wisdom seems to be of itself a temptation to live the very opposite way, which is why believers who go wrong often end up behaving far worse than unbelievers. 
10:16,17 Solomon was so confident that he was or would be the Messiah that he seems to have felt that he was beyond the possibility of sinning; real self-examination and the sense of the possibility of failure just didn’t exist for him. He says that the land of Israel is happy or blessed because her king is the son of a noble, and she will be cursed if her ruler is a servant. Solomon proudly presented himself as the son of King David- and he makes a clear swipe at Jeroboam, the pretender to the throne who was a servant (1 Kings 11:26). By reasoning like this, Solomon sets himself in direct opposition to the spirit of Jesus, who declared that the servant is to be the King of all. Thus Solomon’s self-justification, his self-defensiveness, his lack of focus on the future Messiah, led him to miss totally the spirit of Christ.