Ecclesiastes 9: 13 – 10: 20

Ecclesiastes 9: 13 – 10: 20

  1. What was the fate of the poor man who saved the city?
  2. What is more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools?
  3. Who are put in high positions while the rich occupy low ones?
  4. How are fools able to push forward their agenda?
  5. Do you take the time to seek out a quiet, wise person?

Outside my house in Evanston we used to hear arguments at two in the morning as people walked down the street.  It seemed that the arguers thought they would win if they screamed louder and longer.  They didn’t seem to think about the fact that no-one was listening.  In a time of crisis we may seek out someone who isn’t wealthy, loud, or powerful.  However, when things calm down to the daily routine with fill our minds with the foolishness of T.V. , the internet, or whoever has managed to get the most powerful publicity agent.  Meanwhile the old and the wise watch their savings disappear in a nursing home with no-one to listen to them.  When was the last time you listened to someone older, calmer and wiser than yourself?

Going Deeper


  • What is wisdom better than in times of war?
  • What error arises from a ruler?
  • What is needed when the axe is dull?
  • Why does a fools’ work weary him?
  • What happens to a lazy man’s house?


  • How did Israel win battles with inferior strength?
  • To which siege could the writer be referring?
  • How do fools sometimes rise so quickly to power?
  • What does the metaphor about the axe teach us about the persistence and skill of the wise?
  • How might choosing to party and not work on domestic chores effect the house?


  • In the present debate over healthcare, what position have you heard presented calmly and carefully?
  • Whose face do you picture when you think of your stance on healthcare?  Is it really the face of someone who would know?
  • Do you have an idea that seems ignored?  How does reflection on the axe in the passage help you?
  • Why are so many entertainers listened to for their wisdom?  How could you cut that out in your own home?
  • What views on life and how to live it came to you from the radio, internet, T.V. or friends yesterday?  How did you evaluate what you heard?

Food for thought

Adolf Hitler seemed like a fool to some when he sarted speaking in Germany.  Think of him and re-read 10: 12- 14.  Adolf Hitler was an extreme conservative (Fascist), Joseph Stalin was an extreme liberal (Communist).  How do such people grow in power?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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