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The main message of Chapter 10 is to avoid the pull of foolishness and stand firm in the solid foundation of wisdom. There are traps and dangers throughout society. Fools react to the mysterious, uncontrollable nature of the world by trying to tame and grasp everything around them. Life is a mystery. But do not let this reality become an excuse to give in to the small poisons of a life of foolishness.

To make this case, Solomon talks through the cause-and-effect of bad leadership in this world. Evil affects industry, perspective, and personal behavior. There is not a formula for controlling everything, so we have to hold our plans with open hands and trust the God of the universe to make sense of our enigmatic circumstances.

Solomon also uses this framework to talk about the careful administration of wisdom. A little folly goes a long way. And there are many chances for us to be foolish—following our own instincts, reacting to what others do, trying to control circumstances, just to name a few. These are also opportunities to exercise wisdom.



Ecclesiastes 10:1-4

Wisdom requires making choices to act in ways that avoid emotional reactions.

Ecclesiastes 10:5-11

Solomon sees evidence of folly in society and warns against reacting to the mystery of life (hebel) with apathy, evil, or injustice. Wisdom is the true path to success.

Ecclesiastes 10:12-15

The foolish avoid industry, think they can control circumstances, and fill the air with many words—all of which leads to madness and weariness.

Ecclesiastes 10:16-20

There is a time and place for pleasure, but when pleasure replaces industry, evil follows.