Ecclesiastes 10
A page containing Ecclesiastes 5:17-end in Codex Gigas, a Latin translation of 13th century.
BookBook of Ecclesiastes
Christian Bible partOld Testament
Order in the Christian part21

Ecclesiastes 10 is the tenth chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible.[1][2] The book contains philosophical speeches by a character called '(the) Qoheleth' (="the Teacher"), composed probably between 5th to 2nd century BCE.[3] Peshitta, Targum, and Talmud attribute the authorship of the book to King Solomon.[4] This chapter focuses on foolishness, either in persons, in high places, in action, in words and even in national life.[5]


The original text was written in Hebrew. This chapter is divided into 20 verses.

Textual witnesses

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter in Hebrew are of the Masoretic Text, which includes Codex Leningradensis (1008).[6][a]

There is also a translation into Koine Greek known as the Septuagint, made in the last few centuries BCE. Extant ancient manuscripts of the Septuagint version include Codex Vaticanus (B; B; 4th century), Codex Sinaiticus (S; BHK: S; 4th century), and Codex Alexandrinus (A; A; 5th century).[8] The Greek text is probably derived from the work of Aquila of Sinope or his followers.[3]

Foolishness in personal life (10:1–3)

This section speaks of foolishness in the invisible side of one's life, contrasted to face (7:3), hands (7:26) or body (11:10).[5]

Foolishness in high places (10:4–7)

Folly can be in the leadership (verse 5) and result in odd reversals of position and prestige,[5] in a topsy-turvy society.[9]

Foolishness in action (10:8–11)

Eaton summed up the section: "vindictiveness has its built-in penalties", and "slackness may nullify inherent skill".[5] Precautionary measures using wisdom can avert accidents, but of no use when it is too late (as with snakes that were not charmed before).[10]

Verse 9

He who quarries stones may be hurt by them,
And he who splits wood may be endangered by it.[11]

Foolishness in words (10:12–15)

Spoken words can be a test of wisdom, as the ones from the wise can be helpful, but the foolish ones originates from the foolishness of the heart.[5]

Foolishness in national life (10:16–20)

Qoheleth contrasts the way of disaster (verse 16) and the way of safety (verse 17) in national level.[5] Eating and drinking early on a day indicates self-centered indulgence.[5] Qoheleth does not despise laughter, wine or money, but the point is that "the pleasures of life should not be its total outlook" (verse 19), and one needs "to take life day by day from the hand of God".[5]

See also


  1. ^ Since 1947 the whole book is missing from Aleppo Codex.[7]


  1. ^ Halley 1965, p. 275.
  2. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  3. ^ a b Weeks 2007, p. 423.
  4. ^  Jastrow, Morris; Margoliouth, David Samuel (1901–1906). "Ecclesiastes, Book of". In Singer, Isidore; et al. (eds.). The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Eaton 1994, p. 617.
  6. ^ Würthwein 1995, pp. 35-37.
  7. ^ P. W. Skehan (2003), "BIBLE (TEXTS)", New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2 (2nd ed.), Gale, pp. 355–362
  8. ^ Würthwein 1995, pp. 73-74.
  9. ^ Weeks 2007, p. 428.
  10. ^ a b Coogan 2007, p. 955 Hebrew Bible.
  11. ^ Ecclesiastes 10:9 NKJV


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