A page containing Ecclesiastes 5:17-end in Codex Gigas, a Latin translation of 13th century.
|Book||Book of Ecclesiastes|
|Christian Bible part||Old Testament|
|Order in the Christian part||21|
Ecclesiastes 10 is the tenth chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. The book contains philosophical speeches by a character called '(the) Qoheleth' (="the Teacher"), composed probably between 5th to 2nd century BCE. Peshitta, Targum, and Talmud attribute the authorship of the book to King Solomon. This chapter focuses on foolishness, either in persons, in high places, in action, in words and even in national life.
The original text was written in Hebrew. This chapter is divided into 20 verses.
Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter in Hebrew are of the Masoretic Text, which includes Codex Leningradensis (1008).[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). The Greek text is probably derived from the work of Aquila of Sinope or his followers.
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).
Folly can be in the leadership (verse 5) and result in odd reversals of position and prestige, in a topsy-turvy society.
Eaton summed up the section: "vindictiveness has its built-in penalties", and "slackness may nullify inherent skill". Precautionary measures using wisdom can avert accidents, but of no use when it is too late (as with snakes that were not charmed before).
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.
Qoheleth contrasts the way of disaster (verse 16) and the way of safety (verse 17) in national level. Eating and drinking early on a day indicates self-centered indulgence. 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".