Ecclesiastes 10:17
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Blessed is the land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes eat at a proper time-- for strength and not for drunkenness.

New Living Translation
Happy is the land whose king is a noble leader and whose leaders feast at the proper time to gain strength for their work, not to get drunk.

English Standard Version
Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility, and your princes feast at the proper time, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

New American Standard Bible
Blessed are you, O land, whose king is of nobility and whose princes eat at the appropriate time-- for strength and not for drunkenness.

King James Bible
Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Blessed are you, land, when your king is a son of nobles and your princes feast at the proper time-- for strength and not for drunkenness.

International Standard Version
That land is blessed whose king is of noble birth, whose princes feast at the right time, for strength, and not to become drunk.

NET Bible
Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobility, and your princes feast at the proper time--with self-control and not in drunkenness.

New Heart English Bible
Blessed are you, land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
A country is blessed when the king is from a noble family and when the high officials eat at the right time in order to get strength and not to get drunk.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is a free man, And thy princes eat in due season, In strength, and not in drunkenness!

New American Standard 1977
Blessed are you, O land, whose king is of nobility and whose princes eat at the appropriate time—for strength, and not for drunkenness.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season for strength, and not for drunkenness!

King James 2000 Bible
Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes feast at the proper time, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

American King James Version
Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

American Standard Version
Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

Douay-Rheims Bible
Blessed is the land, whose king is noble, and whose princes eat in due season for refreshment, and not for riotousness.

Darby Bible Translation
Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is a son of nobles, and thy princes eat in [due] season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

English Revised Version
Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

Webster's Bible Translation
Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

World English Bible
Happy are you, land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

Young's Literal Translation
Happy art thou, O land, When thy king is a son of freemen, And thy princes do eat in due season, For might, and not for drunkenness.
Study Bible
Wisdom and Folly
16Woe to you, O land, whose king is a lad and whose princes feast in the morning. 17Blessed are you, O land, whose king is of nobility and whose princes eat at the appropriate time-- for strength and not for drunkenness. 18Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks.…
Cross References
Proverbs 31:4
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink,

Isaiah 5:11
Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink, Who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them!
Treasury of Scripture

Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

when

Ecclesiastes 10:6,7 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place…

Proverbs 28:2,3 For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof…

Jeremiah 30:21 And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall …

and thy

Proverbs 31:4,5 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; …

Verse 17. - Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles! cujus rex nobilis est (Vulgate), υἱὸς ἐλευθέρων, "son of free men" (Septuagint). Some would regard "son of nobles" as a periphrasis expressive of character, equivalent to the Latin generous, as "son of strength," equivalent to "strong man;" "son of wickedness," equivalent to "wicked man;" but the phrase may well be taken literally. Koheleth (ver. 7) has expressed his disgust at the exaltation of unworthy slaves to high positions; he here intimates his adherence to the idea that those who descend from noble ancestors, and have been educated in the higher ranks of society, are more likely to prove a blessing to their land than upstarts who have been placed by caprice or favoritism in situations of trust and eminence. Of course, it is not universally true that men of high birth make good rulers; but proverbs of general tenor must not be pressed in particulars, and the author must be understood to affirm that the fact of having distinguished ancestors is an incentive to right action, stirs a worthy emulation in a man, gives him a motive which is wanting in the lowborn parvenu. The feeling, noblesse oblige, has preserved many from baseness (comp. John 8:39). Thy princes eat in due season; not like those mentioned in ver. 16, but in tempore, πρὸς καιρόν, at the right time, the "season" which appertains to all mundane things (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). For strength, and net for drunkenness. The preposition here is taken as expressing the object - they eat to gain strength, not to indulge sensuality; but it is more in accordance with usage to translate "in, or with, manly strength," i.e. as man's strength demands, and not degenerating into a carouse. If it is thought incongruous, as Ginsburg deems, to say, "princes eat for drunkenness," we may take drunkenness as denoting excess of any kind The word in the form here used occurs nowhere else. The Septuagint, regarding rather the consequences of intoxication than the actual word in the text, renders, Καὶ οὐκ αἰσχυνθήσονται, "And they shall not be ashamed." Thus, too, St. Jerome, Et non in confusione. St. Augustine ('De Civit.,' 17:20) deduces from this passage that there are two kingdoms - that of Christ and that of the devil, and he explains the allegory at some length, going into details which are of homiletic utility. Another interpretation is given by St. Jerome, quoted at length by Corn. a Lapide, in his copious commentary. Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles,.... Or "heroes" (z), called "Hhorim" in the Hebrew, which signifies "white"; either from the white garment they wore, or rather from the purity and ingenuity of their minds and manners; being illustrious persons, not only by birth and education, but in their lives and actions. Now a land is happy when it is governed by a king that is not only descended from a race of heroes and illustrious men, and has a princely and liberal education; but that imitates his ancestors, and treads in their steps, and is famous himself for wisdom, virtue, and real piety, in which true nobility consists; and so the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "whose king is noble"; who is of an ingenuous mind, has princely virtues and qualifications; who is wise and prudent, skilful in the affairs of government, and assiduous and industrious therein; for as, on the one hand, kings may, as they commonly do, descend from illustrious progenitors, and yet be base and wicked, ignoble and infamous, in their administration; and, on the other hand, persons may be raised from a low estate to royal dignity, as David and others, and yet behave with great prudence and ingenuity. The Targum applies this to the land of Israel also, and instances in Hezekiah, a man mighty in the law;

and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness; that is, eat their meals at proper times, and that after they have been at business; to refresh nature, and recruit their strength, that they may be fit for further service; and do not indulge themselves, and spend their time, in rioting and drunkenness; which would render them very unfit for public business, to sit in council, or in any court of judicature: according to the Targum, the time was four o'clock, that is, ten o'clock in the morning. Or, "not unto drinking" or "drunkenness" (a); they do not eat so as to cause an appetite, or eager desire for drinking to excess: or, not "with drinking" (b); their eating is not attended with excessive drinking; they eat and drink moderately. The Egyptians had a law, which fixed such a measure of wine to be allowed their kings daily, and no more (c); and it was Solon's law, given to the Athenians, that if a prince was found drunk, death was his punishment (d); and, with the Indians, if a woman killed a drunken king, her reward was to marry his successor (e): all which show how odious drunkenness was with the Heathens, and especially in their kings and princes; see Proverbs 31:4. So Plato observes (f), that

"drunkenness ought to be abstained from; and rather it should be allowed to any than to a keeper, (that is, of a city and its laws, a Civil magistrate), for it would be ridiculous for a keeper to need a keeper.''

Jerom, as before observed, interprets this figuratively, "blessed is the land", of the church; whose "King" is Christ, the son of nobles, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and whose "princes" are the apostles, who seek not pleasure in this world, but shall eat in the world to come.

(z) "heroum", Montanus. (a) non "autem ad compotationem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Gejerus, Rambachius; so Broughton. (b) "Non cum ingurgitatione", Cocceius; "non eum compotatione", Schmidt. (c) Plutarch. de Iside & Osir. "in principio". Vid. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 3. c. 11. (d) Laert. Vit. Solon. p. 38. (e) Strabo. Geograph. l. 15. p. 488. (f) De Republic. l. 3. p. 621. 17. son of nobles—not merely in blood, but in virtue, the true nobility (So 7:1; Isa 32:5, 8).

in due season—(Ec 3:1), not until duty has first been attended to.

for strength—to refresh the body, not for revelry (included in "drunkenness").10:16-20 The happiness of a land depends on the character of its rulers. The people cannot be happy when their princes are childish, and lovers of pleasure. Slothfulness is of ill consequence both to private and public affairs. Money, of itself, will neither feed nor clothe, though it answers the occasions of this present life, as what is to be had, may generally be had for money. But the soul, as it is not redeemed, so it is not maintained with corruptible things, as silver and gold. God sees what men do, and hears what they say in secret; and, when he pleases, brings it to light by strange and unsuspected ways. If there be hazard in secret thoughts and whispers against earthly rulers, what must be the peril from every deed, word, or thought of rebellion against the King of kings, and Lord of lords! He seeth in secret. His ear is ever open. Sinner! curse not THIS KING in thy inmost thought. Your curses cannot affect Him; but his curse, coming down upon you, will sink you to the lowest hell.
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