Ecclesiastes 10:8
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake.

New Living Translation
When you dig a well, you might fall in. When you demolish an old wall, you could be bitten by a snake.

English Standard Version
He who digs a pit will fall into it, and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall.

New American Standard Bible
He who digs a pit may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall.

King James Bible
He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The one who digs a pit may fall into it, and the one who breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake.

International Standard Version
Whoever digs a pit may fall into it, and whoever breaks through a wall may suffer a snake bite.

NET Bible
One who digs a pit may fall into it, and one who breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake.

New Heart English Bible
He who digs a pit may fall into it; and whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a serpent.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Whoever digs a pit may fall into it. Whoever breaks through a stone wall may be bitten by a snake.

JPS Tanakh 1917
He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; And whoso breaketh through a fence, a serpent shall bite him.

New American Standard 1977
He who digs a pit may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall.

Jubilee Bible 2000
He that digs a pit shall fall into it, and whosoever breaks a hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

King James 2000 Bible
He that digs a pit shall fall into it; and whosoever breaks through a wall, a serpent shall bite him.

American King James Version
He that digs a pit shall fall into it; and whoever breaks an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

American Standard Version
He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh through a wall, a serpent shall bite him.

Douay-Rheims Bible
He that diggeth a pit, shall fall into it: and he that breaketh a hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

Darby Bible Translation
He that diggeth a pit falleth into it; and whoso breaketh down a hedge, a serpent biteth him.

English Revised Version
He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh through a fence, a serpent shall bite him.

Webster's Bible Translation
He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoever breaketh a hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

World English Bible
He who digs a pit may fall into it; and whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake.

Young's Literal Translation
Whoso is digging a pit falleth into it, And whoso is breaking a hedge, a serpent biteth him.
Study Bible
Wisdom and Folly
7I have seen slaves riding on horses and princes walking like slaves on the land. 8He who digs a pit may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall. 9He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, and he who splits logs may be endangered by them.…
Cross References
Psalm 7:15
He has dug a pit and hollowed it out, And has fallen into the hole which he made.

Psalm 57:6
They have prepared a net for my steps; My soul is bowed down; They dug a pit before me; They themselves have fallen into the midst of it. Selah.

Proverbs 11:6
The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, But the treacherous will be caught by their own greed.

Proverbs 26:27
He who digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him.

Ecclesiastes 10:9
He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, and he who splits logs may be endangered by them.

Amos 5:19
As when a man flees from a lion And a bear meets him, Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall And a snake bites him.
Treasury of Scripture

He that digs a pit shall fall into it; and whoever breaks an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

that

Judges 9:5,53-57 And he went to his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brothers …

2 Samuel 17:23 And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled …

2 Samuel 18:15 And ten young men that bore Joab's armor compassed about and smote …

Esther 7:10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. …

Psalm 7:15,16 He made a pit, and dig it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made…

Psalm 9:15,16 The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which …

Proverbs 26:27 Whoever digs a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolls a stone, …

a serpent

Amos 5:19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into …

Amos 9:3 And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search …

(8) Commentators cannot be said to have been very successful in their attempts to trace a connection between the proverbs of this chapter. Perhaps nothing better can be said than that the common theme of these proverbs is the advantage of wisdom, and here in particular of caution in great enterprises. It is forcing the connection to imagine that the enterprise from which the writer seeks to dissuade, is that of rebellion against the ruler whose error is condemned (Ecclesiastes 10:5).

Diggeth a pit.--See Proverbs 26:27; Ecclesiasticus 27:26. The word here used for "pit" is found in later Hebrew, and nowhere else in the Old Testament.

An hedge.--Rather, a stone wall, in the crevices of which serpents often have their habitation. (Comp. Proverbs 24:31; Lamentations 3:9; Amos 5:19.) This verse admits of a curious verbal comparison with Isaiah 58:12, "builder of the breach," in one, answering to "breacher of the building" in the other.

Verses 8-11. - Section 13. Various proverbs expressing the benefit of prudence and caution, and the danger of folly. The connection with what has preceded is not closely marked, but is probably to be found in the bearing of the maxims on the conduct of the wise man who has incurred the resentment of a ruler, and might be inclined to disaffection and revolt. They are intentionally obscure and capable of a double sense - a necessary precaution if the writer lived under Persian despots. Verse 8. - He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it. This proverb occurs in Proverbs 26:27, and, as expressive of the retribution that awaits evil-doers, finds parallels in Psalm 7:15, 16; Psalm 9:15; Psalm 10:2; Ecclus. 27:25, 26. The" pit" (gummats, ἅπαξ λεγόμενον) is such a one as was made to capture wild animals, and the maker of it is supposed to approach it incautiously, and to fall into it. But the scope of our passage is rather to speak of what may possibly occur than to insist on the Nemesis that inevitably overtakes transgressors. Its object is to inspire caution in the prosecution of dangerous undertakings, whether the enterprise be the overthrow of a tyrant, or any other action of importance, or whether, as some suppose, the arraignment of the providential ordering of events is intended, in which ease there would be the danger of blasphemy and impatience. And whoso breaketh a hedge, a serpent shall bite him. The futures throughout vers. 8 and 9 are not intended to express certainty, as if the results mentioned were inevitable, but rather possibility, and might be rendered, with Delitzsch, "may fall," "may bite," etc. The "hedge" is rather a wall (Proverbs 24:31), in the crevices of which poisonous snakes have made their abode, which are disturbed by its demolition (comp. Ames 5:19). Nachash, here used, is the generic name of any serpent. The majority of the snakes found in Palestine are harmless; but there are some which are very deadly, especially the cobra and those which belong to the viper family. There is no allusion here to the illegal removal of landmarks, a proceeding which might be supposed to provoke retribution; the hedge or wail is one which the demolisher is justified in removing, only in doing so he must look out for certain contingencies, and guard against them. Metaphorically, the pulling down a wall may refer to the removal of evil institutions in a state, which involves the reformer in many difficulties and perils. He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it,.... This and the three following clauses are proverbial expressions, teaching men to be wise and cautious, lest by their conduct they bring mischief upon themselves; as it often is, the one that digs a pit for another, falls into it himself, as the wise man's father before him had observed, Psalm 7:15; as kings that lay snares for their people, and subjects that plot against their sovereign; or courtiers that form schemes for the rain of those that are in their way; or any man that devises mischief against another, frequently so it is, that the same befalls them; as Haman, who prepared a gallows for Mordecai, was hanged on it himself;

and whoso breaketh an hedge a serpent shall bite him; which often lies hid in fences, in old walls, and rotten hedges (s), Amos 5:19; so he that breaks down the hedges and fences of kingdoms and commonwealths, and breaks through the fundamental laws of a civil constitution, and especially that transgresses the laws of God, moral or civil, may expect to smart for it. Jarchi interprets this hedge of the sayings of their wise men, which those that transgress shall suffer death by the hand of heaven: but it would be much better to apply it to the doctrines contained in the word of God, which are a hedge and fence to the church of God, and whoever transgress them will suffer for it; see 2 John 1:8; The Targum, by the "serpent", understands an ungodly king, who bites like a serpent, into whose hands such transgressors shall be delivered: and some have thought of the old serpent the devil, as Alshech, who deceived Adam and Eve.

(s) Nicander apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 1. c. 4. Colossians 26. 8. The fatal results to kings of such an unwise policy; the wrong done to others recoils on themselves (Ec 8:9); they fall into the pit which they dug for others (Es 7:10; Ps 7:15; Pr 26:27). Breaking through the wise fences of their throne, they suffer unexpectedly themselves; as when one is stung by a serpent lurking in the stones of his neighbor's garden wall (Ps 80:12), which he maliciously pulls down (Am 5:19).10:4-10 Solomon appears to caution men not to seek redress in a hasty manner, nor to yield to pride and revenge. Do not, in a passion, quit thy post of duty; wait awhile, and thou wilt find that yielding pacifies great offences. Men are not preferred according to their merit. And those are often most forward to offer help, who are least aware of the difficulties, or the consequences. The same remark is applied to the church, or the body of Christ, that all the members should have the same care one for another.
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