Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
Jump to: Barnes • Benson • BI • Cambridge • Clarke • Darby • Ellicott • Expositor's • Exp Dct • Gaebelein • GSB • Gill • Gray • Haydock • Hastings • Homiletics • JFB • KD • Kelly • KJT • Lange • MacLaren • MHC • MHCW • Parker • Poole • Pulpit • Sermon • SCO • TTB • WES • TSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
poor man's wisdom is despised—not the poor man mentioned in Ec 9:15; for his wisdom could not have saved the city, had "his words not been heard"; but poor men in general. So Paul (Ac 27:11).Wisdom is better than strength, as was manifest in the foregoing instance.
The poor man’s wisdom is despised, because men are generally vain and foolish, and have a greater value for outward ornaments than for true worth.
nevertheless, the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard; notwithstanding such a flagrant instance and example as this just mentioned; yet men still retain their prejudices against a poor man, and despise his wise counsels and advice, for no other reason but because he is poor, and will not attend to what he says: or, "though the poor man's wisdom", &c. (k), as Aben Ezra; Solomon drew the above conclusion from that instance; though this is usually the case, that men despise the wisdom of a poor man, and will not listen to his advice, this did not lessen the wise man's opinion of it. The words may be rendered, "even the poor man's wisdom despised, and his words not heard" (l); these are better than outward force and strength, and more serviceable and useful; which the Septuagint version favours: the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "how is the poor man's wisdom despised!" &c. as wondering at it that so it should be, when so much profit and advantage arose to the city from it.Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. Wisdom is better than strength] The maxim of ch. Ecclesiastes 7:19 is reproduced, but it is traversed by the fact that the wisdom must often be content to remain unrecognised. The power of the purse too often prevails against the wisdom of the poor. At the best, often, in words already quoted (Ecclesiastes 9:11),
“Probitas laudatur et alget.”
“Virtue is praised, and left out in the cold.”
Juvenal, Sat. i. 74.
The marginal reference in the A. V. to Mark 6:2-3 is not without significance as indicating the highest illustration of the maxim, in the question which asked “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is he not himself a carpenter?” The chief butler’s forgetfulness of Joseph (Genesis 40:23) supplies another obvious parallel.Verse 16. - Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength. The latter part of the verse is not a correction of the former, but the whole comes under the observation introduced by "I said." The story just related leads to this assertion, which reproduces the gnome of Ecclesiastes 7:19, wherein it is asserted that wisdom effects more than mere physical strength. There is an interpolation in the Old Latin Version of Wisd. 6. I which seems to have been compiled from this passage and Proverbs 16:13, "Melter est sapientia quam vires, et vir prudens quam fortis." Nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, etc. In the instance above mentioned the poor man's wisdom was not despised and his words were heard and attended to; but this was an abnormal case, occasioned by the extremity of the peril. Koheleth states the result which usually attends wisdom emanating from a disesteemed source. The experience of Ben-Sire pointed to the same issue (see Ecclus. 13:22, 23). Horace, 'Epist.,' 1:1.57 -
"Est animus tibi, sunt mores et lingua fidesque,
Sed quadringentis sex septem millia desunt;
"In wit, worth, honor, one in vain abounds;
If of the knight's estate he lack ten pounds,
He's low, quite low!"
(Howes.) Is not this the carpenter's Son? asked the people who were offended at Christ (Mark 6:2, 3). 1 Samuel 10:7; Leviticus 12:8) to accomplish it with thy might, that do." The accentuation is ingenious. If the author meant: That do with all might (Jerome: instanter operare), then he would have said bechol-kohhacha (Genesis 31:6). As the words lie before us, they call on him who is addressed to come not short in his work of any possibility according to the measure of his strength, thus to a work straining his capacity to the uttermost. The reason for the call, 10b, turns back to the clause from which it was inferred: in Hades, whither thou must go (iturus es), there is no work, and reckoning (vid., Ecclesiastes 7:25), and knowledge (דּעתו)
(Note: Not ודעת, because the word has the conjunctive, not the disjunctive accent, vid., under Psalm 55:10. The punctuation, as we have already several times remarked, is not consistent in this; cf. דּעתו, Ecclesiastes 2:26, and וערב, Psalm 65:9, both of which are contrary to the rule (vid., Baer in Abulwald's Rikma, p. 119, note 2).)
and no wisdom. Practice and theory have then an end. Thus: Enjoy, but not without working, ere the night cometh when no man can work. Thus spake Jesus (John 9:4), but in a different sense indeed from Koheleth. The night which He meant is the termination of this present life, which for Him, as for every man, has its particular work, which is either accomplished within the limits of this life, or is not accomplished at all.
LinksEcclesiastes 9:16 Interlinear
Ecclesiastes 9:16 Parallel Texts
Ecclesiastes 9:16 NIV
Ecclesiastes 9:16 NLT
Ecclesiastes 9:16 ESV
Ecclesiastes 9:16 NASB
Ecclesiastes 9:16 KJV
Ecclesiastes 9:16 Bible Apps
Ecclesiastes 9:16 Parallel
Ecclesiastes 9:16 Biblia Paralela
Ecclesiastes 9:16 Chinese Bible
Ecclesiastes 9:16 French Bible
Ecclesiastes 9:16 German Bible