Ecclesiastes 10:16
New International Version
Woe to the land whose king was a servant and whose princes feast in the morning.

New Living Translation
What sorrow for the land ruled by a servant, the land whose leaders feast in the morning.

English Standard Version
Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning!

Berean Study Bible
Woe to you, O land whose king is a youth, and whose princes feast in the morning.

New American Standard Bible
Woe to you, O land, whose king is a lad and whose princes feast in the morning.

King James Bible
Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!

Christian Standard Bible
Woe to you, land, when your king is a youth and your princes feast in the morning.

Contemporary English Version
A country is in for trouble when its ruler is childish, and its leaders party all day long.

Good News Translation
A country is in trouble when its king is a youth and its leaders feast all night long.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Woe to you, land, when your king is a youth and your princes feast in the morning.

International Standard Version
Woe to the land whose king is a youth and whose princes feast in the morning.

NET Bible
Woe to you, O land, when your king is childish, and your princes feast in the morning!

New Heart English Bible
Woe to you, land, when your king is a child, and your princes eat in the morning.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
How horrible it will be for any country where the king used to be a servant and where the high officials throw parties in the morning.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a boy, And thy princes feast in the morning!

New American Standard 1977
Woe to you, O land, whose king is a lad and whose princes feast in the morning.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes banquet in the morning!

King James 2000 Bible
Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning!

American King James Version
Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes eat in the morning!

American Standard Version
Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!

Brenton Septuagint Translation
Woe to thee, O city, whose king is young, and thy princes eat in the morning!

Douay-Rheims Bible
Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and when the princes eat in the morning.

Darby Bible Translation
Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!

English Revised Version
Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!

Webster's Bible Translation
Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!

World English Bible
Woe to you, land, when your king is a child, and your princes eat in the morning!

Young's Literal Translation
Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a youth, And thy princes do eat in the morning.
Study Bible
Wisdom and Folly
15The toil of a fool wearies him, for he does not know the way to the city. 16Woe to you, O land whose king is a youth, and whose princes feast in the morning. 17Blessed are you, O land whose king is a son of nobles, and whose princes feast at the proper time—to be strong rather than to become drunk.…
Cross References
Proverbs 28:16
A leader who lacks understanding is also a great oppressor, but he who hates dishonest profit will prolong his days.

Ecclesiastes 10:15
The toil of a fool wearies him, for he does not know the way to the city.

Isaiah 3:4
"I will make mere lads their leaders, and children will rule over them."

Isaiah 3:12
Youths oppress My people, and women rule over them. O My people, your guides mislead you; they turn you from your paths.

Isaiah 5:11
Woe to those who rise early in the morning in pursuit of strong drink, who linger into the evening, to be inflamed by wine.

Treasury of Scripture

Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes eat in the morning!

when

2 Chronicles 13:7
And there are gathered unto him vain men, the children of Belial, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them.

2 Chronicles 33:1
Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:

2 Chronicles 36:2,5,9,11
Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem…

and

Proverbs 20:1,2
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise…

Isaiah 5:11,12
Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! …

Isaiah 28:7,8
But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment…

in the

Jeremiah 21:12
O house of David, thus saith the LORD; Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my fury go out like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.







Lexicon
Woe to you,
אִֽי־ (’î-)
Interjection
Strong's Hebrew 337: Alas!

O land
אֶ֔רֶץ (’e·reṣ)
Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 776: Earth, land

whose king
שֶׁמַּלְכֵּ֖ךְ (šem·mal·kêḵ)
Pronoun - relative | Noun - masculine singular construct | second person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4428: A king

is a youth,
נָ֑עַר (nā·‘ar)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5288: A boy, lad, youth, retainer

and whose princes
וְשָׂרַ֖יִךְ (wə·śā·ra·yiḵ)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine plural construct | second person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 8269: Chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince

feast
יֹאכֵֽלוּ׃ (yō·ḵê·lū)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 398: To eat

in the morning.
בַּבֹּ֥קֶר (bab·bō·qer)
Preposition-b, Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1242: Dawn, morning
(16) Woe.--See Note on Ecclesiastes 4:10.

A child.--The Hebrew word has a wide range, being constantly translated lad or young man, and applied, for instance, to Solomon (1Chronicles 29:1), to Rehoboam (2Chronicles 13:7), and according to a usage common to many languages (e.g., the Latin puer), it often means a servant (2Samuel 16:1, &c). Some take it in that sense here, contrasting it with the nobly-born king of the next verse. But comp. Isaiah 3:12.

In the morning.--Isaiah 5:11; Acts 2:15.

Verses 16-20. - Section 15. Koheleth returns to the theme mentioned in vers. 4-7. and speaks of folly in one who holds the position of king, and the need of wisdom and prudence in the subjects of an unworthy ruler. Verse 16. - Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child! "Child" is naar, which term included any age up to manhood. Some interpret the word here, as παῖς in Greek, in the sense of "slave," contrasting it with "the son of nobles" in the following verse. But it can hardly signify more than servitor, attendant; and in ver. 7 the antithesis to "prince" is ebed, not naar. The child in the present case is a youthful, inexperienced ruler, who does not realize his responsibilities, and is the tool of evil advisers. What particular instance, if any, Koheleth had in view it is impossible to say. Of course, many expositors see a reference to Rehoboam. whom, at forty years of age, his own son Abijah calls naar (2 Chronicles 13:7), and who was certainly childish in his conduct (1 Kings 12:1-14). Hitzig connects the passage with the reign of Ptolemy Epiphanes, who was but five years old at the death of his father, B.C. 205, the reins of government being assumed by Agathocles and his sister Agathoclea, who occasioned serious disasters to the laud. To support this opinion, the date of our book has to be considerably reduced (see Introduction). It is best to take the gnome as a general expression, like that in Isaiah 3:12, "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them." Thy princes eat in the morning. Eating here implies feasting and banqueting, beginning the day with sensual enjoyment instead of such honest work as attending to state matters, administering justice, etc., as becomes good rulers. None but profligates would thus spend the early morning. "These are not drunken, as ye suppose; seeing it is but the third hour of the day," says St. Peter, repudiating the charge of intoxication (Acts 2:15). "Woe unto them," cries Isaiah (Isaiah 5:11), "that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink!" Even the heathen censured such debauchery. Cicero thus abuses Antonius: "At quam multos dies in ea villa turpissime es per-bacchatus. Ab hora tertia bibebatur, ludebatur, vomebatur" ('Philipp.,' 2:41). Curtius (5. 7. 2) reprehends" de die convivia inire." The Greeks had a proverb to denote abnormal sensuality, Ἀφ ἡμέρας πίνειν 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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