Ecclesiastes 4:13
New International Version
Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning.

New Living Translation
It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who refuses all advice.

English Standard Version
Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice.

Berean Study Bible
Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take a warning.

New American Standard Bible
A poor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction.

King James Bible
Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.

Christian Standard Bible
Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer pays attention to warnings.

Contemporary English Version
You may be poor and young, but if you are wise, you are better off than a foolish old king who won't listen to advice.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer pays attention to warnings.

International Standard Version
A poor but wise youth is better than an old but foolish king who will no longer accept correction.

NET Bible
A poor but wise youth is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive advice.

New Heart English Bible
Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who doesn't know how to receive admonition any more.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
A young man who is poor and wise is better than an old, foolish king who won't take advice any longer.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who knoweth not how to receive admonition any more.

New American Standard 1977
A poor, yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king who will no longer be admonished.

King James 2000 Bible
Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no longer be admonished.

American King James Version
Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.

American Standard Version
Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who knoweth not how to receive admonition any more.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who knows not how to take heed any longer.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Better is a child that is poor and wise, than a king that is old and foolish, who knoweth not to foresee for hereafter.

Darby Bible Translation
Better is a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king, who knoweth no more how to be admonished.

English Revised Version
Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who knoweth not how to receive admonition any more.

Webster's Bible Translation
Better is a poor and a wise child, than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.

World English Bible
Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who doesn't know how to receive admonition any more.

Young's Literal Translation
Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who hath not known to be warned any more.
Study Bible
The Futility of Power
13Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take a warning. 14For the youth came from prison to be king, even though he was born poor in his kingdom.…
Cross References
Ecclesiastes 4:12
And though one may be overpowered, two can resist. Moreover, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 7:19
Wisdom makes the wise man stronger than ten rulers in a city.

Ecclesiastes 9:15
Now a poor wise man was found in the city, and he saved the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man.

Treasury of Scripture

Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.

is a poor

Ecclesiastes 9:15,16
Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man…

Genesis 37:2
These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.

Proverbs 19:1
Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

will no more be

1 Kings 22:8
And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.

2 Chronicles 16:9,10
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars…

2 Chronicles 24:20-22
And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you…







Lexicon
Better
ט֛וֹב (ṭō·wḇ)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2896: Pleasant, agreeable, good

is a poor
מִסְכֵּ֖ן (mis·kên)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4542: Indigent

but wise
וְחָכָ֑ם (wə·ḥā·ḵām)
Conjunctive waw | Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2450: Wise

youth
יֶ֥לֶד (ye·leḏ)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3206: Something born, a lad, offspring

than an old
זָקֵן֙ (zā·qên)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2205: Old

but foolish
וּכְסִ֔יל (ū·ḵə·sîl)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3684: Stupid fellow, dullard, fool

king
מִמֶּ֤לֶךְ (mim·me·leḵ)
Preposition-m | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4428: A king

who
אֲשֶׁ֛ר (’ă·šer)
Pronoun - relative
Strong's Hebrew 834: Who, which, what, that, when, where, how, because, in order that

no
לֹא־ (lō-)
Adverb - Negative particle
Strong's Hebrew 3808: Not, no

longer
עֽוֹד׃ (‘ō·wḏ)
Adverb
Strong's Hebrew 5750: Iteration, continuance, again, repeatedly, still, more

knows
יָדַ֥ע (yā·ḏa‘)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3045: To know

how to take a warning.
לְהִזָּהֵ֖ר (lə·hiz·zā·hêr)
Preposition-l | Verb - Nifal - Infinitive construct
Strong's Hebrew 2094: To gleam, to enlighten
(13) The section commencing here presents great difficulties of interpretation, in overcoming which we have little help from the context, on account of the abruptness with which, in this verse, a new subject is introduced.

Poor.--The word occurs again in this book (Ecclesiastes 9:15-16), but not elsewhere in the Old Testament: kindred words occur in Deuteronomy 8:9; Isaiah 40:20. No confidence can be placed in the attempts made to find a definite historical reference in this verse and the next.

Verses 13-16. - High place offers no assurance of security. A king's popularity is never permanent; he is supplanted by some clever young aspirant for a time, whose influence in turn soon evaporates, and the subject-people reap no benefit from the change. Verse 13. - Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king. The word translated "child" (yeled), is used sometimes of one beyond childhood (see Genesis 30:26; Genesis 37:30; 1 Kings 12:8), so here it may be rendered "youth." Misken, πενὴς (Septuagint), pauper (Vulgate), "poor," is found also at Ecclesiastes 9:15, 16, and nowhere else; but the root, with an analogous signification, occurs at Deuteronomy 8:9 and Isaiah 40:20. The clause says that a youth who is clever and adroit, though sprung from a sordid origin, is better off than a king who has not learned wisdom with his years, and who, it is afterwards implied, is dethroned by this young man. Who will no more be admonished; better, as in the Revised Version, who knoweth not how to receive admonition any more. Age has only fossilized his self-will and obstinacy; and though he was once open to advice and hearkened to reproof, he now bears no contradiction and takes no counsel. Septuagint, Ὅς οὐκ ἔγνω τοῦ προέχειν ἔτι, "Who knows not how to take heed any longer;" which is perhaps similar to the Vulgate, Qui nescit praevidere in posterum, "Who knows not how to look forward to the future." The words will bear this translation, and it accords with one view of the author's meaning (see below); but that given above is more suitable to the interpretation of the paragraph which approves itself to us. The sentence is of general import, and may be illustrated by a passage from the Book of Wisdom (4. 8, 9), "Honorable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor that is measured by length of years. But wisdom is the grey hair unto men, and an unspotted life is old age." So Cicero, 'De Senect.,' 18:62, "Non cant nee rugae repente auctoritatem arripere possunt, sod honeste acta superior aetas fructus capit aactoritatis extremes." Some have thought that Solomon is here speaking of himself, avowing his folly and expressing his contrition, in view of his knowledge of Jeroboam's delegation to the kingdom - the crafty youth of poor estate (1 Kings 11:26, etc.), whom the Prophet Ahijah had warned of approaching greatness. But there is nothing in the recorded history of Solomon to make probable such expression of self-abasement, and our author could never have so completely misrepresented him. Here, too, is another proof that Ecclesiastes is not written by Solomon himself. 4:13-16 People are never long easy and satisfied; they are fond of changes. This is no new thing. Princes see themselves slighted by those they have studied to oblige; this is vanity and vexation of spirit. But the willing servants of the Lord Jesus, our King, rejoice in him alone, and they will love Him more and more to all eternity.
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