Ecclesiastes 5:10
He who loves money is never satisfied by money, and he who loves wealth is never satisfied by income. This too is futile.
Behaviour in ChurchHomilistEcclesiastes 5:1-12
Reverence and FidelityDe Wm. S. Clark.Ecclesiastes 5:1-12
Reverence and FidelityD. J. Burrell, D. D.Ecclesiastes 5:1-12
The Prayer and the DreamJ. Bonnet.Ecclesiastes 5:1-12
Comfort in ConfusionW. Clarkson Ecclesiastes 5:8-16
Silver and SatisfactionHomilistEcclesiastes 5:10-11
The Unsatisfactoriness of Material WealthJ. S. Swan.Ecclesiastes 5:10-11
The Vanity of RichesJ. Hamilton, D. D.Ecclesiastes 5:10-11
The Unsatisfying Nature of RichesD. Thomas Ecclesiastes 5:10-17
The Drawbacks Upon WealthJ. Willcock Ecclesiastes 5:10-20

To love wealth for its own sake is ridiculous. To desire it for the sake of the advantages it may secure is natural, and (within limits) is not blamable. To set the heart upon it for such purposes, to long for it above higher good, to be absorbed in its quest, is sinful. The wise man points out the insufficiency of material possessions to satisfy the nature of man. The reflections here recorded are the result of wide observation and of personal experience.

I. RICHES CANNOT AFFORD SATISFACTION TO THOSE WHO SET THEIR AFFECTION UPON THEM. A man who uses his property for lawful ends, and regards it in the true light as a provision made by God's wisdom and bounty for his wants, need know nothing of the experience recorded in ver. 10. But he who loves - i.e., desires with ardent desire, and as the chief good of life - silver and abundance, shall not be satisfied with wealth when it is attained. It is not in the nature of earthly good to quench the deep desires of man's immoral spirit.

II. RICHES ARE CONSUMED BY THOSE WHO ARE DEPENDENT UPON THEM. A large family, a circle of dependents, needy relatives, are the cause of the disappearance even of large revenues. This is no trouble to a man who judges justly; but to a foolish man whose one desire is to accumulate, it is a distress to witness the necessary expenditure involved in family and social claims.

III. RICHES ARE a SOURCE OF ANXIETY TO THE POSSESSOR. The laboring man, who earns and eats his daily bread, and depends for to-morrow's supply upon to-morrow's toil, sleeps sweetly; whilst the capitalist and investor are wakeful by reason of many anxieties. A ship richly freighted may be wrecked, and the cargo lost; a company in which large sums have been invested may fail; a mine of precious metal upon which money has been spent, and from which much is hoped, may cease to be productive. An estate may no longer be profitable; thieves may break through and steal jewels and bullion. As surely as a man owns more than is needed for the supply of his daily wants, so surely is he liable to solicitude and care.

IV. RICHES MAY EVEN PROVE INJURIOUS TO THEIR OWNER. In some states of society the possession of wealth is likely to bring down upon the rich the envy and cupidity of a despotic ruler, who ill treats the wealthy in order to secure his riches for himself. And in all states of society there is danger lest wealth should be the occasion of moral injury, by enkindling evil passions, envy on the part of the poor, and in return hatred and suspicion on the part of the wealthy; or by leading to flattery, which in turn produces vanity and contemptuousness.

V. RICHES ARE OF NO AVAIL BEYOND THIS LIFE. They thus add, in the case of the avaricious, another sting to death; for clutch and grasp them as he may, they must be left behind. A man spends his whole life, and exhausts all his energies, in gathering together a "fortune;" no sooner has he succeeded than he is summoned to return naked to the earth, carrying nothing in his hand, poor as he came into the scene of his toils, his success, his disappointments. The king of terrors cannot be bribed. A mine of wealth cannot buy a day of life.

VI. RICHES MAY BE WASTED BY THE RICH MAN'S HEIRS. This was a misfortune of which the writer of Ecclesiastes seems to have been well aware from his prolonged observation of human life. One may gather; but who shall scatter? He to whom wealth is everything has no security that his property shall not, after his death, come into the hands of those who shall squander it in dissipation, or waste it in reckless speculations. This also is vanity.

APPLICATION. These things being so, the moral is obvious. The poor man may rest contented with his lot, for he knows not whether increase of possessions would bring him increase of happiness. The prosperous man may well give heed to the admonition, "If riches increase, set not your heart upon them." - T.

He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver.
I. That as GOODS INCREASE, DESIRE INCREASES. This is not the case universally. There are men whose property is daily increasing, but whose desires are not increasing. The answer, as to who these men are, is suggested by the text. They are those who have not set their affections upon money. Love of silver leads to dissatisfaction with silver. Love of abundance leads to dissatisfaction with increase. He who loves silver wants gold. He who loves gold wants land. "Man never is, but always to be blessed," if he look for blessedness only to earth. As bodily hunger cannot be satisfied by fine scenery which appeals to the eye; as thirst cannot be quenched by the strains of even the sweetest music; and as what ministers to mental growth will not, directly at least, tend to physical development; so neither can the soul thrive upon food other than its own. God made man for Himself, and away from God, there is for man no abiding, no solid satisfaction.

II. THAT EXPENDITURE KEEPS PACE WITH INCOME. Wants are born of "goods." These increase and so do those who eat them. Further, wealth has its duties as well as its advantages; and in its possessor be a Christian he will recognize those duties. The practical recognition of them proves this, that "when goods are increased they are increased that eat them."

III. That the LOVE OF WEALTH IS VANITY. "This also is vanity." To love wealth "is vanity": because love of wealth makes men cold, unsympathetic, and morally unmanly, causes them to live from circumference to centre, instead of from centre to circumference. On the contrary he who lives for others lives a radiating life, realizes that all are brethren. To love wealth is vanity, because whilst there is an excitement in the pursuit of wealth there is no true enjoyment in its" possession. A soul centred upon worldly wealth, like the daughter of the horse-leech, cries, "Give! give!" We cannot serve God and mammon

(J. S. Swan.)

This passage describes the vanity of riches. With the enjoyments Of frugal industry it contrasts the woes of wealth. Looking up from that condition on which Solomon looked down, it may help to reconcile us to our lot, if we remember how the most opulent of princes envied it.

1. In all grades of society human subsistence is very much the same. Even princes are not fed with ambrosia, nor do poets subsist on asphodel. Bread and water, the produce of the flocks and the herds, and a few homely vegetables, form the staple of his food who can lay the globe under tribute; and these essentials of healthful existence are within the attainment of ordinary industry.

2. When a man begins to amass money, he begins to feed an appetite which nothing can appease, and which its proper food will only render fiercer. "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver." To greed there may be "increase," but no increase can ever be "abundance." Therefore, happy they who have never got enough to awaken the accumulating passion, and who, feeling that food and raiment are the utmost to which they can aspire, are therewith content.

3. It should reconcile us to the want of wealth, that, as abundance grows, so grow the consumers, and of riches less perishable, the proprietor enjoys no more than the mere spectator. A rich man buys a picture or a statue, and he is proud to think that his mansion is adorned with such a famous masterpiece. But a poor man comes and looks at it, and, because he has the aesthetic insight, in a few minutes he is conscious of more astonishment and pleasure than the dull proprietor has experienced in half a century. Or, a rich man lays out a park or a garden, and, except the diversion of planning and remodelling, he has derived from it little enjoyment; but some bright morning a holiday student or a town-pent tourist comes, and when he leaves he carries with him a freight of life-long recollections.

4. Amongst the pleasures of obscurity, or rather of occupation, the next noticed is sound slumber. Sometimes the wealthy would be the better for a taste of poverty; it would reveal to them their privileges. But if the poor could get a taste of opulence, it would reveal to them strange luxuries in lowliness. Fevered with late hours and false excitement, or scared by visions the righteous recompense of gluttonous excess, or with breath suppressed and palpitating heart listing the fancied footsteps of the robber, grandeur often pays a nightly penance for the triumph of the day.

5. Wealth is often the ruin of its possessor. It is "kept for the owner to his hurt." Like that King of Cyprus who made himself so rich that he became a tempting spoil, and who, rather than lose his treasures, embarked them in perforated ships; but, wanting courage to draw the plugs, ventured back to land and lost both his money and his life: so a fortune is a great perplexity to its owner, and is no defence in times of danger. And very often, by enabling him to procure all that heart can wish, it pierces him through with many sorrows. Ministering to.the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, misdirected opulence has ruined many both in soul and body.

6. Nor is it a small vexation to have accumulated a fortune, and when expecting to transmit it to some favourite child, to find it suddenly swept away (vers. 14-16). There is now the son, but where is the sumptuous mansion? Here is the heir, but where is the vaunted heritage?

7. Last of all, are the infirmity and fretfulness which are the frequent companions of wealth. You pass a stately mansion, and as the powdered menials are closing the shutters of the brilliant room, and you see the sumptuous table spread and the fire-light flashing on vessels of gold and vessels of silver, perhaps no pang of envy pricks your bosom, but a glow of gratulation for a moment fills it: Happy people who tread carpets so soft, and who swim through halls so splendid! But, some future day, when the candles are lighted and the curtains drawn in that selfsame apartment, it is your lot to be within; and as the invalid owner is wheeled to his place at the table, and as dainties are handed round of which he dare not taste, and as the guests interchange cold courtesy, and all is so stiff and so commonplace, and so heartlessly grand, your fancy cannot help flying of[ to some humbler spot with which you are mere familiar, and "where quiet with contentment makes her home."

(J. Hamilton, D. D.)

This is true of all earthly things. No man is satisfied with any human idol.

I. CORRUPT AFFECTION. All worldly love is corrupt. There is nothing good in silver. It has only present beauty and usefulness.

II. THE GLAMOUR OF TIME. How bright is the tinsel of an illuminated theatre! Such is the spell cast over the things of time and sense, until the Spirit of God causes the sunshine to beam in our hearts.

III. THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF AMBITION. Like a mirage the object sought eludes the grasp. No acquisition is final. The more we get the more we want.


Abundance, Gain, Income, Increase, Love, Loves, Loveth, Loving, Meaningless, Money, Profit, Purpose, Satisfied, Silver, Stores, Vanity, Wealth
1. vanities in divine service
8. in murmuring against oppression
9. and in riches
18. Joy in riches is the gift of God.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ecclesiastes 5:10

     5413   money, attitudes
     5591   treasure
     5839   dissatisfaction
     5845   emptiness
     5939   satisfaction
     6106   addiction
     8302   love, abuse of
     8701   affluence
     8779   materialism, nature of
     8780   materialism, and sin
     8809   riches

Ecclesiastes 5:8-15

     5916   pessimism

Ecclesiastes 5:10-14

     8812   riches, ungodly use

Ecclesiastes 5:10-15

     5907   miserliness

Naked or Clothed?
'As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.'--ECCLES. v. 15. '... Their works do follow them.'--REV. xiv. 13. It is to be observed that these two sharply contrasted texts do not refer to the same persons. The former is spoken of a rich worldling, the latter of 'the dead who die in the Lord.' The unrelieved gloom of the one is as a dark background against which the triumphant assurance of
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Lessons for Worship and for Work
'Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. 2. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth; therefore let thy words be few. 3. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words. 4. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for He hath
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Things to be Meditated on as Thou Goest to the Church.
1. That thou art going to the court of the Lord, and to speak with the great God by prayer; and to hear his majesty speak unto thee by his word; and to receive his blessing on thy soul, and thy honest labour, in the six days past. 2. Say with thyself by the way--"As the hart brayeth for the rivers of water, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, even for the living God: When shall I come and appear before the presence of God? For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

i. editions of chrysostom's works. S. Joannis Chrysostomi, archiepiscopi Constantinopolitani, Opera omnia quæ exstant vel quæ ejus nomine circumferuntur, ad mss. codices Gallicos, Vaticanos, Anglicos, Germanicosque castigata, etc. Opera et studio D.Bernardi de Montfaucon, monachi ordinis S. Benedicti e congregatione S. Mauri, opem ferentibus aliis ex codem sodalitio, monachis. Greek and Latin, Paris, 1718-'38, in 13 vols., fol. This is the best edition, and the result of about twenty
St. Chrysostom—On the Priesthood

Ninth Day for God's Spirit on Our Mission Work
WHAT TO PRAY.--For God's Spirit on our Mission Work "The evangelisation of the world depends first of all upon a revival of prayer. Deeper than the need for men--ay, deep down at the bottom of our spiritless life, is the need for the forgotten secret of prevailing, world-wide prayer." "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul. Then when they had fasted and prayed, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed."--ACTS
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

Thoughts Upon Worldly-Riches. Sect. Ii.
TIMOTHY after his Conversion to the Christian Faith, being found to be a Man of great Parts, Learning, and Piety, and so every way qualified for the work of the Ministry, St. Paul who had planted a Church at Ephesus the Metropolis or chief City of all Asia, left him to dress and propagate it, after his departure from it, giving him Power to ordain Elders or Priests, and to visit and exercise Jurisdiction over them, to see they did not teach false Doctrines, 1 Tim. i. 3. That they be unblameable in
William Beveridge—Private Thoughts Upon a Christian Life

There is a Blessedness in Reversion
Blessed are the poor in spirit. Matthew 5:3 Having done with the occasion, I come now to the sermon itself. Blessed are the poor in spirit'. Christ does not begin his Sermon on the Mount as the Law was delivered on the mount, with commands and threatenings, the trumpet sounding, the fire flaming, the earth quaking, and the hearts of the Israelites too for fear; but our Saviour (whose lips dropped as the honeycomb') begins with promises and blessings. So sweet and ravishing was the doctrine of this
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

How to be Admonished are those who Give Away what is their Own, and those who Seize what Belongs to Others.
(Admonition 21.) Differently to be admonished are those who already give compassionately of their own, and those who still would fain seize even what belongs to others. For those who already give compassionately of their own are to be admonished not to lift themselves up in swelling thought above those to whom they impart earthly things; not to esteem themselves better than others because they see others to be supported by them. For the Lord of an earthly household, in distributing the ranks and
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Covenanting Confers Obligation.
As it has been shown that all duty, and that alone, ought to be vowed to God in covenant, it is manifest that what is lawfully engaged to in swearing by the name of God is enjoined in the moral law, and, because of the authority of that law, ought to be performed as a duty. But it is now to be proved that what is promised to God by vow or oath, ought to be performed also because of the act of Covenanting. The performance of that exercise is commanded, and the same law which enjoins that the duties
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

It is not surprising that the book of Ecclesiastes had a struggle to maintain its place in the canon, and it was probably only its reputed Solomonic authorship and the last two verses of the book that permanently secured its position at the synod of Jamnia in 90 A.D. The Jewish scholars of the first century A.D. were struck by the manner in which it contradicted itself: e.g., "I praised the dead more than the living," iv. 2, "A living dog is better than a dead lion," ix. 4; but they were still more
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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