Ecclesiastes 10:2
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left.

King James Bible
A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.

American Standard Version
A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The heart of a wise man is in his right hand, and the heart of a fool is in his left hand.

English Revised Version
A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.

Webster's Bible Translation
A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart is at his left.

Ecclesiastes 10:2 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"A little city, and men therein only a few, - to which a great king came near, and he besieged it, and erected against it high bulwarks. And he met therein a poor wise man, and who saved the city by his wisdom; and no man thought of that poor man." What may be said as to the hist. reference of these words has already been noticed. The "great king" is probably an Asiatic monarch, and that the Persian; Jerome translates verbally: Civitas parva et pauci in ea viri, venit contra eam - the former is the subj., and the latter its pred.; the object stands first, plastically rigid, and there then follows what happened to it; the structure of the sentence is fundamentally the same as Psalm 104:25. The expression אל בּוא, which may be used of any kind of coming to anything, is here, as at Genesis 32:9, meant of a hostile approach. The object of a siege and a hostile attack is usually denoted by על, 2 Kings 16:5; Isaiah 7:1. Two Codd. of de Rossi's have the word מצורים, but that is an error of transcription; the plur. of מצור is fem., Isaiah 29:4. מצודים is, as at Ecclesiastes 7:26, plur. of מצוד (from צוּד, to lie in wait); here, as elsewhere, בּחן and דּיק is the siege-tower erected on the ground or on the rampart, from which to spy out the weak points of the beleaguered place so as to assail it.

The words following בהּ וּמצא are rendered by the Targ., Syr., Jerome, Arab., and Luther: "and there was found in it;" most interpreters explain accordingly, as they point to Ecclesiastes 1:10, יאמר, dicat aliquis. But that מץ taht in this sequence of thought is equals ונמצא (Job 42:15), is only to be supposed if it were impossible to regard the king as the subject, which Ewald with the lxx and the Venet. does in spite of 294b. It is true it would not be possible if, as Vaih. remarks, the finding presupposed a searching; but cf. on the contrary, e.g., Deuteronomy 24:1; Psalm 116:3. We also say of one whom, contrary to expectation, a superior meets with, that he has found his match, that he has found his man. Thus it is here said of the great king, he found in the city a poor wise man - met therein with such an one, against whom his plan was shattered. חכם is the adjective of the person of the poor man designated by ish miskēn (cf. 2 Chronicles 2:13); the accents correctly indicate this relation. Instead of וּמלּט־הוּא, the older language would use וימלּט; it does not, like the author here, use pure perfects, but makes the chief factum prominent by the fut. consec. The ē of millēt is that of limmēd before Makkeph, referred back to the original a. The making prominent of the subject contained in millat by means of hu is favourable to the supposition that umatsa' has the king as its subject; while even where no opposition (as e.g., at Jeremiah 17:18) lies before us this pleonasm belongs to the stylistic peculiarities of the book. Instead of adam lo, the older form is ish lo; perhaps the author here wishes to avoid the repetition of ish, but at Ecclesiastes 7:20 he also uses adam instead of ish, where no such reason existed.

Threatened by a powerful assailant, with whom it could not enter into battle, the little city, deserted by its men to a small remainder capable of bearing arms (this idea one appears to be under the necessity of connecting with מעט ... ואן), found itself in the greatest straits; but when all had been given up as lost, it was saved by the wisdom of the poor man (perhaps in the same way as Abel-beth-maacha, 2 Samuel 20, by the wisdom of a woman). But after this was done, the wise poor man quickly again fell into the background; no man thought of him, as he deserved to have been thought of, as the saviour of the city; he was still poor, and remained so, and pauper homo raro vifit cum nomine claro. The poor man with his wisdom, Hengst. remarks, is Israel. And Wangemann (1856), generalizing the parable: "The beleaguered city is the life of the individual; the great king who lays siege to it is death and the judgment of the Lord." But sounder and more appropriate is the remark of Luther: Est exemplum generale, cujus in multis historiis simile reperitur; and: Sic Themistocles multa bona fecit suis civibus, sed expertus summam intratitudinem. The author narrates an actual history, in which, on the one hand, he had seen what great things wisdom can do; and from which, on the other hand, he has drawn the following lesson:

Ecclesiastes 10:2 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave...

Proverbs 14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.

Luke 14:28-32 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it...


Ecclesiastes 10:10,14 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct...

Proverbs 17:16 Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he has no heart to it?

Luke 12:18-20 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods...

Cross References
Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 25:33
And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.

Colossians 3:1
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

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