Ecclesiastes 10:8, 9
He that digs a pit shall fall into it; and whoever breaks an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.
Under these picturesque and impressive figures of speech, the Preacher appears to set forth the important moral lesson, that they who work harm and wrong to their fellow-men shall not themselves escape with impunity.
I. THE SIGNS AND THE SIN OF MALICE. The case is one of intentional, deliberate malevolence, working itself out in acts of mischief and wrong. Such a spirit so expressing itself may be characterized
(1) as a perversion of natural sentiment;
(2) as a wrong to our social nature, and a violation of the conditions of our social life; and
(3) as in flagrant contradiction to the commands of God, and the precepts of our gracious and compassionate Savior.
II. THE RETRIBUTION OF MALICE. The proverbial language of the text is paralleled by somewhat similar apophthegms in various languages, as, for example, in the Oriental proverb, "Curses, like chickens, come home to roost."
1. Such retribution is often wrought by the ordinary operation of natural laws. The story of the pirate-rover who was wrecked upon the crags of Aberbrothock, from which he himself had cut off the warning bell, is an instance familiar to our minds from childhood.
2. Retribution is sometimes effected by the action of the laws enforced in all civilized communities. The lex talionis, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," may be taken as an example of a principle the applications of which are discernible in all the various states of society existing among men.
3. Those who escape the penalties of nature and the indignation of their fellow-men cannot escape the righteous judgment of God; they shall not go unpunished. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.