Ecclesiastes 10:18
Through laziness the roof caves in, and in the hands of the idle, the house leaks.
The Curse of SlothD. Thomas Ecclesiastes 10:18
Duties of Rulers and SubjectsJ. Willcock Ecclesiastes 10:16-20
Ruin - its Forms and its SourcesW. Clarkson Ecclesiastes 10:17, 18

Religious teachers are sometimes unwilling to touch upon common faults, such as are noticeable by every observer as prevailing too generally in the everyday life of their fellow-men. The Scriptures give no countenance to such negligence, but, on the contrary, deal faithfully with those errors and evil habits which are alien from the Christian character, and which are injurious to: human society. Slothfulness was peculiarly hateful to the writer of this book, who inculcated diligence as a religious duty, and exhibited in homely but effective ways the results of its prevalence.

I. TEMPTATIONS TO SLOTH ARE MANY. Work must be done, some will admit; but it may be left to others, or it may be put off to a more convenient season. Work need not be done, others will declare; much may be left undone which some people think of importance, but which is not really so. Upon the plea of ill health, or mental inability, or preoccupation, multitudes, in this world where there is so much to be done, sink into slothful, indolent habits and a useless life,


1. The slothful man is his own enemy. Had he exerted himself and exercised his powers, he would have grown an abler and a better man. Who does not know persons with undeniable gifts who have "wrapped their talent in a napkin," and who have morally deteriorated, until they have become worthless members of society?

2. The slothful man wrongs society. Every man is born into this world to do a work for the general good. To live in idleness and comfort upon the produce of others' toil is to inflict a positive injury. Others have to labor in order that the idle may be fed. Work is left undone for which the indolent possess, it may be, some peculiar gift. For the life of the slothful the world is none the better.

III. THE SIN OF SLOTH IS CONDEMNED BY THE WORD OF GOD. The Book of Proverbs contains some very striking reflections and statements upon this point. And for the Christian it is enough to consider the example of the Lord Jesus, who with all his consecrated energy devoted himself to his Father's will and work. How alien from the Master's spirit is the habit of the indolent! We cannot lose sight of the fact that, in the last judgment, the "wicked and slothful servant" must hear words of condemnation.


1. Prayer prompts to watchfulness and toil.

2. Attention to the counsels and admonitions of God's Word cannot fail to be serviceable in delivering us from temptations to slothfulness.

3. Meditation upon the example of our Savior and Lord will stimulate to diligence and zeal. They who by the indwelling of his Spirit are one with him will share his devotion to the Father's will, his consecration to the welfare of mankind. - T.

Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!
(with Psalm 26:10): — Those two passages are descriptive of wickedness in high places. The morals of a nation hardly ever rise higher than the virtue of the rulers. Henry VIII. makes impurity national and popular. A William Wilberforce in the Parliament ennobles an empire. Sin, epauletted and bestarred, comes to respect and canonization; vice, elevated, is recommended. Malarias rise from the marsh, float upward and away; but moral distempers descend from the mountain to the plain.

1. In unrolling, then, this scroll of wickedness in high places, the first thing that I mark especially is incompetency for office. If a man seeks for a place and wins it when he is incompetent, he is committing a crime against God and a crime against man. It is not a sin for me to be ignorant of medical science; but if, without medical attainment, I set myself up among professional men, and trifle, in my ignorance, with the lives of those whose confidence I have won, then my charlatanism becomes high-handed knavery. The ignorance that in the one case was innocence, in the other case becomes a crime. It is not a sin for me to be ignorant of machinery; but if I attempt to engineer a steamer across the Atlantic, amid darkness and hurricane, holding the lives of hundreds of people in my grasp, then the blood of all the shipwrecked is on my garment. But what shall we say of men who attempt to engineer our State and national affairs over the rough waters without the first element of qualification? — men not knowing enough to vote "aye" or "no" until they have looked for the wink of others of their party?

2. I unroll the scroll a little further and find intemperance and the co-ordinate crimes. Oh! it is a sad thing to have a hand tremulous with intoxication holding the scales of justice, when the lives of men and the destinies of a nation are in the balance; to have a charioteer with unskilful hands on the reins while the swift destinies of governments are harnessed on a road where governments have been dashed to pieces, and empires have gone down in darkness and woe!

3. I unroll the scroll of wickedness in high places still further, and I see the crime of bribery. It was that which corrupted Lord Bacon in his magnificent position — it was that which led Chief Justice Thorpe to the gallows.There are four things for you to do: —

1. First, stand off from all political office unless your own principles are thoroughly settled. Do not go into the blaze of temptation unless you are fire-proof.

2. The second thing to do is to take the counsel of Paul, and pray for your rulers; pray for all in authority. Do you know that Shadrach and Abednego did not need the Son of God beside them in the fire so much as your rulers do?

3. In the next place, be faithful at the ballot-box. Make up your mind in a Christian way as to who are the best Men for office; then vote for the man who loves God and hates rum, and believes in having the Bible read every day, as long as the world stands, in all our common schools. But I have a better prescription than all.

4. It is the fourth thing that I have to say in the way of counsel, and that is, evangelize the people. Gospelize this country, and you will have pure representatives and pure men everywhere.

(T. De Witt Talmage.).

Building, Decayeth, Drippeth, Drop, Droppeth, Falleth, Framework, Fulness, Goes, Hands, Idle, Idleness, Indolence, Lazy, Leaketh, Leaks, Low, Nothing, Rafters, Roof, Sag, Sink, Sinketh, Sinks, Slackness, Sloth, Slothfulness, Wall
1. observations of wisdom and folly
7. death in life
9. and the day of judgment in the days of youth, are to be thought on

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ecclesiastes 10:18

     5156   hand
     5340   house
     5343   idleness
     5386   leisure, nature of
     5539   sluggard
     5634   work, and the fall
     5810   complacency

The Way to the City
'The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.'--ECCLES. x. 15. On the surface this seems to be merely a piece of homely, practical sagacity, conjoined with one of the bitter things which Ecclesiastes is fond of saying about those whom he calls 'fools.' It seems to repeat, under another metaphor, the same idea which has been presented in a previous verse, where we read: 'If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Fences and Serpents
'... Whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.'--ECCLES. x. 8. What is meant here is, probably, not such a hedge as we are accustomed to see, but a dry-stone wall, or, perhaps, an earthen embankment, in the crevices of which might lurk a snake to sting the careless hand. The connection and purpose of the text are somewhat obscure. It is one of a string of proverb-like sayings which all seem to be illustrations of the one thought that every kind of work has its own appropriate and peculiar
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"For they that are after the Flesh do Mind,"
Rom. viii. s 5, 6.--"For they that are after the flesh do mind," &c. "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." There are many differences among men in this world, that, as to outward appearance, are great and wide, and indeed they are so eagerly pursued, and seriously minded by men, as if they were great and momentous. You see what a strife and contention there is among men, how to be extracted out of the dregs of the multitude, and set a little higher
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners Or, a Brief Relation of the Exceeding Mercy of God in Christ, to his Poor Servant, John Bunyan
In this my relation of the merciful working of God upon my soul, it will not be amiss, if in the first place, I do in a few words give you a hint of my pedigree, and manner of bringing up; that thereby the goodness and bounty of God towards me, may be the more advanced and magnified before the sons of men. 2. For my descent then, it was, as is well known by many, of a low and inconsiderable generation; my father's house being of that rank that is meanest, and most despised of all the families in
John Bunyan—Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

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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