Useful Bible Studies > Ecclesiastes Commentary > chapter 10

Get-rich-quick schemes

Ecclesiastes 10:11

A ‘get-rich-quick scheme’ is a plan to earn money without much effort. Such plans almost always fail; most people must work hard for their money. As Ecclesiastes 10:11 shows, there is nothing new about such ideas.

Ecclesiastes 10:11 describes an ancient type of ‘get-rich-quick scheme’. The idea is, simply, that a man can charm (control) a snake.

(1) Perhaps the man teaches the snake to dance as he plays a musical instrument. Then, he can do it in public and a crowd will pay to watch. In some countries, people still do entertain in this manner.

(2) Or perhaps the man learns that skill in order to get snakes out of houses. People will pay him to do that.

The problem is that snakes are dangerous animals. The bite of many snakes will kill a man. If a snake is very dangerous, people will pay the man well. But that fact causes a terrible risk for the man who works with snakes. If he can control snakes successfully, he can earn a lot of money. But a snake may bite him at any moment, and then he will lose everything. Money has no value for a dead man. And money gives no comfort to a very ill man.

It is easy to imagine the profits that our plans may achieve. But even the best plans only succeed after a lot of hard work. First, the person must learn the skills that he will need. He must understand the risks and he must think about the dangers. Then he must carry out the work well. And he must continue until he has completed the entire task (Ecclesiastes 7:8). Even then, his plans may still not succeed (Ecclesiastes 9:11).

But someone who is really wise does not make his own plans. Instead, he asks God to direct his life. And he trusts God completely (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Next part: A foolish person’s words ruin his own life (Ecclesiastes 10:12-15)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.