Useful Bible Studies > Ecclesiastes Commentary > chapter 9

How one manís wisdom saved his city

Ecclesiastes 9:13-15

This little story is as beautiful as it is impressive.

The results of the battle seemed certain. The king led a strong army that had surrounded the city. The cityís inhabitants were too few to defend their city. Although the city had defences, the soldiers had already built up piles of earth to get past those defences. Now they were just waiting for the kingís order to enter the city and to kill its inhabitants.

The author has told us that strong people do not always win battles. It can seem as if everything in life happens by chance (Ecclesiastes 9:11). But it was not chance that saved this city. It was the wisdom of one poor man whom nobody respected.

We do not know what this poor man did. But there is an account of a similar incident in 2 Samuel 20:14-22. There, a wise woman saved her city.

The author tells this story to prove that wisdom is better than strength (Ecclesiastes 9:16). Although people do not usually respect wisdom, wisdom is actually more valuable than any other quality (Proverbs 3:13-18). That is so because true wisdom comes from God himself (Proverbs 2:6).

Wisdom may not give a person wealth or honour. But even in this world, some things are more important than wealth and honour. Wisdom saved that city; wisdom rescued its inhabitants.

The results of another type of battle seemed certain, too. Evil forces are so strong that they control the whole world as a prisoner (Galatians 3:22). But wisdom is more powerful than strength. And Godís wisdom is more powerful than the strength of those evil forces.

People laughed at Christís death (Mark 15:29-32). In their opinion, his death was foolish; it showed his weakness. But that was not weakness: it was Godís wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:22-25).

Even as the wisdom of the man in the story saved his city, so Christís wisdom saves his people (1 Corinthians 1:18). Christís wisdom saves them from the devil (Hebrews 2:14). And Christís wisdom saves them from the evil forces that control this world (Hebrews 2:15).

The people in the city did not remember the man who saved them. In the same manner, the people in this world did not recognise Christís wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:7-8; John 1:10). But we can receive him into our lives. We can believe and trust in him (John 1:12). And if we do these things, he will save us (John 3:16-17).

Next part: Why people will not listen to wise advice (Ecclesiastes 9:16)

 

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© 2014, Keith Simons.