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Ecclesiastes 4:13 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who knoweth not how to receive admonition any more.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Better [is] a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— A poor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows [how] to receive instruction.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Better [is] a poor and a wise child, than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Better is a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king, who knoweth no more how to be admonished.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Better a boy poor and wise,—than a king, old and stupid, who knoweth not how to take warning any longer.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who hath not known to be warned any more.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Better is a child that is poor and wise, than a king that is old and foolish, who knoweth not to foresee for hereafter.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Better [is] a poore and a wise child, then an old and foolish king who will no more be admonished.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who knows not how to take heed any longer.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Better [is] a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Better 2896
{2896} Prime
טוֹב
towb
{tobe}
From H2895; good (as an adjective) in the widest sense; used likewise as a noun, both in the masculine and the feminine, the singular and the plural (good, a good or good thing, a good man or woman; the good, goods or good things, good men or women), also as an adverb (well).
[is] a poor 4542
{4542} Prime
מִסְכֵּן
micken
{mis-kane'}
From H5531; indigent.
and a wise 2450
{2450} Prime
חָכָם
chakam
{khaw-kawm'}
From H2449; wise, (that is, intelligent, skilful or artful).
child 3206
{3206} Prime
יֶלֶד
yeled
{yeh'-led}
From H3205; something born, that is, a lad or offspring.
than an old 2205
{2205} Prime
זָקֵן
zaqen
{zaw-kane'}
From H2204; old.
and foolish 3684
{3684} Prime
כְּסִיל
k@ciyl
{kes-eel'}
From H3688; properly fat, that is, (figuratively) stupid or silly.
king, 4428
{4428} Prime
מֶּלֶךְ
melek
{meh'-lek}
From H4427; a king.
x4480
(4480) Complement
מִן
min
{min}
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
who x834
(0834) Complement
אֲשֶׁר
'asher
{ash-er'}
A primitive relative pronoun (of every gender and number); who, which, what, that; also (as adverb and conjunction) when, where, how, because, in order that, etc.
will 3045
{3045} Prime
ידע
yada`
{yaw-dah'}
A primitive root; to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observation, care, recognition; and causatively instruction, designation, punishment, etc.).
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
no x3808
(3808) Complement
לֹא
lo'
{lo}
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
more x5750
(5750) Complement
עוֹד
`owd
{ode}
From H5749; properly iteration or continuance; used only adverbially (with or without preposition), again, repeatedly, still, more.
be admonished. 2094
{2094} Prime
זהר
zahar
{zaw-har'}
A primitive root; to gleam; figuratively to enlighten (by caution).
z8736
<8736> Grammar
Stem - Niphal (See H8833)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 240
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Ecclesiastes 4:13

_ _ The “threefold cord” [Ecclesiastes 4:12] of social ties suggests the subject of civil government. In this case too, he concludes that kingly power confers no lasting happiness. The “wise” child, though a supposed case of Solomon, answers, in the event foreseen by the Holy Ghost, to Jeroboam, then a poor but valiant youth, once a “servant” of Solomon, and (1 Kings 11:26-40) appointed by God through the prophet Ahijah to be heir of the kingdom of the ten tribes about to be rent from Rehoboam. The “old and foolish king” answers to Solomon himself, who had lost his wisdom, when, in defiance of two warnings of God (1 Kings 3:14; 1 Kings 9:2-9), he forsook God.

_ _ will no more be admonished — knows not yet how to take warning (see Margin) God had by Ahijah already intimated the judgment coming on Solomon (1 Kings 11:11-13).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Ecclesiastes 4:13-16

_ _ Solomon was himself a king, and therefore may be allowed to speak more freely than another concerning the vanity of kingly state and dignity, which he shows here to be an uncertain thing; he had before said so (Proverbs 27:24, The crown doth not endure to every generation), and his son found it so. Nothing is more slippery than the highest post of honour without wisdom and the people's love.

_ _ I. A king is not happy unless he have wisdom, Ecclesiastes 4:13, Ecclesiastes 4:14. He that is truly wise, prudent, and pious, though he be poor in the world, and very young, and upon both accounts despised and little taken notice of, is better, more truly valuable and worthy of respect, is likely to do better for himself and to be a greater blessing to his generation, than a king, than an old king, and therefore venerable both for his gravity and for his dignity, if he be foolish, and knows not how to manage public affairs himself nor will be admonished and advised by others — who knows not to be admonished, that is, will not suffer any counsel or admonition to be given him (no one about him dares contradict him) or will not hearken to the counsel and admonition that are given him. It is so far from being any part of the honour of kings that it is the greatest dishonour to them that can be not to be admonished. Folly and wilfulness commonly go together, and those that most need admonition can worst bear it; but neither age nor titles will secure men respect if they have not true wisdom and virtue to recommend them; while wisdom and virtue will gain men honour even under the disadvantages of youth and poverty. To prove the wise child better than the foolish king he shows what each of them comes to, Ecclesiastes 4:14. 1. A poor man by his wisdom comes to be preferred, as Joseph, who, when he was but young, was brought out of prison to be the second man in the kingdom, to which story Solomon seems here to refer. Providence sometimes raises the poor out of the dust, to set them among princes, Psalms 113:7, Psalms 113:8. Wisdom has wrought not only the liberty of men, but their dignity, raised them from the dunghill, from the dungeon, to the throne. 2. A king by his folly and wilfulness comes to be impoverished. Though he was born in his kingdom, came to it by inheritance, though he has lived to be old in it and has had time to fill his treasures, yet if he take ill courses, and will no more be admonished as he has been, thinking, because he is old, he is past it, he becomes poor; his treasure is exhausted, and perhaps he is forced to resign his crown and retire into privacy.

_ _ II. A king is not likely to continue if he have not a confirmed interest in the affections of the people; this is intimated, but somewhat obscurely, in the last two verses. 1. He that is king must have a successor, a second, a child that shall stand up in his stead, his own, suppose, or perhaps that poor and wise child spoken of, Ecclesiastes 4:13. Kings, when they grow old, must have the mortification of seeing those that are to jostle them out and stand up in their stead. 2. It is common with the people to adore the rising sun: All the living who walk under the sun are with the second child, are in his interests, are conversant with him, and make their court to him more than to the father, whom they look upon as going off, and despise because his best days are past. Solomon considered this; he saw this to be the disposition of his own people, which appeared immediately after his death, in their complaints of his government and their affectation of a change. 3. People are never long easy and satisfied: There is no end, no rest, of all the people; they are continually fond of changes, and know not what they would have. 4. This is no new thing, but it has been the way of all that have been before them; there have been instances of this in every age: even Samuel and David could not always please. 5. As it has been, so it is likely to be still: Those that come after will be of the same spirit, and shall not long rejoice in him whom at first they seemed extremely fond of. Today, Hosanna — tomorrow, Crucify. 6. It cannot but be a great grief to princes to see themselves thus slighted by those they have studied to oblige and have depended upon; there is no faith in man, no stedfastness. This is vanity and vexation of spirit.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ecclesiastes 4:13

Better — More happy. Now he proceeds to another vanity, That of honour and power. Than a king — Who hath neither wisdom to govern himself, nor to receive the counsels of wiser men.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

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Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
is a poor:

Ecclesiastes 9:15-16 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. ... Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom [is] despised, and his words are not heard.
Genesis 37:2 These [are] the generations of Jacob. Joseph, [being] seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad [was] with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.
Proverbs 19:1 Better [is] the poor that walketh in his integrity, than [he that is] perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
Proverbs 28:6 Better [is] the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than [he that is] perverse [in his] ways, though he [be] rich.
Proverbs 28:15-16 [As] a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; [so is] a wicked ruler over the poor people. ... The prince that wanteth understanding [is] also a great oppressor: [but] he that hateth covetousness shall prolong [his] days.

will no more be:
Heb. knoweth not to be,
1 Kings 22:8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, [There is] yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
2 Chronicles 16:9-10 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. ... Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for [he was] in a rage with him because of this [thing]. And Asa oppressed [some] of the people the same time.
2 Chronicles 24:20-22 And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you. ... Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon [it], and require [it].
2 Chronicles 25:16 And it came to pass, as he talked with him, that [the king] said unto him, Art thou made of the king's counsel? forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten? Then the prophet forbare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel.
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Gn 37:2. 1K 22:8. 2Ch 16:9; 24:20; 25:16. Pv 19:1; 28:6, 15. Ec 9:15.

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