Don’t Curse the King – Ecc 10:12-20

Ecclesiastes 10:20 — “Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.”  

A very popular activity for people to engage in is criticism of leadership. It seems that no matter who the person is or in what sphere they lead, we always seem to feel it our right to criticise them.

Admittedly, the criticism may we well deserved, as Solomon points out in v.16-19. He talks about leaders who are so foolish they are like children. They indulge themselves all day long. They are lazy and want more and more money for their extravagant lifestyles.

Despite such failures, God still advises us to not curse the king (v.20). He says don’t even curse him in your thoughts or your bedroom. The reason is that your thoughts and words will somehow get heard and told back to the king.

So there is great risk involved in being a critic, especially a private one, one behind closed doors. The wise man will use gracious words (v.12), but the fool speaks in a way that by criticising others he actually swallows up himself. The fool talks foolishness from beginning to end, even though he does really know what he is talking about (v.13-15).

Questions for consideration:

  • What kind of words do we normally speak? Gracious words or critical words?
  • Are we full of words, constantly talking about things we really don’t know or understand?
  • If we are in a leadership position, are we foolish, self-indulgent, and lazy? Or are we wise, self-controlled, and hard-working?
  • Do we cause resentment, frustration, and anger by our poor leadership? Or are we a blessing and joy to those who follow us?
  • Have we been cursing the king, the boss, the leader, whoever is over us in our thoughts, in private? Or do we show respect, love, grace and wisdom in how we think and speak of others?

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