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 A Preacher in his Study




In Ecclesiastes 9:13-18 Solomon shares an unusual story.

I believe the event really occurred.  The opening verse says:  "This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me."  Sounds like an eye-witness account is about to begin!

The main character of our story is "a poor wise man."

Here's the Paragraph in full:  "This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me: There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: 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. The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good."  Ecclesiastes 9:13-18

Bible commentators seldom agree on this Text!

I don't know that I've ever seen so much divergence of opinion over a single Bible Passage!

Obviously, this "poor wise man" must be studied!

I personally believe he is a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Jesus ... pictured by a poor wise man?

Jesus, God's Son, did become "man" at the incarnation and Virgin Birth two thousand years ago!

Jesus, who in the Old Testament is Wisdom personified, is called by Paul "The One in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."  (Colossians 2:3)  Yes, Jesus is "man" and Jesus is "wise."

But, is Jesus poor?

Listen again to Paul:  "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."  (2 Corinthians 8:9) 

Jesus indeed during His physical earthly Ministry was "The Poor Wise Man!"

But ... did He deliver a city?  Our Lord, by His death on Calvary, delivered a whole lost world!  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16

But, was that city besieged by an enemy king?

Yes, the devil!  Three times in John's Gospel Jesus called Satan "the prince of this world!"  Paul calls him "the prince of the power of the air!"

But, is Jesus largely forgotten by the people He came to save?

"He came unto his own, and his own received him not."  (John 1:11)  And Jesus Himself asked ... "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"  Luke 18:8

Although today (maybe more tomorrow) I can't develop each point of the Text, applying all of them to our lovely Lord, I can say this:

Every Book of the Bible directly or indirectly points to Him, the Lamb of God, the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ!

And surely Ecclesiastes is no exception!

As you go to Church Sunday morning, look for Jesus in the Pastor's Text! Listen for Jesus in the songs you sing!  And share the love of Jesus with all who are in attendance today!

After all, just as He is in this Ecclesiastes paragraph ... Jesus will be in the service you attend too!  He promised!  "For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them."  Matthew 18:20

I can hardly wait to study this poor wise man some more!  Let me correct my punctuation though ... He's really A Poor Wise Man!

Jesus ... in Ecclesiastes!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 9:13, begins relating something he had seen in his reign as King of Israel.

He relates the event in a first-person narrative.

"This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me." 

Now the Bible, being an honest Book, is NOT here presenting just a parable or an allegory or some kind of an emblematic happening.

What Solomon saw ("raah" = Hebrew verb = to behold, to consider, even to perceive) was real!

We are discussing a historical occurrence.

But, that having been said, I still wonder if there's not a "deeper" truth in this short paragraph of Scripture.

What did Solomon see that so impressed him?

He saw a poor wise man who had successfully delivered a whole city from death at the hand of a giant enemy!  Yet, after such a great deed, no one remembered or honored that poor wise man at all!  And the only way anyone could learn about this event was through the spirit of Wisdom in a place of quietness!  And apparently sin even further suppresses this story somehow!

This situation may have occurred in one of the nations with whom Solomon did business.  There were many of them.  The event may not be elsewhere recorded in Scripture either.

Yet ... I still am drawn to a series of questions!

"Poor Wise Man!"

Who is the Perfect Man?  (The God Man ... but still Perfect Man!)

Who is Wisdom personified?

Who became "poor" that we might be saved?

Jesus!  Jesus!  Jesus!

I guess I'm reading between the lines here ... but I know The Real Poor Wise Man ... The One Who came to earth and delivered mankind from an enemy! That enemy being sin and death and the grave and hell and even Satan himself!

Again, That Wise Man is Jesus Christ, the Son of God!

But is this interpretation just Brother Bagwell's enthusiasm to find Jesus in the Bible ... or has it some Scriptural foundation as well?

Earlier today I saw two "hints" in our verse at hand: "This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me." 

The word "wisdom" ("chokmah" = 145 times in the Bible as "wisdom" = 1 time in Scripture as "skill" = 1 time as "wit" = meaning godly skill of heart, mind, word or act) is first used in Exodus 28:3.  There it describes those who made the High Priest Aaron's beautiful garments!  "And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office." 

Look at that!

The first "official" Bible act of wisdom concerns the High Priest of Israel!  He was a clear picture of Jesus!

By the way, Jesus is The High Priest of every believer today!

Then notice the adjective "great." 

"This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me." 

The first time this word is used is in Genesis 1:16 where God had just made the sun, the GREATEST light in the heavens!  Now we all know that the sun is a type of Christ Jesus!  This is illustrated both in Psalm 19 and in Malachi 4.

Two words that are initially used in the Bible to describe types of Christ ... are used in the opening verse of this story of the poor wise man!

Anybody listening?

Solomon's unique narrative here is going to point to our dear Saviour!

After all He is The Deliverer!

Micah goes so far as to call Him the Breaker!  (In the sense of delivering a band of imprisoned slaves!)  "The Breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them."  Micah 2:13

Thank God, He delivered me!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Solomon told an unusual story in Ecclesiastes chapter nine.

A little city was attacked by a great king.  It faced sure defeat!  Then, a poor wise man appeared and delivered the whole town! Solomon then made some observations about the outcome of that battle.

"There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city."  Ecclesiastes 9:14-15

I have long thought that the "poor wise man" might be a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was indeed a Deliverer!

Today I am more convinced of that than ever!

Earlier this morning, while it was still dark outside, the Lord showed me something. 

This "little city" is one interesting place!

The word "city" (in Hebrew = "iyr") is used 1089 times in the Bible.

Of those it is translated "city" 1074 times in the King James Bible.  But also there it is rendered as "town" 7 times.  So far we have found nothing surprising.

Yet, get this ... two times (and only two times) our word "iyr" means "every one!"

Let me apply this finding to our Lord Jesus.

He, like the poor wise man who came and delivered this little city, died for EVERY ONE as well!

I know this is a controversial statement to some, but I believe the Scriptures support this fact.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16

"And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."  1 John 2:2

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."  2 Peter 3:9

Solomon related how a poor wise man saved the little city ... an unknown insignificant place ... having a bunch of "nobodies" in it!

Yet, for some reason, the little wise man thought it was worth saving!

Jesus did too!

I am so glad I can preach to "every one" the Gospel Story!

Back to our verses:  "There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city."

Exactly what kind of city was it?

A "little" (in Hebrew = "qatan") city!

In our Bibles the word is not only translated "little," but also "small" and "young" and "least!"

Look at that!

The poor wise man was willing to deliver the smallest and least and even the youngest in that little place!

This reminds me again of Jesus.

He found the paralyzed man by the Pool that day in John chapter five!  He was the least important man there likely!  But Jesus saved him!

He did so for a woman taken in adultery, a leper, a common beggar, another woman with many husbands ... and no telling how many more!

I'm so glad Jesus God's Son (the True Wise Man of all time) came and died for sinners, providing salvation and deliverance for them!  Deliverance from  a vicious attacking enemy called Satan!

I hope you see today what I am trying to say:  "There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city."


What "meat" is found in those two words alone ... "little city!"

I hope to "chew" and "meditate" on this throughout the day, Lord willing!

Will you join me?

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Solomon told a story in Ecclesiastes 9 about a little city that was attacked by a great king!

"There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it."  Ecclesiastes 9:14

I have for some time felt that the "little city" here pictures the world of lost men and women.  By the way, in comparison to the size of the universe God created, we do live in a little place, a very little place!

And the "great king" who attacks such a little town?

That's the devil!

But quickly ... in verse 15 ... Solomon adds another element to the account!  A deliverer has come!  Someone to rescue the city from the grip of this vicious "great king!"

That "deliverer" is Jesus!

"Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city."  Ecclesiastes 9:15

For today let me try to answer one question. 

WHY would I think that the "great king" is a type of the devil?

By using my Bible!

The expression "great king" occurs there 11 times!

Four of those times, including the first two in order, the expression refers to the ungodly Assyrian King Sennacherib, who is certainly evil personified!  Read 2 Kings 18:19 and 2 Kings 18:28 then Isaiah 36:4 and Isaiah 36:13.  You will see what I mean!  For example:  "Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria (Sennacherib): Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand:  Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria."

Did you notice the words I capitalized?

The "great king" says, "Do not trust in the Lord either!"

That's certainly being a picture of Satan!

Listen again to this Assyrian speak against God:  "Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?  Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand?  Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand?"  2 Kings 18:33-35

"Has any other god delivered his people?"

"Your God is no different" ... says this wicked one!

That's a voice like that of anti-Christ himself!

Yes, the "great king" personified the devil ... for sure!

... Now, let's get back to our Ecclesiastes Text.

We were all inhabitants of that little city!

And Satan sought to destroy each of us too!

He told us NOT to trust in the Lord!

He mocks the eternal God of Heaven and earth.

But, thank God, the devil does NOT have the last word!

The Deliverer came, Jesus!

And brought victory and liberty to the little city that was once doomed for sure!

This is the Gospel Story in miniature form!

It is a literal historical event ... but one with many deeper truths embedded within its words!

Aren't YOU glad the Deliverer came to where we live?  I sure am!

Listen to Paul describe Jesus in Colossians 1:13 ... "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." 

Yes, He is The Deliverer!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Let's go back to those words "great king" for a while.

That "string" is used in the Bible exactly 11 times. 

Four of those times it has reference to wicked men, all of whom are types of the devil.

Once it refers to a King of Israel.

Plus it occurs here in our Ecclesiastes Text.

Then the remaining five times it speaks of the Great God of Heaven!

Basically speaking, in the Bible the "great king" is either a claim made by the devil, for himself ... OR ... a Title of the True and Almighty God Who deserves all our worship and praise!

When that "great king" attacked this little city ... he was certainly trying to occupy it and control the lives of each inhabitant!

Isn't that exactly what the devil wants to do?

BUT, thank the Lord, a poor wise man in the village had other ideas!  He, through wisdom, delivered the place!

Just as the devil wanted to take the whole world to hell ... but Jesus thwarted his plans by going to Calvary!

However, I have a question today.

WHY would the devil want such a small and seemingly insignificant city anyway?

It likely had little wealth.

Its people were not especially numerous.

No mention is made of a strategic location or of any particular assets!


Maybe the attack was begun partly just because the poor wise man lived there in the first place!

I'm sure one reason the devil hates planet earth so much is that this is the place where the darling Son of God came to die for sinners!

Satan hates the Bible ... because it is God's Book!

He hates the Church ... because it is God's Body!

He hates the Preacher ... because He is God's Man!

He hates the Jews ... because they are the people through whom God brought the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ!

He hates America ... because we were originally a godly Christian nation (a long time ago now)!

He hates the Holy Land ... because that's where Jesus walked and preached and died and was resurrected!

And if you are saved ... he hates you ... because God the Holy Spirit indwells your very being!

But this devil is one "great king" who lost the battle!

Thank God for the "poor wise man!"

As a symbol of Jesus that term should be written Poor Wise Man

The God-Man!

Here's why Jesus came ... "that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil."  Hebrews 2:14

By the way, Jesus called the devil a "prince" three times!  (John 12:31 and John 14:30 and John 16:11)  And a "prince" is going to be a "king" in time.  A "great king" was defeated in Ecclesiastes 9:13-18.

Praise the Lord!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 6 ... FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2005:

The "great king" is up to something!

He is attacking another little city!

He is a picture of the devil!

"There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it."  Ecclesiastes 9:14

He did three things to hurt this city!

He "came against it!"

The verb in Hebrew ("bo") means (125 times in the King James Bible) "to enter!"  Just to enter!

The devil entered the city!

This possibly implies that before he even attacked, he already had a "spy" within the walls of that little place! 

Wolves in the pasture!

False prophets among the children of God!

Tares among the wheat!

That's one of the devil's tactics all right!

Jude says ... "for there are certain men crept in unawares!"  The verb "crept in unawares" is in Greek "paraeisduno" which means "to sneak down and enter a place getting beside the people there!"

Watch for the devil's inflitration!

The second thing the kind did was to "besiege" the city!  The verb (in Hebrew = "sabab") means to surround or to encircle something!  The devil had compassed them about!  He was in front of them ... and behind them ... and on either side too!

That sounds dangerous!

But, wait a minute Christian friend!

Psalm 32:7 (and a lot of other places too) declares to us:  "Thou (Lord) art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about ("sabab") with songs of deliverance. Selah."  The Lord has us surrounded too!

The Lord is ahead of us ... leading us!

He is behind us ... protecting us!  The King James word is "rereward!"  (Say it as rear ward!  My Protection from behind!)  "For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward."  Isaiah 52:12

He is beside us ... on both the right and the left hands!  "The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand."  Psalm 121:5

He is above us!  "Our Father, Which art in Heaven ...!"  Matthew 6:9

And He is even beneath us!  "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them."  Deuteronomy 33:27


Then, thirdly, the devil tried to "build great bulwarks" against the little city!

The noun "bulwarks" in Hebrew is "matzsod" and means "snares" or "nets" or "holds!"  Literally the word bulwark comes into English meaning "a tree trunk!" It was anything the enemy could find to prop up against a city's walls to enable attacking soldiers to shoot at them better or enter the place to burn it!

The "great king" wanted to minimize the effects of the city walls!

Christian, hear me today.

You had best be building some walls against sin and against the world and the devil!

Big walls!

Tall walls!

Walls of separation!

And such walls sure are under attack today!

Lord, give us more wall builders, I pray!

Our verse again:  "There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it."  Ecclesiastes 9:14

Watch the devil ... that "great king" of this wicked earth!

He want to come into your life!

He wants to surround you as a "roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy!"

And he want to tear down your walls of separation!

As Paul said, "We are not ignorant of his devices!"  (The whole verse:  "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." 2nd Corinthians 2:11)

Be careful!

Be vigilant  ... which just means "be awake!

This picture of the devil (the "great king" here in Ecclesiastes 9) ... did NOT get his way!  He was defeated!

By a "poor wise man!"

Who is he?

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The fifteenth verse introduces us to the "key" person in this Text, the poor wise man!

"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."  Ecclesiastes 9:15

I have suggested (and tried to Biblically prove) that the "poor wise man" could be a Type of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice that he was "found" in the city?

How did he get there?

It is strange that his father's name is not given ... a common Old Testament practice.

Was he a "native" or a "foreigner?"

He was just "found" there!

I suggest to you that's how Jesus came to earth also ... came to deliver mankind from the power of the devil!

"Matzsa" ("found") means to encounter or to meet or to befall!

What if I told you "God sent forth His Son" to die for our sins ... rescuing us from the clutches of the "great king" Satan?   (Galatians 4:4)

He did!

The first use of "matzsa" in the Bible is in reference to a bride for Adam! Genesis 2:20 tells us:  "And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him."

But God did "find" Adam a wife!

And Jesus was sent to this earth ... to procure a Bride, the Blood-washed New Testament Church!

The expression "wise man" is found in the Bible 26 times, but never in this exact context.  Jesus is the Wise Man in a way none other has ever been!

He IS Wisdom!

Also notice that our "poor wise man" here DELIVERED the whole city where he lived!

This verb (in Hebrew = "malat") means to save or to preserve!

I would say Jesus saved us! 

Saved us from Hell!

"Malat" is a Piel verb here, too!  It is intensive in scope and action!  The wise man REALLY SAVED or VIGOROUSLY RESCUED his subjects!

Jesus completely saves too!

The first Bible use of our verb (Genesis 19:17) speaks of Lot being rescued from the coming fires and destruction of Sodom!

Have YOU been rescued, my friend?

Tomorrow, Lord willing, let's find out HOW He rescued us!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




In Solomon's little-known account of the "poor wise man," the man who delivered his city from an attacking enemy king, the word "wisdom" appears!

"Now there was found in it (the city) a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city."  Ecclesiastes 9:15

There's no doubt in my mind that this "poor wise man" could be a Type of Christ Jesus our Saviour!

Jesus, Who was rich, yet became POOR for our sakes!  2nd Corinthians 8:9

Jesus, Who is WISE beyond all measure, omniscient! 

Jesus, Who is The God/MAN! 

Jesus, Who delivers and redeems and saves from sin!

But ... today notice with me HOW He delivered the city!

"By His wisdom!"

HOW does Christ save sinners?

"By grace through faith?"

Yes, but go deeper!

"By the Gift of God?"

Yes, but think location, geography!

By means of His Shed Blood at the Old Rugged Cross on Golgotha's Hill!


Jesus delivers sinners via Calvary!

Wait a minute, Preacher Bagwell!

Are you saying that the Cross is the Wisdom of God?


Listen to Paul.

"But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ (crucified) the power of God, and the wisdom of God."  1st Corinthians 1:23-24

The CROSS is the Father's WISE way of saving sinners and getting them to Heaven!

Oh, yes, the world calls all that talk of a "cross" foolishness!  "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness."  1st Corinthians 1:18

But to us Believers, It is The Wisdom of God and The Power of God and the Love Of God ... all bound into one glorious and miraculous Event!

The CROSS is one of God's great eternal displays of His Glory!  A Glory which contains Wisdom!

The "poor wise man" did not save his city by using swords or angels or armies! Neither did Jesus save us by swords like Peter's ... or angels like those twelve legions who stood nearby that Day ... or by armies like all the hosts of Heaven!

The "poor wise man" saved his city by his wisdom!

So did Jesus!

And That Calvary Wisdom is so very powerful!

"As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."  John 1:12-13

Thank God today for His great Wisdom!

A loving Wisdom that has designed such a Plan of Salvation!

By which he saved our souls!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




In Ecclesiastes 9, a poor wise man delivered a whole city! He rescued it from a wicked attacking king!

Yet we are immediately told: "Yet no man remembered that same poor man." Ecclesiastes 9:15c

After all he did, soon no one even remembered him!

The verb "remembered" (in Hebrew = "zakar") not only means "to call to mind" ... but also "to think about" or even "to meditate upon!"

Further lexicon investigation reveals some more shades of meaning for "zakar:"  to mention or declare, to recite, to proclaim, to commemorate and to confess!

What a list!

Now that poor wise man is probably a Type of God's only begotten Son, The Lord Jesus Christ!  He alone is The Real "Wise Man" Who became Poor for our sakes!

And He (Jesus) also delivered many a city from the enemy!

He has "spoiled" the devil and the grave and hell and even death itself ... by means of His shed Blood on the old rugged Cross of Calvary!

YET virtually no one remembers Jesus either!

He has been forgotten ... or perhaps even ignored ... by the very world He came to save!

The first time "zakar" is used in Scripture, in the very form we have in our Text here, the "chief butler" who had been released from an Egyptian prison did NOT remember Joseph!  Incidentally, that's a Joseph who was also a poor wise man! See Genesis 40:23!

Christian friend, listen to me today.

If the world is going to forget Jesus, we should remember Him!

And, just listing the dictionary definitions we found for "zakar," we should also think about Him!

And meditate upon Him!

And declare Him!

And proclaim Him!

And commemorate Him!

And confess to Him!


If the world is going to put Him down ... I want to lift Him up!

If the world is going to curse Him ... I want to bless Him!

If the world is going to hate Him ... I want to love Him!

Could I hear some one say "AMEN" please?

When I first real Solomon's short account of the poor wise man who had been forgotten for his life-saving effort, I thought "how sad!"

But now that I see Jesus as The Real Poor Wise Man ... I think "how true!"

The world, especially including our nation it seems, is forgetting Him deliberately!

Or is it called "rejecting" Him when one does so with prejudice and forethought?

Today ... think about HIM!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 10 ... MONDAY, AUGUST 29, 2005:

The "poor wise man" had delivered a whole city!

Yet he was not honored for having done so!

In fact, Solomon says:  "Yet no man remembered that same poor man." Ecclesiastes 9:15c

While we discussed the verb "remembered" in our last lesson, I just saw something else here.

When we are told that the city folks did not remember the man and his great successful effort ... he is just called "that same poor man!"

He is NOT called the poor WISE man!

Do you see that?

The adjective "wise" is missing!

The Bible is important of course because of what it says!

Yet it is also important for what it does NOT say, what it sometimes omits!

The world may have forgotten this poor (wise) man and his act of deliverance ... because they never really saw what His wisdom involved!

They were ignorant (willfully blind Paul says) of that Wisdom of God!

And certainly one of the reasons our land today does NOT remember Jesus and His death on Calvary is just that too!

We do not realize the vast depth of Wisdom He possessed!

I believe He is ALL-WISE!   Or to Latinize the term, Jesus is omniscient!

Once a sinner is truly convicted by the Holy Spirit of God, dealing with his or her old filthy sins, that unbeliever will begin to see the true Wisdom of God!

It is hard to forget a truly (even though poor) WISE Man!

But instead of acknowledging Jesus' perfect divine Wisdom, man today has invented his own!

We have Doctors of Wisdom (exactly what PhD represents, a doctor who loves and knows wisdom) who are often godless and immoral!

We have centers of learning (schools of wisdom they say) that are some of the most stupid places on earth!  I am speaking of the largely reprobate University systems of our nation, atheistic to the core!

We have men and women who go about "calling themselves wise" ... but inwardly (and obviously) they are raving fools!  That's exactly what Romans 1:22 declares of them:  "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."

I am beginning to wonder if maybe there are not two kinds of wisdom in existence!

Hear James now:  "This wisdom (man's) descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.  For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above (God's) is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."  Here in James 3:15-17 the inspired Preacher has contrasted two types of wisdom, the earthly kind and the heavenly kind!

If one's "definition" of wisdom is wrong ... the so-called wisdom one attains will be wrong too!

Lord, show us how very WISE Jesus really is!

And, as if He answers immediately, I remember Colossians 2:3.  There Paul is speaking about our lovely Lord Jesus Christ.  "In Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."


The wiser you realize Jesus to be ... the less likely you will "forget" Him!

It's like Peter asked our Lord one day:  "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." 

Good question!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The next verse we are to consider is Ecclesiastes 9:16.  Let's listen to King Solomon.  "Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard."

Wisdom (God's Wisdom is meant here) is better than strength!

We just must examine that noun "strength."

In Hebrew it is spelled "geburah" and means valor or might!  It's verbal background means "to rise or to raise up."  It in the Old Testament is often used of rising up against God!  For example, see Job 15:25 --- "For he (the wicked man) stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty."

We are being told today in our little verse that Wisdom, God's Wisdom, is far superior to man's rebellion!

And man's knowledge anymore (at least in America) seems to be venting him against Almighty God again and again!

"Wisdom is better than strength!"

The little word "better" (in Hebrew = "tob") is an adjective that carries "degrees" of intensity.  God's Wisdom is good, better and best ... when it comes to anything man has to offer!

Man takes his knowledge, calls it wisdom ... and then uses it to attack the Lord!

On the Cross 2,000 years ago, Jesus frustrated man's wisdom and knowledge ... exhibiting God's Love in an amazing way!

Dying as a convicted Criminal (although having done nothing wrong ... never sinning once), Jesus brought about Salvation for old lost sinners!

That's the power of His Shed Blood!

And Wisdom such as That ... is BETTER than man's strength any day!

Read this:  "For it is written, I (the Lord) will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.  Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."   1 Corinthians 1:19-21

Yes, Solomon, Wisdom IS better than man's knowledge ... or man's rebellious strength!

Much better!

And when it comes to strength ...THE STRENGTH THAT MAN SO BADLY WANTS TO CLAIM AND CONTROL, it really belongs to God anyhow!  Watch what I mean.  "Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all."  (1st Chronicles 29:11)  That capitalized word POWER is our Hebrew term "geburah." Man always has wanted what is rightfully God's!

Lord, make us wise ... in Thee!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Notice what happens to the poor man's wisdom, wisdom that delivered a whole city!

It was "despised!"

"Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard."  Ecclesiastes 9:16

That Hebrew participle is spelled "bazah."  It means "to accord little worth to something!"

In the King James Bible it is found 43 times and is translated as follows: despise (36 times), contemptible (3 times), contemned (1 time), disdained (1 time), vile person (1 time) and scorn (1 time)!

It's not a pretty word!

Yet this is what the poor wise man gets ... even after rescuing a city from sure death!

But here is the interesting thing.  This word ("bazah") is used of the coming Messiah in Psalm 22 and again in Isaiah 53!  These are two of the Bible's major Old Testament chapters on Jesus the Christ!

Psalm 22:6, where Jesus prophetically says:  "But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people."

And look at Isaiah 53:3, where the word is used twice!  "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."

The "linkage" is unmistakable!

This ties the poor wise man of Ecclesiastes 9 to the Messiah of Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53!  At least it grammatically does! 

Jesus was despised ... so that we can enjoy eternal love!

What a Saviour!

The world may despise Him ... but we can honor and adore Him!

Do so at Church tonight!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




King Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 9:13-18, discusses a poor wise man who delivered his city from an evil attacking king.

But after that heroic deed, the man's other wise advice was not heeded at all!

Here's how Scripture reports it:  "The poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard."  Ecclesiastes 9:16

The implication is that our wise man here kept talking.  He continued to share wisdom and life-saving counsel ... but the folks of that town just didn't listen!

In my mind I began to compare that wise man to The Wise Man, to Jesus Christ our Lord!

Jesus, Who is also a Deliverer!

Our Lord, even after the Cross where He defeated that old "king" the devil, has continued to speak through His precious Word!

But how do most folks respond?

They "do not hear!"

Don't misunderstand me now.

There is plenty of preaching in America yet today!

But ... people are deliberately not hearing it!

There are plenty of Bibles!  And they are not heard or heeded either!

There surely have been plenty of God-sent warnings too ... none of which have been noticed as well!

But we should not be surprised!

Amos, the Old Testament Minor Prophet, told us this was going to happen.

Listen to him preach.

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD."  Amos 8:11

A famine of HEARING the Words of the Lord!

And God sent it too!


It's part of the "automatic" judgment God has built into sin!

Sin makes one deaf to the Word of God!

Sin causes one to turn his ears away from Truth!

Sin even gives a person "heavy ears!"

Backsliders and sinners want their ears "scratched" by ear-tickling false prophets!  And there are plenty of them to do that in our land!

They do NOT want to hear the undiluted Word of God!

They've become deaf to it!

That's exactly where millions are living today!

Well ... the day may come when America changes her mind!

But it just may be that when post-modern man finally (if ever) turns to the Lord, Amos 8:12 may take effect.  There God continues:  "And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it."


It's true.

The poor wise man's words were just not heard!

Christians ... let us all spend some extra time today in the Word of God!

Be thankful you have such a desire!

And if you don't ... frankly it ought to scare you half to death!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




As soon as Solomon told us that the wise man's words "were not heard," he did an "about-face" and gave us a situation in which those same words could be heard!

Let me show you what I mean:  "Nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard."  That's verse 16 of Ecclesiastes 9. Then verse 17 immediately says:  "The words of wise men are heard in quiet!"

There exists a condition in which words, even "non-entertaining" words, even non "you're wonderful" words, even serious and wise words can be heard!

What's that Preacher?

"In quiet!" says Holy Spirit in Ecclesiastes.

"In quiet!"

We just MUST examine that word!

In Hebrew "nachath" ("quiet") means "rest!"

The interesting thing is that this word is only used a few times in the whole Bible!

"Nahath," as a name, appears in Scripture five times!

Men whose name means "rest!"

But one of my resources tells me that "nahath" is derived from "nechath" and means "to descend, to depose or to put down!"  (It has the idea of "rest" in this sense: a putting of oneself down for the night, for example.)

These wise words are heard in an atmosphere of one "being lowered, being put down, being humbled, being reduced in size!"


Is that not a picture of conviction?

Of the Holy Spirit's showing us how little we really are?

Of lining us up by the straight and righteous Word of God, letting us know how far short we fall, how much of a "nothing" we really are?

I sure remember when He did that to me!

Glorious day!

You can't get saved ... until you get lost!

You can't spiritually see ... until you realize you're blind!

You can't really live (be born-again) ... until you know you're dead!

Then ... in that QUIET ... for the first time in your whole life you Christian HEARD the Voice of Wisdom!

And He said "Come unto Me!"

Glory to God!

The other Bible uses of the word "nachath" suggest the same thing.  I'll give you one example. 

"For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not."  Isaiah 30:15


Such "rest," such "quiet," such "nachath" ... is essential to be saved!

And the Spirit of God produces exactly that when a sinner is born into the family of God!



                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The verse we're studying says:  "The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools."  Ecclesiastes 9:17

Really this is an amazing statement!

It actually contrasts two atmospheres!

One is that of quietness ... the other of noise, loud noise!

That's what the noun "cry" means.  In Hebrew it is spelled "za-aq" and is only used 18 times in the whole Bible!

It accents crying in its sense of being a clamorous sound!  Very disturbing! And it can even indicate a panic-ridden plea of distress!

"A shriek," says Strong's Concordance.

It also adds that the word is derived from a root word that implies "calling an assembly!"  To convene publicly!  To gather together!

What a word picture this verse is painting!

If an individual can ever get into the spirit of real godly "quietness" ... he or she can then hear the voice of wisdom ... even above the wicked roar of a foolish world!

A man can actually love the quiet of wisdom ... more than the assemblies of ungodliness!

Would you have ever thought it?

Is it possible for someone to choose Church attendance (say a Revival Meeting for example) where the quiet Spirit of God is dispensing real wisdom ... rather than a crowded theatre where some filthy (God's Name in vain, immorality, alcohol and all the rest) movie is being shown?


In fact, that's the ONLY way one will ever hear real wisdom.  Let me punctuate that last line a bit differently.

In quietness ... generated by the convicting Power of the Holy Spirit of God ... one will hear Real Wisdom! 

Get it?

Real Wisdom ... That's Jesus!

That is exactly what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:30 where he's talking about our Lord!  "Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom!"  Or six verses earlier where he declares:  "Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God!"


Oh, by the way, the word "fool" in our text ... " "The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools" ... indicates a person who is proud and vain ... then stupid spiritually!  In other words, a rebellious sinner!

That's the classic Bible definition of today's so-called entertainment world I believe!  The ones who are vying for the attention of people everywhere! Trying to keep them from hearing the words of Wisdom!

Notice too that it seems to be the leaders of the fools' brigade that  here particularly draw the attention of God!  Those who "ruleth" (in Hebrew = "mashal") are the ones with power, dominion or governorship (supervisiors, "stars") over the other fools!

That verb "mashal" is the word that gives us the King James noun "proverbs" in Proverbs 1:1 and 1:6!  The wicked have their proverbs too!  Proverbs of filth and degradation!

Yes, there is wisdom from above ... and wisdom from this sin-filled world too! That would be wisdom from "below," I guess.

Enter James:  "But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."   James 3:14-18

Again I say, "Amen!"


                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




And now to the last verse in our paragraph.

"Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good."  Ecclesiastes 9:18

Solomon says that "Wisdom is better than weapons of war" because he has just told the story of a poor WISE man who delivered a city from armed conflict!

In his case at hand, wisdom was indeed better than war!

But the word for "war" is captivating!

Only 9 times in the whole Old Testament (King James Version) is it used for warfare or battle.  It is the common Hebrew word meaning "to approach" someone ... for whatever purpose!

It's consonants "QRB" also comprise the Hebrew word for being "in the midst of" or "among" something!

So the word's history goes like this.  First ... to approach!  Next ... to be "in the midst!"  Lastly ... to war or fight!

That whole process sounds a bit deceptive to me!

Someone coming ... wanting to "join" with me ... but ultimately causing war!

But true Wisdom senses all that ... and prepares me handle it in a godly manner!

... And the word "weapons" ("kaliy") just means the instruments needed for warfare!  Its utensils or vessels. 

Here's something interesting.  The word "kaliy" is translated "armour" ten times in our Bibles too!

So ... real godly Wisdom supercedes the weapons or armour of war!

It grants its owner discernment to tell if an approaching person is friend or foe! (Here to help or hurt?)

It also is more valuable than the very tools of warfare!

At least it was in our Ecclesiastes 9:13-18 incident!

I believe it always is!

And, do remember, the True Poor Wise Man (Jesus) conquered the devil (the great kind who was attacking) on Calvary (where true Wisdom was most displayed), delivering a whole city (really, a whole world) by His Shed Blood!


That Wisdom IS better than all the carnal weapons of sin and the devil!

In closing, I just did a whole Bible search for the "string" of words "wisdom is better!" 

My computer gave me 3 references!  And Solomon wrote each!

Proverbs 8:11 --- "For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it."

Ecclesiastes 9:16 --- "Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard."

Ecclesiastes 9:18 --- "Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good."   

This "trinity" of verses relates the superiority of wisdom to wealth (rubies), to work (strength) and to war (weapons)!

How precious is real Wisdom!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Our Text paragraph ends with these words:  "But one sinner destroyeth much good."  Ecclesiastes 9:18b

We have carefully been told about all the GOOD the poor wise man brought to the city ... yet the inverse is true as well, a wicked man sows evil!

It was a man, Adam, who sinned and wickedly plunged us all into a dark sea of filth and iniquity!

Therefore it was a Man (the God/Man Jesus) Who came to earth, lived sinlessly and died vicariously that mankind might be saved!

The Bible Doctrine of imputation might be suggested here in type and symbol! Romans 5:19 summarizes Paul's inspired thinking on the matter:  "For as by one man's disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous."  Wow!

Sin actually "snowballs" in effect!

ONE sinner ... destroys MUCH good in our Text verse.

Think of the damage a loose tongue or a bitter heart can do ... in just a little while too!

Maybe Solomon also has in mind the Bible concept of "corporate sin!"   One man, Achan, sinned ... but 36 Israelites died that day in a rare Jewish military defeat!

One man, Absalom, sinned in rebellion, but a whole nation was plunged into civil way!

Also here, where one man sins, we could have a parallel to something else Solomon said in his most famous Song:  "Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes."  Song Of Solomon 2:15

And the sequence of our verse ... "Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good" ... implies that if one rejects wisdom, his natural course will be to slowly drift down into sin and degradation!

Just as one arsonist may do untold harm and damage ... so can one sinner!

And if Wisdom is also a Type of the Holy Spirit (as it is here an Emblem of Jesus) can it be "quenched?"  Or maybe I should say "grieved."  Can foolishness and immorality (both implied in the word "sinner") hinder or halt the wise work of God?  Matthew 13:58 tells us of Jesus at Nazareth:  "And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."

That's amazing!

An old expression, "one rotten apple will ruin the whole barrel," might also aptly illustrate our verse here.

Could our paragraph here foreshadow the Wise Man of God (Jesus) with the wicked man of sin (anti-christ)?  If it has any prophetic inclinations at all, I would say this thought must be included!

And some say the insinuation of the Hebrew text here is identical to that of James 2:10 --- "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."  Now that's destroying much good!

Sin can diminish and wither and impoverish much good!

That verb "destroy" (in Hebrew = "abad") in the King James Bible is rendered "escape" once ... and "flee" once!  This sinful man wants nothing to do with godly wisdom!  He even resents it and will run away from it!

And the noun "sinner" (in Hebrew, a participle "chata," the one sinning) pictures one who "misses God's mark!"  One who does not realize the potential God had for him!  He lives an unfulfilled life!

God is very, very generous in His Grace!  So much so that He desires to produce MUCH GOOD in the lives of all His children! 

And do remember that the noun good, when an adjective, can be expressed in degrees: good, better and best!  Knowing God and fellowshipping with Him was good from the beginning!  But it's even better now!  And the real old-timers tell me it's best at the last!

So, while one sinner can destroy (a Piel verb incidentally, indicating vigorous and dramatic action) much good ... so can a godly man "turn many to righteousness!"  Daniel 12:3

In that we must rest content.

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




This little historical event to which Solomon has turned our hearts is a beautiful picture, I think, of salvation!

The Poor Wise Man is a Type of Jesus!

The little city a symbol of the world for which Jesus died!

The great king who came to kill ... satan himself!

And this last sinner ... surely symbolizes those who oppose the Gospel Message and Ministry of the dear Lord Jesus Christ!

I trust you have enjoyed these 17 Lessons.  Now put them all together and share it with someone soon!

You will be exalting the Lord Who died for you!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell





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