Ecclesiastes 10:6

10:6 Fools are placed in many positions of authority,

while wealthy men sit in lowly positions.

Ecclesiastes 10:16

The Problem with Foolish Rulers

10:16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is childish,

and your princes feast in the morning!

tn Heb “folly.”

tn Heb “high places.”

tn Or “a child”; or “a servant.” The term נַעַר (naar) has a wide range of meanings (HALOT 707 s.v. נַעַר; BDB 654–55 s.v. II נַעַר). Used in reference to age, it may refer to an infant (Exod 2:6; Judg 13:5; 1 Sam 1:22; 4:21; 2 Sam 12:16), a child just weaned (1 Sam 1:24), an adolescent in puberty (1 Sam 16:11), or a young man of marriageable age (Gen 34:19; 2 Sam 14:21; 18:5, 12). Its technical or titular use denotes “servant” (Num 22:22; Judg 7:10-11; 19:3; 1 Sam 3:9; 2 Sam 16:1; 2 Kgs 4:12, 25; 19:6), “retainer; attendant; follower” (Gen 14:24; 1 Sam 25:5; 2 Sam 2:14; 2 Kgs 19:6; Isa 37:6; Job 1:15-17; Neh 4:10, 17) and “soldier” (1 Kgs 20:15-16). The parallel Ugaritic term is used in reference to physical age (lad; son; youth) and in a technical sense (guild members; servitors; soldiers); see UT 19.445. The LXX rendered it with νεώτερος (newteros, “youthful”). The English versions vary: “child,” (KJV, ASV, NASB, MLB, RSV, NRSV margin, NIV margin); “childish” (NIV margin); “servant” or “slave” (NEB, NAB, ASV margin, NRSV, NIV); and “lackey” (NJPS). When used in reference to rulers, it emphasizes incompetence, naiveté, inexperience, and immaturity (Isa 3:4, 9; 1 Kgs 3:7). This use must be understood in the light of the parallel antonym: “son of freemen” (בֶּן־חוֹרִים, ben-khorim). This suggests “servant,” that is, one who was not well trained and prepared by noble birth to ascend to the throne.