In our society today, we have become a culture that is too nice for its ...
Ecclesiastes, a book of wisdom literature in the Bible, is known for its perplexing and thought-provoking passages. One such passage is Chapter 10, verses 5 through 7, which discusses the evilness of an incompetent man in a position of authority. The passage reads: “There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler: Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place. I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.”
These words, written by the wise King Solomon, speak volumes about the nature of leadership and authority. We’ve all seen incompetent men serving in positions of power, making decisions that affect the lives of many. But according to Solomon, this is truly evil.
The image of a servant sitting on a horse, a position of authority and power, while a prince, a symbol of competency, walks on the earth, is a powerful one. It highlights the absurdity and danger of allowing those who are unskilled and unqualified to rule over others. It suggests that society has inverted its priorities, placing those who lack competency and skill in positions of power, while those who are truly capable are relegated to menial roles.
It’s worth noting that the word “prince” in this passage may not be entirely clear to modern readers. In the ancient world, a prince was not necessarily the son of a monarch, as we might assume today. Instead, the term referred to a position of competency and leadership, often earned through military or political prowess.
However, over thousands of years, the concept of a prince became corrupted as kings increasingly placed their own progeny in those very positions of power, regardless of their actual abilities. As a result, today we tend to think of a prince as someone who is simply the son of a king or queen. But the original intent of the passage in Ecclesiastes is to highlight the danger of placing incompetent people in positions of authority, regardless of their lineage or position. It’s a timeless warning that still holds true today.
Solomon’s message is clear: we must prioritize competency and skill when it comes to leadership and authority. Incompetent rulers and leaders are not just ineffective, but they are actively harmful to society. The solution, according to Solomon, is responsibility. Only by taking responsibility for our actions and decisions can we truly overcome evil.
As we reflect on these wise words, we must ask ourselves: are we allowing incompetent men to sit on horses? Or are we prioritizing competency and skill in our leaders? Let us strive to embody the spirit of responsibility and choose our leaders wisely. Only then can we overcome evil and create a society that values true leadership.