Home | Truth Index

Visit the Walking In Truth Archives

COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano - All Rights Reserved

Visit Our Website | View Our Archives

Qualities that define true statesmanship
"Incompetence and self-indulgence in those who occupy high places are a curse to a nation."
"Self-Denial, Experience, and Diligence are qualities which ensure true statesmanship."
- both quotes are from the Pulpit Commentary - Old Testament
"The morals of a nation hardly ever rise higher than the virtue of the rulers."
Biblical Illustrator - Old Testament
"Men who are flung into power by the wave of royal favoritism, or by popular caprice and applause, are apt to use their exalted station as a means to personal enjoyment and to the gratification of vanity."
Pulpit Commentary - Old Testament
In Ecclesiastes 10:16-17, Solomon gave two contrasting statements - "Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!" In the first statement, he pronounced a "woe" unto a particular "land," while, in the second, he pronounced a "blessing." Each was based on the state of the "king" and the "princes." In other words, it was all based on the condition of the leaders.
What is incredible is the insight that we can glean from just these two Scriptures concerning true statesmanship!
A "woe" is pronounced on the land that elects a "king" who is a "child." Does this necessarily mean someone who is young in age? Not necessarily. There have been young leaders who were inaugurated into office and have done well - as long as they surrounded themselves with wise counsellors. Basically, Solomon was referring to those who have childlike qualities...mind pleasure as children mind their play...behave with childish levity...are children in understanding, judgment, manners, and conduct...or are fickle, changeable, sensual, passionate, heedless, self-willed, unskillful in government, and not easily advised. 
He also issued a "woe" to the land where the "princes eat in the morning." What did he mean by this statement? "Morning" is the fittest time for the dispatch of weightier affairs...for consultation about the affairs of government...for sitting in judgment...and for God's service. It was the usual time for dispensing justice - especially in the East. The "princes" who "eat in the morning" are those who begin the day with revels or sensual enjoyment instead of doing honest work which consists of attending to the management of the affairs of the state and the administration of justice.  
Are you getting the picture here? Just how many politicians, leaders, or preachers are in "high places" who are "children" in understanding and judgment - not realizing their responsibility and are unskillful for the task? Or they may be guilty of "eating in the morning" - guilty of beginning their days with sensual enjoyment rather than hard work or accountability before the people for time and funds wasted. They choose to start the day in a riotous and intemperate manner which renders them unfit for any service throughout the day.
In contrast to this pitiful state or condition of things, Solomon is quick to present the contrast. Now, we find the "king" or leader is "the son of nobles." What he means by this is that the leader is of a noble mind, disposition, and character. He is actuated by a noble spirit. He is famous for his wisdom, virtue, fear of God, and readiness to do good. He is wise, prudent, attentive, industrious, and skillful in the affairs of government.
This "king" surrounds himself with "princes" who "eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!" These leaders "eat" their meals at the proper times. In other words, they wait to refresh themselves with lighter matters after they have conducted the business for the day. Work comes before relaxation and play. They exemplify total temperance in that they eat to obtain strength and not to engorge themselves. They do not indulge themselves in sensuality nor do they practice excess of any kind. They are not addicted to gluttony or any other bodily gratifications - which only serve to degrade their dignity or shame their virtue. They find it necessary to portray a self-denying or diligent character in order to present statesmanlike service. At no time will you ever find them passing their time in luxury or social pomp - neglecting the public interests. They see this behavior as an "open door" for the debasing of the national morals and the lowering of the standards of public life.
As the leaders go, so go the people!
Unselfishness, diligence, experience, and temperance - these are the qualities of leadership that Solomon implied were necessary for the well-being of the nation, state, church, ministry, or home.
Are you a "leader" of some sort?
Would you classify yourself as a "child" or as one who "eats in the morning"? Then the word of the Lord through Solomon delivers a warning to you this day - "Woe unto you!"
On the other hand, do you consider yourself to be "the son of nobles" in that you are actuated by a noble spirit - full of wisdom, virtue, the fear of the Lord, and the readiness to do good? Are you a leader who "eats in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness" - whereby your life is ruled by temperance and self-denial? The word of the Lord through Solomon sends you a word of blessing - "Blessed art thou!"
We leave you with some final, thought-provoking statements from various commentators of the Scriptures -
"If a man seeks for a place and wins it when he is incompetent, he is committing a crime against God and a crime against man."
Biblical Illustrator - Old Testament
"It is well with a people when their princes are examples of temperance, when those that have most to spend upon themselves know how to deny themselves."
- Matthew Henry

"Self-indulgence, which constantly tends to become greater and grosser, leads down fast to feebleness, to poverty, to demoralization, to shame, to death."
Pulpit Commentary - Old Testament
May God Bless His Word.