The Wise Response to Bad Bad Government: Ecclesiastes 10:5-15 & 20
In regard of others in common, in case of the prince’s bad and disorderly government, whereof here is expressed but one instance, yet such a one is commonly the greatest corrosive to subjects’ hearts, viz., preferment of the bad and disrespect of the well deserving. In which Solomon sets down:
The evil which Solomon took good notice of: First, in the commonness of it. There is an evil which I have observed under the sun. Secondly, in the nature of it, as an error, it is an error in state policy and government. Thirdly, in the root of it, which proceedeth from the ruler, it is the prince’s fault, ignorance of vice, that good are kept under; and bad advanced in court and country, verse 5.
What this evil is, follows in the next verse, Folly, foolish men, i.e., both weak for abilities of government, and wicked for life and conversation, is set in great dignity, advanced to place of honor and rule, and the rich, in grace and civil wisdom. Sit in low place, kept in mean and obscure condition, verse 6. The absurdity and unreasonableness of this disorder, illustrated by comparison of the like, I have seen servants on horses, and princes walking on the ground. It is a great indiginity, as for the servant to ride on horse back, and the master to lacky a-foot: So for men of base and slavish conditions to be advanced above those that are free, noble, prudent and pious spirits, verse 7.