Please explain Ecclesiastes 10:19 in the light of other Scripture passages dealing negatively with money.
You are probably thinking of passages such as Matthew 6:19: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy”; and 1 Timothy 6:10 and 17: “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. . . . Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God.”
The second part of Ecclesiastes 10:19 simply reads, “Money answers everything.” To understand this statement, we look at the context and find that Solomon was writing about a childish, naive king. Verse 16 warns, “Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child.” The verses that follow give the perspective of that type of foolish king. So in that king’s way of thinking, money is everything.
But money isn’t everything; in fact, other Scripture passages downplay riches and even condemn them in certain settings, such as when they’re used wrongly. But the foolish king doesn’t know this fact and lives accordingly. It reminds me of the fictitious tale of King Midas and his “golden touch.” He had to learn that there are many more important and valuable things in life than money or material goods.
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