Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.
Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.
Young David was given the King’s own armor and weapons, but they overpowered him and he refused them. Instead, he wisely chose the weapon he knew and had been successful in using. Goliath mocked. Then he died.
If we are wise, we will heed words of wisdom, and choose them over weapons of war. Sadly, the human heart would usually choose to fight rather than listen to reason.
It is also true, and very sad, that a poor man’s words are rarely heeded, no matter how much wisdom they carry.
Verse 16 tells us that wisdom is better than strength. The Preacher knew that even though wisdom is not appreciated and it is ultimately vain, it was still better than strength. The problem, of course, is that no matter how strong a person, a king, a country, may be–sooner or later, a stronger one arises.
It is also true that the one who makes the most noise usually gets the most attention. A central tactic of dictatorial government is to tell the same lies over and over, loudly, until people finally begin to accept them as truth.
Wisdom is better – better than strength (weapons of war), better than foolishness – but all the good that wisdom does can quickly be taken away by one sinner who destroys much good. It is much easier to destroy than it is to build.
In a church, for instance, a pastor may labor for 40 years or more to build. Many souls are won to Christ; many people’s lives are changed. He’s not doing all that work alone. There are people working beside him, holding up his arms, praying for him.
It can all be torn down in a very short period of time by just one noisy person who gathers followers with enticing words and appealing promises. It’s a very sad thing to see.