1. Ecclesiastes 4:5 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Summary of Ecclesiastes 4:5

Ecclesiastes 4:5 (ESV)

5 The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.

When you realize that all your hard work does not help you beyond the grave, people can respond in different ways. That is what this verse shows us. The response might be to sit down with your hands in your lap. You work as little as possible because in the end it doesn’t get you anywhere. What are you actually doing it for? It’s just chasing the wind. While you work as little as possible, you still try to enjoy life as much as you can.

The Lord calls anyone who lives like this a fool. He is someone who ‘eats his own flesh’: he will slowly but surely wither away. He who does not work will not eat either. The Lord hates lazy people who don’t want to use their talents with effort and diligence. An example of this is found in Proverbs 24:33–34: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”