What Did the Wise Man Mean?
Why Not to Be Amazed About Oppression
Throughout human history, many rulers and high officials have sought their own advantage and ignored the interests of the people. This can make life especially hard for the common man. Wise King Solomon stated: “If you see any oppression of the one of little means and the violent taking away of judgment and of righteousness in a jurisdictional district, do not be amazed over the affair, for one that is higher than the high one is watching, and there are those who are high above them.” (Eccl. 5:8) Yes, corruption and injustices of lesser officials are often but a reflection of what is done by those occupying a still higher position. When this is so, ordinary citizens who, in effect, are at the bottom suffer the crushing weight of oppression that all this combined corruption brings.
After making this comment about injustices, Solomon wrote: “Also, the profit of the earth is among them all; for a field the king himself has been served.” (Eccl. 5:9) Interestingly, Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible reads, on this verse: “And the abundance of a land is for all. A king for a field is served.” Also, the translation of the verse by the ancient Greek Septuagint Version deserves noting: “And the profit of land is for everyone,—a king is appendant to the cultivated field.” (Charles Thomson) “Also the abundance of the earth is for every one: the king is dependent on the tilled field.”—Samuel Bagster and Sons Limited.
What, then, does the Ec 5 verse 9 mean? This: The abundance, the product, the profit, of the land or of the earth is for all its inhabitants; they are dependent upon what the land brings forth. Even the king of a land is no exception to this. But the land needs to be worked, cultivated, tilled, if it is to produce according to one’s needs or preferences. Hence, “for a field,” not in exchange for a field, but for the product or abundant yield of a field, “the king himself has been served,” by having his field cultivated, tilled, worked. He has to send out his servants to work or cultivate the field for an abundant yield. (2 Chron. 26:1, 10) Unless the king has his servants sow and cultivate the land, there is no reaping of a harvest for him and his royal family. Production on the part of the earth cannot be taken for granted, even for a king. In agreement with this is the reading of Ecclesiastes 5:9 in the ancient Syriac translation: “Moreover the riches of the earth are for all; the king, himself, is served by cultivating his own field.”—George M. Lamsa.