“A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry, and money is the answer for everything.”
Explanation and Commentary of Ecclesiastes 10:19
It appears that in the context of the chapter, the verses are not completely separate thoughts, but go together in a kind of unity. Verses 16-18 warn of rulers who are not wise but seek pleasure rather than govern well. Specifically, verses 16-17 says, “Woe to the land whose king was a servant and whose princes feast in the morning. Blessed is the land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes eat at a proper time—for strength and not for drunkenness.”
In this light, the way to read this is that a feast with both bread and wine is made for laughter, so it must be held at the proper time after the affairs of the day are taken care of. To add, “money is the answer for everything,” may mean that it is the money that will be in short supply if the habit of feasting and drinking before keeping to one’s responsibilities is the norm. Not only is feasting and drinking expensive, but also the revenue does not come by consuming, but producing.
It may also be that the Holy Spirit intended for the reader to see something of the Eucharist in the feast and wine. ‘Feast’ has been more commonly rendered as bread by translators. Indeed, the broken body and shed blood of Christ is what truly makes men merry, and, contrary to what this verse says, the bread and wine, rather than the money, is “the answer to everything.”
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Ecclesiastes 10:19
#1 “A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry,”
God has given us all good things for our sustenance and enjoyment, but for everything, there is a proper time. The sustenance, though enjoyable, is primarily for strength to follow God (Ecc 10:17) and live the lives he has called us to.
#2 “and money is the answer for everything.”
The meaning of this part is not totally certain because in a very real sense, money is most certainly not the answer for everything. However, money is a concrete answer to certain questions, such as: Can we do this costly thing or not? Or: Is our current lifestyle sustainable and wise?
Bible Study on Ecclesiastes 10:19
Expert Overview of Ecclesiastes
Biblical Translations of Ecclesiastes 10:19
A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry, and money is the answer for everything.
A party gives laughter, wine gives happiness, and money gives everything!
Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything.
A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.
A feast is made for laughter, And wine makes merry; But money answers everything.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.