“Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him. Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way” (Ecclesiastes 8:2-5, ESV).
Sometimes a biblical text reveals some insight into God’s nature. Sometimes a text provides a spiritual admonition. And, sometimes a biblical text just offers some practical advice, which seems to be the case with these verses.
The way we would state the sentiment expressed in these verses in modern vernacular would be “picking your battle” or “choosing which hill to die on.” That is, use wisdom and not passion to determine what cause is worth fighting for.
But, the causes we choose to defend are often meaningless causes–or as the Preacher says in this verse from Ecclesiastes, “an evil cause.”