LONELY AT THE TOP
13 It was better to be a poor and wise young man than an old and foolish king who did not know how to follow good counsel. 14 Because he had gone from prison to power, though in his own dominion he had been born poor. 15 I observed all the living creatures moving around under the sun, including that young man who is standing in the king’s place. 16 I could not count all the people he was responsible for leading. Still, his successors would not enjoy his accomplishment. This reality also shows life’s impermanence. It is like striving after wind.
losing touch as a leader
There are various guesses as to which historical people and events are being referred to. My guess is that if the collector is alluding to history, he refers to Joseph’s story. But, he may be referring to a well-known fictional story. His point is in the story itself. It shows the impermanence of political success. Striving to get at the top of the political ladder can isolate a person from the very people one needs to listen to – to avoid losing touch with those one seeks to serve. Fame and power can be bought, but the price is often too high.
LORD, give us the wisdom to listen to all those we lead. Do not allow us to lose touch with the hearts of those who might object to our leadership.
 See Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs. (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 1993), 308.