Indeed, a young man who has no experience, but is willing to learn is better than an experienced king who has stopped listening to advice. Yet, these are not exclusive character traits. It is possible to have an older king who is both experienced and wise. There are kings who can be old and still be willing to listen to advice.
But, Solomon says, it doesn’t matter because popular culture is always going to side with the youth. The new idea always sounds better and the new opportunity gets people involved. This was the case for the young man Solomon who was preceded by the great King David. Be it good or bad, at least, the young Solomon had this principle in his favor:
“I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king’s successor.” - Ecclesiastes 4:15
But, Solomon knew the cycle would continue. He knew his day of public popularity would eventually fade. There would be a new generation who would favor a younger successor (or, an insurgent such as Jeroboam!) who had new ideas. Solomon knew that “there was no end to all the people who” supported him early on in his reign, but Solomon also knew certain trends were true:
“Those who came later were not pleased with the successor.” – Ecclesiastes 4:16
Time will move on. Popularity ratings will change. Opinions will be swayed. A king can gain experience, rule well and continue to take advice, but people are fickle and will eventually turn on
their leader in order to support someone new. So, it is good to know ahead of time that:
The people you lead are fickle. Their opinion of you will change.
“This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind." –Ecclesiastes 4:16