Ecclesiastes 7:17

17 Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool— why die before your time?

Read Ecclesiastes 7:17 Using Other Translations

Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?
Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time?
On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time?

What does Ecclesiastes 7:17 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Ecclesiastes 7:17

Be not over much wicked
Not that a man should be wicked at all; but some, observing that wicked men prolong their days in wickedness, are encouraged to go into greater lengths in sin than they have yet done, and give up themselves to all iniquity; and run into excess of not, into the grossest and most scandalous enormities. Some render it, "do not disturb" or "frighten thyself" F1, distress and distract thyself with the business of life, bustling and stirring, restless and uneasy, to get wealth and riches; but be easy and satisfied with what is enjoyed, or comes without so much stir and trouble; this is the original sense of the word. The meaning seems to be, either do not multiply sin, add unto it, and continue in it; or do not aggravate it, making sins to be greater and more heinous than they are, and a man's case worse than it is, and so sink into despair; and thus it stands opposed to an ostentatious show of righteousness; neither be thou foolish;
or give up thyself to a profligate life, to go on in a course of sin, which will issue in the ruin of body and soul; or in aggravating it in an excessive manner; why shouldest thou die before thy time?
bring diseases on thy body by a wicked course of living, which will issue in death; or fall into the hands of the civil magistrate, for capital offences, for which sentence of death must pass and be executed, before a man comes to the common term of human life; see ( Psalms 55:23 ) ( 90:10 ) ; or, as Mr. Broughton renders it, "before thy ordinary time"; not before the appointed time F2. The Targum is,

``be the cause of death to thy soul;''
or through despair commit suicide.

F1 (evrt la) "ne paveas", Pagninus; "ne te occupes multum, aut distrahas te, sive inquietes", some in Vatablus; so Aben Ezra and Ben Melech.
F2 "Ante diem", Virgil. Aeneid. 4. prope finem. Vid. Servium in ib. Ovid. Metamorph. l. 1. Fab. 4.
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