Ecclesiastes 7

Wisdom

1 A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.
2 It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.
3 Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
5 It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.
6 Like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of fools. This too is meaningless.
7 Extortion turns a wise person into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.
9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.
10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.
11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun.
12 Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it.
13 Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?
14 When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.
15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness, and the wicked living long in their wickedness.
16 Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise— why destroy yourself?
17 Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool— why die before your time?
18 It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.[a]
19 Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city.
20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.
21 Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you—
22 for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.
23 All this I tested by wisdom and I said, “I am determined to be wise”— but this was beyond me.
24 Whatever exists is far off and most profound— who can discover it?
25 So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.
26 I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare.
27 “Look,” says the Teacher,[b] “this is what I have discovered: “Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things—
28 while I was still searching but not finding— I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all.
29 This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes.”

Images for Ecclesiastes 7

Ecclesiastes 7 Commentary

Chapter 7

The benefit of a good name; of death above life; of sorrow above vain mirth. (1-6) Concerning oppression, anger, and discontent. (7-10) Advantages of wisdom. (11-22) Experience of the evil of sin. (23-29)

Verses 1-6 Reputation for piety and honesty is more desirable than all the wealth and pleasure in this world. It will do more good to go to a funeral than to a feast. We may lawfully go to both, as there is occasion; our Saviour both feasted at the wedding of his friend in Cana, and wept at the grave of his friend in Bethany. But, considering how apt we are to be vain and indulge the flesh, it is best to go to the house of mourning, to learn the end of man as to this world. Seriousness is better than mirth and jollity. That is best for us which is best for our souls, though it be unpleasing to sense. It is better to have our corruptions mortified by the rebuke of the wise, than to have them gratified by the song of fools. The laughter of a fool is soon gone, the end of his mirth is heaviness.

Verses 7-10 The event of our trials and difficulties is often better than at first we thought. Surely it is better to be patient in spirit, than to be proud and hasty. Be not soon angry, nor quick in resenting an affront. Be not long angry; though anger may come into the bosom of a wise man, it passes through it as a way-faring man; it dwells only in the bosom of fools. It is folly to cry out upon the badness of our times, when we have more reason to cry out for the badness of our own hearts; and even in these times we enjoy many mercies. It is folly to cry up the goodness of former times; as if former ages had not the like things to complain of that we have: this arises from discontent, and aptness to quarrel with God himself.

Verses 11-22 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, yea better. It shelters from the storms and scorching heat of trouble. Wealth will not lengthen out the natural life; but true wisdom will give spiritual life, and strengthen men for services under their sufferings. Let us look upon the disposal of our condition as the work of God, and at last all will appear to have been for the best. In acts of righteousness, be not carried into heats or passions, no, not by a zeal for God. Be not conceited of thine own abilities; nor find fault with every thing, nor busy thyself in other men's matters. Many who will not be wrought upon by the fear of God, and the dread of hell, will avoid sins which ruin their health and estate, and expose to public justice. But those that truly fear God, have but one end to serve, therefore act steadily. If we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves. Every true believer is ready to say, God be merciful to me a sinner. Forget not at the same time, that personal righteousness, walking in newness of life, is the only real evidence of an interest by faith in the righteousness of the Redeemer. Wisdom teaches us not to be quick in resenting affronts. Be not desirous to know what people say; if they speak well of thee, it will feed thy pride, if ill, it will stir up thy passion. See that thou approve thyself to God and thine own conscience, and then heed not what men say of thee; it is easier to pass by twenty affronts than to avenge one. When any harm is done to us, examine whether we have not done as bad to others.

Verses 23-29 Solomon, in his search into the nature and reason of things, had been miserably deluded. But he here speaks with godly sorrow. He alone who constantly aims to please God, can expect to escape; the careless sinner probably will fall to rise no more. He now discovered more than ever the evil of the great sin of which he had been guilty, the loving many strange women, ( 1 Kings ) found. How was he likely to find such a one among those he had collected? If any of them had been well disposed, their situation would tend to render them all nearly of the same character. He here warns others against the sins into which he had been betrayed. Many a godly man can with thankfulness acknowledge that he has found a prudent, virtuous woman in the wife of his bosom; but those men who have gone in Solomon's track, cannot expect to find one. He traces up all the streams of actual transgression to the fountain. It is clear that man is corrupted and revolted, and not as he was made. It is lamentable that man, whom God made upright, has found out so many ways to render himself wicked and miserable. Let us bless Him for Jesus Christ, and seek his grace, that we may be numbered with his chosen people.

Cross References 36

  • 1. Proverbs 22:1; Song of Songs 1:3
  • 2. S Job 10:18
  • 3. S Proverbs 11:19
  • 4. Psalms 90:12; S Ecclesiastes 2:14
  • 5. S Proverbs 14:13
  • 6. S Ecclesiastes 2:1; Jeremiah 16:8
  • 7. Psalms 141:5; S Proverbs 13:18; Proverbs 15:31-32
  • 8. S Psalms 58:9; Psalms 118:12
  • 9. S Proverbs 14:13; Ecclesiastes 2:2
  • 10. S Exodus 18:21; S Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:19
  • 11. Proverbs 14:29; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 4:2
  • 12. S Matthew 5:22; Proverbs 14:17; James 1:19
  • 13. S Proverbs 14:29
  • 14. S Psalms 77:5
  • 15. Proverbs 8:10-11; Ecclesiastes 2:13
  • 16. Ecclesiastes 11:7
  • 17. Ecclesiastes 2:24
  • 18. Ecclesiastes 1:15
  • 19. S Job 1:21; S Ecclesiastes 2:24
  • 20. S Job 7:7
  • 21. S Job 21:7; Ecclesiastes 8:12-14; Jeremiah 12:1
  • 22. Job 15:32; Psalms 55:23
  • 23. S Ecclesiastes 3:14
  • 24. S Ecclesiastes 2:13
  • 25. S Proverbs 8:14; Ecclesiastes 9:13-18
  • 26. S Psalms 14:3
  • 27. 1 Kings 8:46; S 2 Chronicles 6:36; S Job 4:17; S Proverbs 20:9; Romans 3:12; Romans 3:23
  • 28. Proverbs 30:10
  • 29. S Ecclesiastes 1:17; Romans 1:22
  • 30. S Job 28:12
  • 31. S Job 28:3
  • 32. S Ecclesiastes 1:17
  • 33. S Exodus 10:7; S Judges 14:15
  • 34. S Proverbs 2:16-19; Proverbs 5:3-5; S Proverbs 7:23; Proverbs 22:14
  • 35. S Ecclesiastes 1:1
  • 36. 1 Kings 11:3

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or "will follow them both"
  • [b]. Or "the leader of the assembly"

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ECCLESIASTES 7

The wise man having exposed the many vanities to which men are subject in this life, and showed that there is no real happiness in all outward enjoyments under the sun; proceeds to observe what are remedies against them, of which he had interspersed some few hints before, as the fear and worship of God, and the free and, moderate use of the creatures; and here suggests more, and such as will protect from them, or support under them, or teach and instruct how to behave while attended with them, and to direct to what are proper and necessary in the pursuit of true and real happiness; such as care of a good name and reputation, Ec 7:1; frequent meditation on mortality, Ec 7:2-4; listening to the rebukes of the wise, which are preferable to the songs and mirth of fools, Ec 7:5,6; avoiding oppression and bribery, which are very pernicious, Ec 7:7; patience under provocations, and present bad times, as thought to be, Ec 7:8-10; a pursuit of that wisdom and knowledge which has life annexed to it, Ec 7:11,12; submission to the will of God, and contentment in every state, Ec 7:13,14; shunning extremes in righteousness and sin, the best antidote against which is the fear of God, Ec 7:15-18; such wisdom as not to be offended with everything that is done, or word that is spoken, considering the imperfection of the best of men, the weakness of others, and our own, Ec 7:19-22; and then the wise man acknowledges the imperfection of his own wisdom and knowledge, notwithstanding the pains he had taken, Ec 7:23-25; and laments his sin and folly in being drawn aside by women, Ec 7:26-28; and opens the cause of the depravity of human nature, removes it from God, who made man upright, and ascribes it to man, the inventor of evil things, Ec 7:29.

Ecclesiastes 7 Commentaries