Ecclesiastes 7

1 A good name is better than precious ointment and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made whole.
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 hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.
6 The laughter of the fool is as the crackling of thorns under a pot, and this also (the laughter or prosperity of the fool) is vanity.
7 Surely oppression makes a wise man mad, and a gift destroys the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and he who has suffered in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Do not be hasty in thy spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.
10 Never say, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
11 Knowledge is good with an inheritance and is the excellency of those that see the sun.
12 For knowledge is a defence, and money is a defence; but wisdom excels in that it gives life to those that have it.
13 Consider the work of God; for who can make straight that which he has twisted?
14 In the day of good enjoy that which is good, but in the day of adversity open your eyes and learn: God also has made the one (the day of adversity) before the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perishes for his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongs his days by his wickedness.
16 Do not be too legalistic; neither make thyself over wise in thine own eyes: why should thou destroy thyself?
17 Do not be hasty to condemn, neither be thou foolish: why should thou die in the midst of thy labours?
18 It is good that thou should take hold of this; and also from the other not withdraw thy hand; for he that fears God shall come through with everything.
19 Wisdom strengthens the wise more than ten mighty men who are in the city.
20 For surely there is not a just man upon earth that in doing good does not sin.
21 Also do not take to heart all the words that are spoken lest thou hear thy slave speak evil of thee:
22 For thine own heart knows that thou thyself likewise hast spoken evil of others many times.
23 All this I have proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise, but it was far from me.
24 That which has been is far off and that which is exceeding deep, who can find it out?
25 I applied my heart to know and to search and to seek out wisdom and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the madness of error;
26 and I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands are bonds; whosoever pleases God shall escape from her, but the sinner shall be held prisoner in her.
27 Behold, this I have found, saith the preacher, weighing things one by one to find out the answer,
28 which my soul yet seeks, but I find not: one man among a thousand I have found, but a woman among all those I have not found.
29 Behold, this only have I found: that God has made man upright, but they have sought out many perversions.

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.

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

The Jubilee Bible

(from the Scriptures of the Reformation)

edited by Russell M. Stendal

Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2010