Ecclesiastes 7

How to avoid pride (vanity)
 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 better.
  1 - Good name A name is who we are, thus our reputation. Also pr2201. Today identity theft is serious crime of stealing from a person's bank account.
  1 - Precious ointment Better, "good perfume." The Hebrew for "ointment" is translated "oil" in ge2818, ge3514, ex2506. In pr2709, ec0908, ec1001. See song0103.
  1 - Day of death With a good reputation and character, death is not feared ps02304, re0210, lu2036, 1co1551, re0716.
  2 - Better ... house of mourning Reference is apparently to a time after death. It was customary to mourn for seven days ge5010. So the righteous and the wicked may sleep in death for a time before their resurrection. It may be though of as a time for judgment he0927. In a time before the return of Christ, the records are examined and sentence is passed re2211-13 for all who claim His name.
 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
 5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
 6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
   Wise ... house of mourning Serious thought is better than what we call entertainment.
  Crackling This word sounds like the sound it describes. Light fuel of dry twigs and leaves would sound like this but would not burn for long.
 7 ¶ Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.
 8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
  Thing Here "word." We need to speak and write keeping in mind the effect they are likely to have. This requires patience and humility.
 9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
 10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
  Anger ... in bosom of fools Some say that we forgive when the other person says they are sorry. This may be a good exercise for children but it misses the point for adults. We must forgive in our minds and ask God for strength to cast the matter aside mt0612, ep0426. To retain a feeling of injustice implies that we do not trust God for to take care of us ro1219, mt1128-30.
 11 ¶ Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun. 
.12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it. 
 13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked.
  Wisdom is good with an inheritance Rather than wasting the wealth lu1511.
  Work of God Or "providence." jb0912, jb1110.
  Crooked We should not want to be relieved of trials that shape our character. ge1502, 1sa0105, ro1136, 2co1207, he0210.
 14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against 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 perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.
  Wicked ... prolongeth Compare Job's concern jb1206, jb2107. We cannot see the purposes of God. We must live with the perspective of eternity ps10315.
 16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? 
 17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time? 
 18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.
.19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.
  19 Wisdom strengtheneth "He who is truly  wise gains his victories in life through an infilling of that wisdom that is from above. The same Hebrew verb here translated 'strengtheneth' appears also in 'prevail,' or 'prevailed' jg0310, jg0602, ps0919." (SDA Bible Commentary).
  19 - Mighty Or "rulers."
 20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
 21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: 
 22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
  Not a just man As ro0323. See 1jo0306, 1jo0504.
 23 ¶ All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.
 24 That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?
  Deep Compare jb1107, ro1133.
.25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness: 
.26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
 Reason See the word as "account" v27, "device," ec0910.
.27 Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account: 
 28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.
 29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
  28 - But a woman ... I have found not Solomon seems to have what we would call a sexist viewpoint, but we need to remember where he was looking. He had fallen into adultery with wives 1ki0301, and concubines 1ki1103. Many of them were from pagan nations. He also pictured the virtuous woman beginning in pr3110.
  29 - Made man upright See ge0127. Solomon says it's not God's fault. Compare ps01823 quoted from ps018.
  29 - Inventions Or developing ways that are not "upright," trying to avoid obedience. See the word in 2ch2615. The root of the verb is "to think."


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