View Ecclesiastes 7 in the note window.
Solomon here recommends seriousness, ver. 1 - 6
Calmness of spirit, ver. 7 - 10.
Wisdom, ver. 11, 12.
Suiting ourselves to every condition, ver. 13, 14.
The advice of an infidel answered, ver. 15 - 18.
The praise of wisdom, ver. 19.
All men are sinners, ver. 20.
Mind not the censures of others, ver. 21, 22.
Solomon's experience of men and women, ver. 23 - 29.
1: Of death - Seeing this life is so full of vanity, and vexation,
and misery, it is more desirable for a man to go out of it, than to
come into it.
2: The house - Where mourners meet to celebrate the funeral of a
deceased friend. That - Death. The living - Will be seriously affected
with it, whereas feasting is commonly attended with levity, and
4: The wise - Are constantly meditating upon serious things.
6: Thorns - Which for a time make a great noise and blaze, but
presently go out.
7: A gift - A bribe given to a wise man, deprives him of the use of
his understanding. So this verse discovers two ways whereby a wise man
may be made mad, by suffering oppression from others, or by receiving
bribes to oppress others. And this also is an argument of the vanity
of worldly wisdom that is so easily corrupted and lost.
8: The end - The good or evil of things is better known by their end,
than by their beginning. The patient - Who quietly waits for the issue of
things. The proud - Which he puts instead of hasty or impatient,
because pride is the chief cause of impatience.
10: Better - More quiet and comfortable. For this is an argument of
a mind unthankful for the many mercies, which men enjoy even in evil times.
For - This question shews thy folly in contending with thy Lord and
governor, in opposing thy shallow wit to his unsearchable wisdom.
11: Good - When wisdom and riches meet in one man, it is an happy
conjunction. By it - By wisdom joined with riches there comes great
benefit. To them - Not only to a man's self, but many others in this
12: Life - But herein knowledge of wisdom excels riches, that whereas
riches frequently expose men to destruction, true wisdom doth often
preserve a man from temporal, and always from eternal ruin.
13: Consider - His wise, and just, and powerful government of all
events, which is proposed as the last and best remedy against all
murmurings. For who - No man can correct or alter any of God's works;
and therefore all frettings at the injuries of men, or calamities of
times, are not only sinful, but also vain and fruitless. This implies
that there is an hand of God in all mens actions, either effecting them,
if they be good, or permitting them, if they be bad, and ordering and
over - ruling them, whether they he good or bad.
14: Be joyful - Enjoy God's favours with thankfulness.
Consider - Consider that it is God's hand, and therefore submit to it:
consider also why God sends it, for what sins, and with what design.
God also - Hath wisely ordained, that prosperity and adversity should
succeed one another. That - No man might be able to foresee, what shall
befal him afterwards; and therefore might live in a constant dependance
upon God, and neither despair in trouble, nor be secure or presumptuous
15: All - All sorts of events. My vanity - Since I have come into
this vain life. Perisheth - Yea, for his righteousness, which exposes him
to the envy, anger, or hatred of wicked men. Wickedness - Notwithstanding
all his wickedness.
16: Be not - This verse and the next have a manifest reference to
ver.(15), being two inferences drawn from the two clauses of the
observation. Solomon here speaks in the person of an ungodly man, who
takes occasion to dissuade men from righteousness, because of the danger
which attends it. Therefore, saith he, take heed of strictness, zeal,
and forwardness in religion. And the next verse contains an antidote to
this suggestion; yea, rather saith he, be not wicked or foolish overmuch;
for that will not preserve thee, as thou mayest imagine, but will occasion
and hasten thy ruin.
18: Take hold of - Embrace and practise this counsel.
Shall come - Shall be delivered from all extremes, and from
all the evil consequences of them.
19: Strengthen - Supports him in, and secures him against troubles
20: Sinneth not - Who is universally and perfectly good.
21: Also - Do not strictly search into them, nor listen to hear them.
23: Proved - I have found to be true, by the help of that singular
wisdom which God had given me. I said - I determined that I would attain
perfection of wisdom. But - I found myself greatly disappointed.
24: It - God's counsels and works, and the reasons of them.
25: And seek - He useth three words signifying the same thing, to
intimate his vehement desire, and vigorous, and unwearied endeavours
after it. The reason - Both of God's various providences, and of the
counsels and courses of men. The wickedness - Clearly and fully to
understand the great evil of sin.
26: I find - By my own sad experience. Shall escape - Shall be
prevented from falling into her hands.
27: To find - That I might make a true and just estimate.
28: Yet seeketh - I returned to search again with more earnestness.
I find not - That it was so, he found, but the reason of the thing he
could not find out. One man - A wise and virtuous man. A woman - One
worthy of that name; one who is not a dishonour to her sex. Among - In
that thousand whom I have taken into intimate society with myself.
29: Lo, this - Though I could not find out all the streams of
wickedness, and their infinite windings and turnings, yet I have
discovered the fountain of it, Original sin, and the corruption of
nature, which is both in men and women. That - God made our first
parents, Adam and Eve. Upright - Heb. right: without any
imperfection or corruption, conformable to his nature and will,
after his own likeness. They - Our first parents, and after them
their posterity. Sought out - Were not contented with their present
state, but studied new ways of making themselves more wise and happy,
than God had made them. And we, their wretched children, are still
prone to forsake the certain rule of God's word, and the true way to
happiness, and to seek new methods of attaining it.