Ecclesiastes 7 – “Assorted Sayings and Lessons”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Qohelet speaks about revelry, wisdom, women, and a number of other matters.

II. Photo
A lesson about nostalgia: “Don’t say, ‘How has it happened that former times were better than these?’ For it is not wise of you to ask that question.” (v. 10)

III. Select Verses    
1: A good name is better than fragrant oil, and the day of death than the day of birth.
2:  It is better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting; for that is the end of every man, and a living one should take it to heart.
5: It is better to listen to a wise man’s reproof than to listen to the praise of fools.
8: The end of a matter is better than the beginning of it. Better a patient spirit than a haughty spirit.
10: Don’t say, “How has it happened that former times were better than these?” For it is not wise of you to ask that question.
15-17:  In my own brief span of life, I have seen both these things: sometimes a good man perishes in spite of his goodness, and sometimes a wicked one endures in spite of his wickedness. So don’t overdo goodness and don’t act the wise man to excess, or you may be dumfounded. Don’t overdo wickedness and don’t be a fool, or you may die before your time.
20: For there is not one good man on earth who does what is best and doesn’t err.
25-26: I put my mind to studying, exploring, and seeking wisdom and the reason of things, and to studying wickedness, stupidity, madness, and folly. Now, I find woman more bitter than death; she is all traps, her hands are fetters and her heart is snares. He who is pleasing to God escapes her, and he who is displeasing is caught by her.

IV. Outline
1. A good name
2. A house of mourning
3. Jokery
4. A house of mourning
5-6a. The wise man and the fool
7b-8. The futility of wisdom
9. The end of a matter
10. The days of old
11-12. Wisdom
13-14. The ways of God
15-18.  Being good and wicked
19-20. Wisdom and sin
21-22. Ignoring what others say
23-26. Wisdom and the bitterness of women
27-29. Wisdom and reasoning

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
C. L. Seow, Ecclesiastes (Anchor Yale Bible 18C; New Haven: Yale, 1997).
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