The Contrast of Wisdom and Folly
7 A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth.
It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity.
Surely oppression drives the wise into madness,
and a bribe corrupts the heart.
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the heart of fools.
Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who see the sun.
For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
Consider the work of God:
who can make straight what he has made crooked?
In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
In my vain life I have seen everything. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing. Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time? It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them.
Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.
Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.
All this I have tested by wisdom. I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. That which has been is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out?
I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness. And I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things—which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found. See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.
Ecclesiastes 7 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”Cicero
They say there are two things we can all depend upon: death and taxes. Both are inescapable. Death is something none of us care to think of and often don’t until someone we love has been ripped from our lives. For many, it is a topic no one wants to discuss until they are faced with it. People avoid funerals, some stay clear of hospitals when another is gravely ill. Yet, as we know it is inescapable. For we all are touched by the death of someone at some point. And we all will face it ourselves.
Death has a way of sobering us up to many things in our lives and the choices we’ve made. Sometimes death spurs us on toward living a better life, making choices that readjust our path.
“Death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning but the house of the fools is in the house of pleasure.”Ecclesiastes 7:2,4
Solomon’s words speak toward the reality of what death does. It causes us to think about our choices and where we are. It actually gives us a chance to change. If the person who died was a solid spiritual leader, this too is something that speaks beyond their grave. Death has the potential to help us change our course and ways. And so yes, the life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.
“Death is the end of dying. On the day of the Believer’s death dying is forever done with. The saints who are with God will never die anymore. Life is wrestling, struggling, but death is the end conflict; it is rest – victory.”Charles Spurgeon
Psalms 90:12 asks God to teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. There is much the unwanted guest of death can bring.
The death of someone reminds us there is still time to change the direction of our lives. Their life, honestly whether good or bad, has an impact as we look at ourselves and our path. There is no escaping it. We all will eventually die. What we’ve done with Christ in this life determines where our eternity is. We should look toward this more than anything else. We are either making choices that will bring us toward the insane mercy of our God or we are pursuing things in this temporal state we call living that bring His justice and judgment.
Ecclesiastes 7 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Even the day of one’s birth is ominous, despite all the hopes and potential in a baby’s birth. Children come into the world uttering the human sound – a scream.
“Before ever a child speak, he prophesies, by his tears, of his ensuing sorrows.”John Trapp
The road is full of hardship. Solomon knew this. He argued that in some cases it was better to not be alive than to suffer through the ups and downs of life. But we know from the NT that there is a purpose to be found through Jesus. It’s common to wrestle with this. In fact, Paul writes of it in Philippians.
Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. 23 I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.Philippians 1:22-24 HCSB
Who comes to mind when you read this verse? To remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. You see, we can look at this life and its hardships from a selfish perspective and only think about our own happiness. But that’s not what it’s about. Your life is a glowing testimony to the powerful grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.
The fact that you are here, living and breathing, is proof that He has a mighty plan for you. That plan may not be for your total happiness but for someone else’s Salvation. The people you interact with daily are waiting and watching.