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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Ecclesiastes

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FRAMEWORKS: Ecclesiastes 7

 

(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for meditation. To achieve this we have used a variety of means, notes, headings, verse summaries.)

 

    

FRAMEWORKS: Ecclesiastes 7: Wise Thoughts

 

[Preliminary Comments: This chapter continues the wise thoughts of Solomon that start with thoughts about death [v.1-4], then a longer section of what appear almost a random selection of thoughts about wisdom etc. [v.5-24] finishing with his thoughts on the ‘stupidity of wickedness' [v.25-29]

 

PART 1: v.1-4: Reflections on Death

   

v.1-4 Death makes us think about life more

v. 1   A good name is better than fine perfume,
     and the day of death better than the day of birth.

v.2  It is better to go to a house of mourning
     than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
     the living should take this to heart.

v.3  Frustration is better than laughter,
     because a sad face is good for the heart.

v.4  The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
     but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
    

PART 2: v.5-24: Various reflections on wisdom, folly & wise behaviour

   

v.5,6 Be careful who you listen to

v.5  It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person
     than to listen to the song of fools.

v.6  Like the crackling of thorns under the pot,
     so is the laughter of fools.
     This too is meaningless.

   

v.7 Abusive use of money is self-destructive

v.7  Extortion turns a wise person into a fool,
     and a bribe corrupts the heart.

  

v.8 The end of a task reveals its value, as patience beats pride

v.8  The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
     and patience is better than pride.
    

v.9 Be at peace and reject anger

v.9  Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,
     for anger resides in the lap of fools.

    

v.10 Comparing the past & the present often fails to take all into account

v.10  Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?”
     For it is not wise to ask such questions.

   

v.11 Wisdom brings blessing in the same way an inheritance does

v.11  Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing
     and benefits those who see the sun.
    

v.12 Wisdom protects in the same way money does, and blesses those who have it

v.12  Wisdom is a shelter
     as money is a shelter,
but the advantage of knowledge is this:
     Wisdom preserves those who have it.

   

v.13 Don't try and change the way God has designed things; think on this

v.13  Consider what God has done:

Who can straighten
     what he has made crooked?
    

v.14 Remember God makes good times and allows bad times

v.14  When times are good, be happy;
     but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
     as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
     anything about their future.

 

v.15 In this fallen world injustice is often missing in everyday life

v.15  In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these:

the righteous perishing in their righteousness,
     and the wicked living long in their wickedness.
    

v.16-18 Don't try, by your own efforts, to be over-good, and beware the folly of wickedness

v.16  Do not be over righteous,
     neither be overwise—
     why destroy yourself?
v.17  Do not be overwicked,
     and do not be a fool—
     why die before your time?
v.18  It is good to grasp the one
     and not let go of the other.
     Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.

 

v.19 Wisdom can produce power

v.19  Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful
     than ten rulers in a city.

 

v.20 The fact is we all sin and get it wrong sometimes

v.20  Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
     no one who does what is right and never sins.

 

v.21,22 Don't listen to those criticizing you

v.21  Do not pay attention to every word people say,
     or you may hear your servant cursing you—

v.22  for you know in your heart
     that many times you yourself have cursed others.

 

v.23,24 I wanted to be wise – but couldn't!

v.23  All this I tested by wisdom and I said,

“I am determined to be wise”—
     but this was beyond me.

v.24  Whatever exists is far off and most profound—
     who can discover it?
     

PART 3: v.25-29: The Stupidity of Wickedness

     

v.25 So I decided to check out other things

v.25  So I turned my mind to understand,
     to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things
and to understand the stupidity of wickedness
     and the madness of folly.

 

v.26 For example the conniving woman is to be avoided

v.26  I find more bitter than death
     the woman who is a snare,
whose heart is a trap
     and whose hands are chains.
The man who pleases God will escape her,
     but the sinner she will ensnare.

 

v.27,28 I found few upright men, but fewer upright women

v.27  “Look,” says the Teacher, “this is what I have discovered:

“Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things—

v.28        while I was still searching
     but not finding—
I found one upright man among a thousand,
     but not one upright woman among them all.
     

v.29 God may have made mankind upright but we go other ways

v.29  This only have I found:
     God created mankind upright,
     but they have gone in search of many schemes.”

 

 

Continue to Ecclesiastes 8