Eccelsiastes 7:11-20

Ecclesiastes 7:11

Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.


When wisdom and a good inheritance are found to be characteristics in one man then there is good which can come out of it.  A fool who inherits wealth and then uses it to abuse or enslave people is bad and will lead to his destruction but when wealth is used wisely it can be invested in business and create jobs and helps the economy of the country.  This wise handling of an inheritance may cause others to benefit and profit from the wise decisions made by the inheritor.  Of course, as with all things under the sun benefit and prosperity is not a guarantee of salvation and that is why Solomon limits the benefits to being under the sun, which means temporal.


Ecclesiastes 7:12

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.


The word for “defence” in the Hebrew carries with it the meaning of “shade or shadow.”  An interesting meaning since the rich man’s defense is to cut himself off from the needy or to shadow his money in some investments or funds which will hopefully yield more income.  His defense against the world is his wealth thinking that can save him from any financial or personal problems.  Wisdom being a defense basks in the shadow which is a form of refreshment from the hot sun.  Here Solomon places both wisdom and money side by side and then proceeds to tell us that wisdom excels over money.  A person can lose all their money but a wise person does not lose their wisdom because of some downturn in the stock market or some other type of tragedy.  The wise man will use his wisdom to work his way through challenges and that is how he maintains life.  The foolish man who lives for money and then loses it will not know how to rebuild his life.  In the 1929 stock market crash people were jumping out of windows because they did not see life continuing beyond the stock market.


Ecclesiastes 7:13

Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?


A person needs to consider or see the work of God.  Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?  (Isaiah 43:13)  When God creates something crooked, one cannot reverse the work of God by attempting to make it straight.  If God made something crooked, he made it that way for his purpose.  This verse is also speaking about calamities that come into a person’s life and those should not be complained about because that would be vain and fruitless.  One must take things like that by faith that God is in control of all situations.


Ecclesiastes 7:14

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.


If God allows a person to prosper in whatever their field is then they should be joyful at the times of prosperity but days of adversity can come in the will and plan of God.  When that happens, they are also to see that God has ordained the times of plenty as he has ordained the lean times like he did in the time of Joseph in Egypt.  God has juxtaposed the prosperous days with the days of adversity.  In this way a man does not know what the future will hold, whether it is adversity or prosperity since both are decreed by the hand of God and the winds of change can come quickly.  This situation will cause a man to trust in God and not his own abilities.  He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.  (Proverbs 11:28)  He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.  (Proverbs 16:20)  Notice in Proverbs 16:20 it states that whoso trust in the LORD is happy, that is because even in times of leanness when one trusts the LORD their needs would be met.  The unwise man trusts in himself but the wise man trusts in God.


Ecclesiastes 7:15

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.


Then Solomon declares all the things which he has seen and those which he has experienced when he entered this vain and temporary life.  I am sure the phrase “the good die young” was sourced in this verse because it basically states that a righteous man will die but will maintain his righteousness in the death.  Then Solomon compares the fact that the wicked or unsaved person will be able to prolong their life and remain in their wickedness.  He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.  (Revelation 22:11)  Revelation 22:11 states that those who have become saved on earth will be saved when they physically die and those who are wicked or unrighteous will remain that way and be judged after death.  One way a wicked man can prolong his life today is if he needed an organ transplant and then got one on the black market and then found a doctor to exchange the good organ for the bad one and thus extending the life of the wicked person.  No matter what the wicked man does to extend his life, he is in no way supplanting the will of God for his life.  (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:)  (Job 8:9)


Ecclesiastes 7:16

Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?


A person can get to the point where they have taken a religious stance and made it into a legalistic standard.  Legalism is taking things farther than God does in the Scriptures.  For example, the Pharisees would tithe the smallest things but have no problem taking a widow’s house.  I remember being in a church where short sleeve shirts were ungodly.  Being overly righteous is nothing more than adding works which are over and above what God requires of his children.  We must also guard about being over wise, that is, over analyzing every situation or every statement.  We can get to the point where we no longer are using wisdom but going beyond wisdom and prognosticating events or a situation if we do something.  Sometimes we want to be more wise than what we find written in the Scriptures by utilizing our wisdom and then applying it to the Scriptures and making them fit to what we want to say.  If we continue to do these things, they could lead to our own destruction just as being unwise or unrighteous can lead to personal problems.  We must understand things not to the extreme or to the point we deem everything harmless.  There must be a balance in our lives.


Ecclesiastes 7:17

Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?


Then we must not turn to anything wicked because in Verse 15 we see that the wicked somehow prolong their days and being wicked does not necessarily mean that everyone will prolong their days.  Billy the Kid was shot dead at the age of 21 on July 14, 1881 by Sheriff Pat Garett, so wickedness does not necessarily mean you will live longer.  We should never be foolish and give ourselves over to the life of a fool.  Many times fools think they are wise but their actions prove otherwise.  Many young people start out by smoking one cigarette and get hooked or they have one drink and become drunks or they think they can have sex without consequences as seen on TV and then wind up with AIDS.  Living the life of a fool can decrease one’s lifespan drastically.


Ecclesiastes 7:18

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.


Solomon then counsels his readers that they should consider the wisdom he has just given and that if they are wise and refrain from both extremes which is the reckless and the overly wise then those who fear God will live a balanced life and will have the ability to see both extremes and how dangerous following their singular paths can be.  Fearing God is also the beginning of wisdom and that Godly wisdom will guide us into proper and balanced life.


Ecclesiastes 7:19

Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.


True godly wisdom will strengthen the wise as they continue to live in wisdom then each bit of wisdom they ascertain will continue to build upon the last one and that makes them much stronger as wisdom is piled upon wisdom.  Mighty men will have a limitation on their strength, even ten of them put together, but the wisdom of God is never ending because he is an infinite being.  Wisdom can create an aura of security because each situation is faced with wisdom and not foolishness.  Wisdom keeps a person from exaggerating the extremes of life as stated in the previous verses.


Ecclesiastes 7:20

For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.


When Adam and Eve sinned, they now had the ability to infect the entire human race with the sin nature just by passing it down from generation to generation.  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;  (Romans 3:23)  This means that every human being is born a sinner and that includes babies whether we like it or not.  The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.  (Psalm 58:3)  As a result of our sin nature we cannot do any good which can get us into Heaven.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.  (Romans 3:12)  The word “just” can be understood as one who is lawful or righteous.  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  (Romans 3:10)  Eccl. 7:20 is a serious but true indictment of the entire human race.  Many people think they are not sinners because they haven’t killed someone or robbed a bank.  Condemning sin can be as small as taking a pen or paper clip without the permission of the owner.  They both constitute stealing.  So there is no such thing as a righteous, good person who does not sin.  Our entire life is covered in sin and is known as Total Depravity where all our actions are bathed in sin and no matter how good they look to the world, they are still sin-tainted.  It is this sinful condition that makes salvation impossible without the Lord Jesus Christ.