|Ecclesiastes 7 |
1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death better than the day of one's birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter for by the sadness of the countenance, the heart is made better.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of merriment.1
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling [sound of burning] of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool; this also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression makes a wise man mad; and a bribe destroys the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it; and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Be not hasty in your spirit to be angry for anger rests in the bosom of fools.
10 Do not say, "Why were the days past better than these?" For you do not exhibit wisdom in this question.
11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance; and by it there is profit to those who see the sun. [To see the sun is an idiom for to be alive.]
12 For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense; but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom gives life to those who have it.
13 Consider the work of God; for who can make straight, which he has made crooked?
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider that God has also set the one against the other, to the end that man should find out nothing about what is after him.
15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity. There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness.
16 Do not be [or act] overly righteous; neither make yourself overly wise. Why should you destroy yourself?
17 Do not be overly wicked, neither be foolish. Why should you die before your time?
18 It is good that you should take hold of [understand] this; yes, also from this do not withdraw your hand for he that fears God shall come forth of them all.
19 Wisdom strengthens the wise more than ten mighty men who are in the city, who do good, and do not sin.
20 For there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and does not sin.2
21 Also do not listen to all words that are spoken, lest you hear your servant curse you,
22 For your heart also knows that you yourself have likewise cursed others.
23 All this have I proved by wisdom; I said, "I will be wise;" but it was far from me.
24 That which is far off, and exceedingly deep, who can find it out?
25 I applied my heart to know, to search, to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things; and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness.
26 And I find that more bitter than death is the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands; whoever pleases God shall escape from her, but the sinner shall be taken by her.
27 Behold, this have I found, said the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the true number,
28 Which yet my soul seeks; and I find not one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all of those.
29 Lo, this only have I found, that God has made men upright; but men have sought out many [evil] schemes.
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1 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of merriment. Revelry or partying is identified by Paul in Gal. 5:19-21 as a work of the flesh, which disqualifies a man for any inheritance in the Kingdom of God; they will be banished from heaven, sent to the darkness of Hell:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are: sexual immorality (including adultery and fornication), impurity, lust, idolatry (including covetousness), sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousy, anger, ambition, divisiveness, factions, envy, drunkenness, revelry (partying), and the like; which I say beforehand, as I have said before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal 5:19-21
From Mat 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are those who mourn because they are slaves to sin, because they have no control over their emotions. Blessed are those who mourn because they have waited on and listened to the Holy Spirit, who shows them how they are slaves to sin, locked in selfishness, captive to lusts, and in bondage to their emotions, for they shall be comforted; for the same Holy Spirit of grace, both shows a man his sins and then removes them, purifying for himself a people who are his very own, zealous for good works. And: Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Luke 6:21. But: Woe to you who laugh now! For you shall mourn and weep. Luke 6:25.
2 For there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and does not sin. This was the time of the law, which could make a man perfect, but who could still fall to sin again; as did David and Asa. Certainly every man sins in his life, but even in Old Testament we have records of God's favor shown to men made perfect by him: For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward him. 2 Chron 16:9. In addition to Jesus being unquestionably perfect, the scriptures tell us God considered perfect Enoch, Noah, Job, Zacharias, Elizabeth, Hezekiah, Asa, and David.
Also, Solomon is writing in grief and bitterness because his life has become a failure; he turned away from God, to follow the gods of his foreign wives. God then told him his kingdom would be taken from his son, except for one tribe of Israel that would stay with Jerusalem, the kingdom of Judah; the other tribes would be split into the separate Kingdom of Israel. The Bible references David to have a perfect heart, but he then fell and his restoration was very difficult. David himself said: "I have seen the end of perfection," showing he too saw perfection; but it was the perfection of Adam before he fell, still subject to temptation. The perfection that Christ's death made possible is a perfection that cannot be undone: We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but He [the Spirit of Christ within your heart] who is fathered by God protects him [the man], and the wicked one does not touch him. 1 John 5:18. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. John 10:29.
After the Law and before Christ, the only people who received the favor of God were those who walked close to conforming to the Law's requirements; those who ignored his Law, were disregarded by Him, Heb 8:9. Because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, with only a belief in His name, with humble sorrow for the past, we can approach God and receive the operations of his changing grace to purify our hearts and consciences; whatever our burden of past sins may be. So, thousands in the early Church attained purity, holiness, perfection, union with Christ and God, translated to their kingdom while still on earth. Thousands of 17th Century Quakers attained the same perfection to live in union with Christ and God, living in their Kingdom while still on earth. With faith in what Jesus speaks to us, by grace and the cross, He can now make you perfect in every good work to do his will, Heb 13:21; a forever cleansing and perfection with resulting union is now available to all who go to him for change.
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