Bible: Eccl 7:15-29

Exceptions to the Law of Retribution

7:15 During the days of my fleeting life 1  I have seen both 2  of these things:

Sometimes 3  a righteous person dies prematurely 4  in spite of 5  his righteousness,

and sometimes 6  a wicked person lives long 7  in spite of his evil deeds.

7:16 So do not be excessively righteous or excessively 8  wise; 9 

otherwise 10  you might 11  be disappointed. 12 

7:17 Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool;

otherwise 13  you might die before your time.

7:18 It is best to take hold of one warning 14  without letting go of the other warning; 15 

for the one who fears God will follow 16  both warnings. 17 

Wisdom Needed Because No One is Truly Righteous

7:19 Wisdom gives a wise person more protection 18 

than ten rulers in a city.

7:20 For 19  there is not one truly 20  righteous person on the earth

who continually does good and never sins.

7:21 Also, do not pay attention to everything that people 21  say;

otherwise, 22  you might even hear 23  your servant cursing you.

7:22 For you know in your own heart 24 

that you also have cursed others many times.

Human Wisdom is Limited

7:23 I have examined all this by wisdom;

I said, “I am determined 25  to comprehend this” 26  – but it was beyond my grasp. 27 

7:24 Whatever has happened is beyond human 28  understanding; 29 

it is far deeper than anyone can fathom. 30 

True Righteousness and Wisdom are Virtually Nonexistent

7:25 I tried 31  to understand, examine, and comprehend 32 

the role of 33  wisdom in the scheme of things, 34 

and to understand the stupidity of wickedness 35  and the insanity of folly. 36 

7:26 I discovered this: 37 

More bitter than death is the kind of 38  woman 39  who is like a hunter’s snare; 40 

her heart is like a hunter’s net and her hands are like prison chains.

The man who pleases God escapes her,

but the sinner is captured by her.

7:27 The Teacher says:

I discovered this while trying to discover the scheme of things, item by item.

7:28 What I have continually sought, I have not found;

I have found only 41  one upright 42  man among a thousand,

but I have not found one upright woman among all of them.

7:29 This alone have I discovered: God made humankind upright,

but they have sought many evil schemes.

NET Bible Study Environment