Ecclesiastes 7:12
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
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.

King James Bible
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.

American Standard Version
For wisdom is a defence, even as money is a defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom preserveth the life of him that hath it.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For as wisdom is a defence, so money is a defence : but learning and wisdom excel in this, that they give life to him that possesseth them.

English Revised Version
For wisdom is a defence, even as money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom preserveth the life of him that hath it.

Webster's Bible Translation
For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellence of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

Ecclesiastes 7:12 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

A fourth proverb of that which is better (מן טוב) presents, like the third, the fools and the wise over against each other: "Better to hear the reproof of a wise man, than that one should hear the song of fools. For like the crackling of Nesseln (nettles) under the Kessel (kettle), so the laughter of the fool: also this is vain." As at Proverbs 13:1; Proverbs 17:10, גּערה is the earnest and severe words of the wise, which impressively reprove, emphatically warn, and salutarily alarm. שׁיר in itself means only song, to the exclusion, however, of the plaintive song; the song of fools is, if not immoral, yet morally and spiritually hollow, senseless, and unbridled madness. Instead of משּׁמע, the words מא שׁ are used, for the twofold act of hearing is divided between different subjects. A fire of thorn-twigs flickers up quickly and crackles merrily, but also exhausts itself quickly (Psalm 118:12), without sufficiently boiling the flesh in the pot; whilst a log of wood, without making any noise, accomplishes this quietly and surely.

We agree with Knobel and Vaihinger in copying the paronomasia [Nessel-Kessel]. When, on the other hand, Zckler remarks that a fire of nettles could scarcely crackle, we advise our friend to try it for once in the end of summer with a bundle of stalks of tall dry nettles. They yield a clear blaze, a quickly expiring fire, to which here, as he well remarks, the empty laughter of foolish men is compared, who are devoid of all earnestness, and of all deep moral principles of life. This laughter is vain, like that crackling.

There is a hiatus between Ecclesiastes 7:6 and Ecclesiastes 7:7. For how Ecclesiastes 7:7 can be related to Ecclesiastes 7:6 as furnishing evidence, no interpreter has as yet been able to say. Hitzig regards Ecclesiastes 7:6 as assigning a reason for Ecclesiastes 7:5, but 6b as a reply (as Ecclesiastes 7:7 containing its motive shows) to the assertion of Ecclesiastes 7:5, - a piece of ingenious thinking which no one imitates. Elster translates: "Yet injustice befools a wise man," being prudently silent about this "yet." Zckler finds, as Knobel and Ewald do, the mediating thought in this, that the vanity of fools infects and also easily befools the wise. But the subject spoken of is not the folly of fools in general, but of their singing and laughter, to which Ecclesiastes 7:7 has not the most remote reference. Otherwise Hengst.: "In Ecclesiastes 7:7, the reason is given why the happiness of fools is so brief; first, the mens sana is lost, and then destruction follows." But in that case the words ought to have been כסיל יהולל; the remark, that חכם here denotes one who ought to be and might be such, is a pure volte. Ginsburg thinks that the two verses are co-ordinated by כי; that Ecclesiastes 7:6 gives the reason for Ecclesiastes 7:5, and Ecclesiastes 7:7 that for Ecclesiastes 7:5, since here, by way of example, one accessible to bribery is introduced, who would act prudently in letting himself therefore be directed by a wise man. But if he had wished to be thus understood, the author would have used another word instead of חכם, 7a, and not designated both him who reproves and him who merits reproof by the one word - the former directly, the latter at least indirectly. We do not further continue the account of the many vain attempts that have been made to bring Ecclesiastes 7:7 into connection with Ecclesiastes 7:6 and Ecclesiastes 7:5. Our opinion is, that Ecclesiastes 7:7 is the second half of a tetrastich, the first half of which is lost, which began, as is to be supposed, with tov. The first half was almost the same as Psalm 37:16, or better still, as Proverbs 16:8, and the whole proverb stood thus:

טוב מעט בּחדקה

מרב תּבוּאות בּלא משׁפּט׃

[and then follows Ecclesiastes 7:7 as it lies before us in the text, formed into a distich, the first line of which terminates with חכם]. We go still further, and suppose that after the first half of the tetrastich was lost, that expression, "also this is vain," added to Ecclesiastes 7:6 by the punctuation, was inserted for the purpose of forming a connection for כי עשק: Also this is vain, that, etc. (כי, like asher, Ecclesiastes 8:14).

Ecclesiastes 7:12 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

wisdom

Job 1:10 Have not you made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side?...

Job 22:21-15 Acquaint now yourself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come to you...

Proverbs 2:7,11 He lays up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly...

Proverbs 14:20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbor: but the rich has many friends.

Proverbs 18:10,11 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runs into it, and is safe...

Isaiah 33:6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of your times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.

a defence

Judges 9:15 And the bramble said to the trees, If in truth you anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not...

Psalm 57:1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me: for my soul trusts in you: yes, in the shadow of your wings will I make my refuge...

Isaiah 30:2 That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh...

Isaiah 32:2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place...

the excellency

Deuteronomy 30:19,20 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing...

Deuteronomy 32:47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing you shall prolong your days in the land...

Proverbs 3:18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her: and happy is every one that retains her.

Proverbs 8:35 For whoever finds me finds life, and shall obtain favor of the LORD.

Proverbs 9:11 For by me your days shall be multiplied, and the years of your life shall be increased.

Proverbs 11:4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivers from death.

John 12:50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatever I speak therefore, even as the Father said to me, so I speak.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Philippians 3:8 Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord...

Cross References
Proverbs 3:18
She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.

Proverbs 8:35
For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD,

Ecclesiastes 2:13
Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness.

Ecclesiastes 7:19
Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.

Ecclesiastes 9:16
But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man's wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.

Ecclesiastes 9:18
Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

Ecclesiastes 10:19
Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything.

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