Ecclesiastes 7:17
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time?

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

American Standard Version
Be not overmuch wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Be not overmuch wicked: and be not foolish, lest thou die before thy time.

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

Webster's Bible Translation
Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldst thou die before thy time?

Ecclesiastes 7:17 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Externally connecting itself with "from wisdom," there now follows another proverb, which declares that wisdom along with an inheritance is good, but that wisdom is nevertheless of itself better than money and possessions: "Wisdom is good with family possessions, and an advantage for those who see the sun. For wisdom affordeth a shadow, money affordeth a shadow; yet the advantage of knowledge is this, that wisdom preserveth life to its possessor." Most of the English interpreters, from Desvoeux to Tyler, translate: "Wisdom is as good as an inheritance;" and Bullock, who translates: "with an inheritance," says of this and the other translations: "The difference is not material." But the thought is different, and thus the distinction is not merely a formal one. Zckl. explains it as undoubted that עם here, as at Ecclesiastes 2:16 (vid., l.c.), means aeque ac; (but (1) that aeque ac has occurred to no ancient translator, till the Venet. and Luther, nor to the Syr., which translates: "better is wisdom than weapons (מאנא זינא)," in a singular way making Ecclesiastes 7:11 a duplette of Ecclesiastes 9:18; (2) instead of "wisdom is better than wealth," as e.g., Proverbs 8:11; (3) the proverb is formed like Aboth ii. 2, "good is study connected with a citizen-like occupation," and similar proverbs; (4) one may indeed say: "the wise man dieth with (together with) the fool" equals just as well as the fool; but "good is wisdom with wealth" can neither be equivalent to "as well as wealth," nor: "in comparison with wealth" (Ewald, Elster), but only: "in connection with wealth (possessions);" aeque ac may be translated for una cum where the subject is common action and suffering, but not in a substantival clause consisting of a subst. as subject and an adj. as pred., having the form of a categorical judgment. נחלה denotes a possession inherited and hereditary (cf. Proverbs 20:21); and this is evidence in favour of the view that עם is meant not of comparison, but of connection; the expression would otherwise be עם־עשׁר. ויתר is now also explained. It is not to be rendered: "and better still" (than wealth), as Herzf., Hitz., and Hengst. render it; but in spite of Hengst., who decides in his own way, "יותר never means advantage, gain," it denotes a prevailing good, avantage; and it is explained also why men are here named "those who see the sun" - certainly not merely thus describing them poetically, as in Homer ζώειν is described and coloured by ὁρᾶν φάος ἠελίοιο. To see the sun, is equals to have entered upon this earthly life, in which along with wisdom, also no inheritance is to be despised. For wisdom affords protection as well as money, but the former still more than the latter. So far, the general meaning of Ecclesiastes 7:12 is undisputed. Buthow is Ecclesiastes 7:12 to be construed? Knobel, Hitz., and others regard ב as the so-called beth essentiae: a shadow (protection) is wisdom, a shadow is money, - very expressive, yet out of harmony, if not with the language of that period, yet with the style of Koheleth; and how useless and misleading would this doubled בּ be here! Hengstenberg translates: in the shadow of wisdom, at least according to our understanding of Ecclesiastes 7:11, is not likened to the shadow of silver; but in conformity with that עם, it must be said that wisdom, and also that money, affords a shadow; (2) but that interpretation goes quite beyond the limits of gnomic brachyology. We explain: for in the shadow (בּצל, like בּצּל, Jonah 4:5) is wisdom, in the shadow, money; by which, without any particularly bold poetic licence, is meant that he who possesses wisdom, he who possesses money, finds himself in a shadow, i.e., of pleasant security; to be in the shadow, spoken of wisdom and money, is equals to sit in the shadow of the persons who possess both.

12b. The exposition of this clause is agreed upon. It is to be construed according to the accentuation: and the advantage of knowledge is this, that "wisdom preserveth life to its possessors." The Targ. regards דעת החכמה as connected genit.; that might be possible (cf. Ecclesiastes 1:17; Ecclesiastes 8:16), but yet is improbable. Wherever the author uses דעת as subst., it is an independent conception placed beside חך, Ecclesiastes 1:16; Ecclesiastes 2:26, etc. We now translate, not: wisdom gives life (lxx, Jerome, Venet., Luther) to its possessors; for חיּה always means only either to revive (thus Hengst., after Psalm 119:25; cf. Psalm 71:20) or to keep in life; and this latter meaning is more appropriate to this book than the former, - thus (cf. Proverbs 3:18): wisdom preserves in life, - since, after Hitzig, it accomplishes this, not by rash utterances of denunciation, - a thought lying far behind Ecclesiastes 7:10, and altogether too mean, - but since it secures it against self-destruction by vice and passions and emotions, e.g., anger (Ecclesiastes 7:9), which consume life. The shadow in which wisdom (the wise man) sits keeps it fresh and sound, - a result which the shadow in which money (the capitalist) sits does not afford: it has frequently the directly contrary effect.

Ecclesiastes 7:17 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

not

Jeremiah 2:33,34 Why trim you your way to seek love? therefore have you also taught the wicked ones your ways...

Ezekiel 8:17 Then he said to me, Have you seen this, O son of man?...

Ezekiel 16:20 Moreover you have taken your sons and your daughters, whom you have borne to me, and these have you sacrificed to them to be devoured...

James 1:21 Why lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word...

why

Genesis 38:7-10 And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him...

1 Samuel 25:38 And it came to pass about ten days after, that the LORD smote Nabal, that he died.

Job 15:32,33 It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green...

Psalm 55:23 But you, O God, shall bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days...

Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongs days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

Acts 5:5,10 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things...

Acts 12:23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

before thy time

Cross References
2 Samuel 6:20
And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, "How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants' female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!"

Job 15:32
It will be paid in full before his time, and his branch will not be green.

Job 22:16
They were snatched away before their time; their foundation was washed away.

Psalm 55:23
But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.

Proverbs 10:27
The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.

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