The Pulpit Commentary

Ecclesiastes 7:8-14 (Ecclesiastes 7:8-14)

Section 2. Here follow some recommendations to patience and resignation under the ordering of God's providence. Such conduct is shown to be true wisdom.

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Ecclesiastes 7:11 (Ecclesiastes 7:11)

Such hasty judgment is incompatible with true wisdom and sagacity. Wisdom is good with an inheritance ; Septuagint, ἀγαθὴ σοφία μετὰ κληρονομίας . Vulgate, Utilior eat sapientia cam divitiis . The sentence thus rendered seems to mean that wealth lends a prestige to wisdom, that the man is happy who possesses both. The inheritance spoken of is an hereditary one; the man who is "rich with ancestral wealth" is enabled to employ his wisdom to good purpose, his position adding weight to his words and actions, and relieving him from the low pursuit of money-making. To this effect Wright quotes Menander—

΄ακάριος ὅστις οὐσίαν καὶ νοῦν ἕχει

χρῆται γὰρ οὗτος εἰς ἂ δεῖ ταύτῃ καλῶς .

"Blest is the man who wealth and wisdom hath,

For he can use his riches as he ought."

(Comp. Proverbs 14:24 .) Many commentators, thinking such a sentiment alien front the context, render the particle עִם not "with," but "as" Wisdom is [as] good as an inheritance" (see on Ecclesiastes 2:16 ). This is putting wisdom on rather a low platform, and one would have expected to read some such aphorism as "Wisdom is better than rubies" ( Proverbs 8:11 ), if Koheleth had intended to make any such comparison. It appears then most expedient to take im in the sense of "moreover," "as well as," "and" of a fair countenance"). "Wisdom is good, and an inheritance is good; 'both are good, but the advantages of the former, as 1 Samuel 17:12 intimates, far outweigh those of the latter. And by it there is profit to them that see the sun ; rather, and an advantage for those that see the , sun . However useful wealth may be, wisdom is that which is really beneficial to all who live and rejoice in the light of day. In Homer the phrase, ὁρᾶν φάος ἠελίοιο , "to see the light of the sun" ('Iliad,' 18.61), signifies merely "to live;" Plumptre considers it to be used here and in Ecclesiastes 19:7 in order to convey the thought that, after all, life has its bright side. Cox would take it to mean to live much in the sun, i . e . to lead an active life—which is an imported modern notion.

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