Verse 1 – A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.
Verse 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 take it to heart.
Verse 3 – Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better.
Verse 4 – The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of the foot is in the house of mirth.
And I don’t agree with Solomon on any of these verses. I think laughter is like medicine to the body. It sounds like Solomon got very cynical about living, because he had too much. He had too many wives, too many houses, and too much riches. He may have been the wisest man that ever lived but he sure wasn’t happy. No one likes to be sad or depressed and if you focus on the sorrow long enough, it will make you miserable.
Verse 5 – It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for man to hear the song of fools.
Verse 6 – For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity.
Verse 7 – Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason, and a bribe debases the heart.
Those who are truly wise will not take a bribe. Bribes are given to hurt those who tell the truth and help those who oppose it.
Verse 8 – The end of a thing is better than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Whatever we set as goals or projects, we must see it through. You don’t start a ministry and then quit halfway through. On the other side, a hardship or crises, when it has run its course, we are glad. When things are complete, it is better than when it started. Patience will help us complete a thing.
Verse 9 – Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.
Verse 10 – Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.
We are not to grieve or wish for the former things. If you are a Christian, God brought you out of that old life to take you into the new. You are exactly where you are supposed to be and have what you have, because God is directing your path.
Verse 11 – Wisdom is good with an inheritance, and profitable to those who see the sun.
Verse 12 – For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense, but the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it.
Wisdom will choose Christ and that choice of following Christ will be as money is to your survival. But keep in mind; money cannot buy wisdom, nor can it buy salvation. Money is not what we seek. Only Christ can satisfy the soul.
Verse 13 – Consider the work of God; for who can make straight what He has made crooked?
Verse 14 – In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, so that man can find nothing that will happen after him.
God allows both good times and bad times in each of our lives. We tend to take credit for the good times, but put blame on another or even God when the bad times come. Sometimes, the bad times are a way for you to return back to Him, if you have drifted. Just remember this: God can turn anything in your life around that was meant for evil back around for your good. He’s a good God!
Verse 15 – I have seen all things in my days of vanity: There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness.
Verse 16 – Do not be overly righteous, nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself?
Verse 17 – Do not be overly wicked, nor be foolish: Whey should you die before your time?
Verse 18 – It is good that you grasp this, and also not remove your hand from the other; for he who fears God will escape them all.
These verses are not saying a little sinning is OK or a little wickedness is alright. This passage is about extreme zeal for religious duties that make life unbearably harsh; like fasting to the brink of death or doing damage to your body. It’s simply referring to being unreasonably demanding on yourself about moral or religious duties. Being overly rigid or narrow in your own view about things will also make you critical of others – legalism comes to mind.
Verse 19 – Wisdom strengthens the wise more than ten rulers of the city.
Verse 20 – For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.
Verse 21 – Also do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you.
Verse 22 – For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others.
We do the same thing we accuse others of doing.
Verse 23 – All this I have proved by wisdom. I said, “I will be wise”; but it was far from me.
Verse 24 – As for that which is far off and exceedingly deep, who can find it?
Verse 25 – I applied my heart to know, to search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things, to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness.
Even though Solomon was the wisest man in the world, he knew there were still mysteries that he would never understand.
Verse 26 – And I find more better than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are fetters, he who pleases God shall escape from her, but the sinner shall be taken by her.
Verse 27 – “Here is what I have found,” says the Preacher, “Adding one thing to the other to find out the reason,
Verse 28 – Which my soul still seeks but I cannot find: One man among a thousand I have found, but a woman among all these I have not found.
Solomon is not saying that women are unwise, but that hardly anyone, man or women, are upright before the Lord. Solomon found that goodness and wisdom were scarce. In other words: He only found one in a thousand people who were wise before God.
Verse 29 – Truly, this only have I found; that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.”
God made man to be upright before Him, but chose to follow his own path and his own desires.