|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:11-22 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, yea better. It shelters from the storms and scorching heat of trouble. Wealth will not lengthen out the natural life; but true wisdom will give spiritual life, and strengthen men for services under their sufferings. Let us look upon the disposal of our condition as the work of God, and at last all will appear to have been for the best. In acts of righteousness, be not carried into heats or passions, no, not by a zeal for God. Be not conceited of thine own abilities; nor find fault with every thing, nor busy thyself in other men's matters. Many who will not be wrought upon by the fear of God, and the dread of hell, will avoid sins which ruin their health and estate, and expose to public justice. But those that truly fear God, have but one end to serve, therefore act steadily. If we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves. Every true believer is ready to say, God be merciful to me a sinner. Forget not at the same time, that personal righteousness, walking in newness of life, is the only real evidence of an interest by faith in the righteousness of the Redeemer. Wisdom teaches us not to be quick in resenting affronts. Be not desirous to know what people say; if they speak well of thee, it will feed thy pride, if ill, it will stir up thy passion. See that thou approve thyself to God and thine own conscience, and then heed not what men say of thee; it is easier to pass by twenty affronts than to avenge one. When any harm is done to us, examine whether we have not done as bad to others.
Verse 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 -
Μακάριος ὅστις οὐσίαν καὶ νοῦν ἕχει
Ξρῆται γὰρ οῦτος εἰς α} 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" (camp. 1 Samuel 17:42, "ruddy, and (ira) of a fair countenance"). "Wisdom is good, and an inheritance is good; 'both are good, but the advantages of the former, as ver. 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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wisdom is good with an inheritance,.... It is good of itself. Or, "is as good as an inheritance" (n), as it may be rendered; it is a portion of itself, especially spiritual and divine wisdom. The Targum interprets it, the wisdom of the law, or the knowledge of that; but much more excellent is the wisdom of the Gospel, the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom; the knowledge of which, in an experimental way, is preferable to all earthly inheritances: but this with an inheritance is good, yea, better than without one; for wisdom, without riches, is generally overlooked and despised in men; see Ecclesiastes 9:16; when wealth, with wisdom, makes a man regarded; this commands respect and attention; as well as he is in a better condition to do good, if willing to share, and ready to distribute;
and by it there is profit to them that see the sun; mortals in this present state, who are described as such that see the sun rise and set, and enjoy the heat and light of it, receive much advantage from men who are both wise and rich: or, "and it is an excellency to them that see the sun"; it is an excellency to mortals and what gives them superiority to others, that they have both wisdom and riches.
(n) "aeque ac haereditas", Gejerus, Schmidt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. Rather, "Wisdom, as compared with an inheritance, is good," that is, is as good as an inheritance; "yea, better (literally, and a profit) to them that see the sun" (that is, the living, Ec 11:7; Job 3:16; Ps 49:19).
Ecclesiastes 7:11 Parallel Commentaries
Ecclesiastes 7:11 NIV
Ecclesiastes 7:11 NLT
Ecclesiastes 7:11 ESV
Ecclesiastes 7:11 NASB
Ecclesiastes 7:11 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible