Ecclesiastes 7:12
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it.

New Living Translation
Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.

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.

New American Standard Bible
For wisdom is protection just as money is protection, But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.

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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
because wisdom is protection as money is protection, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of its owner.

International Standard Version
Indeed, wisdom gives protection, just like money does, but it's better to know that wisdom gives life, to those who have mastered it.

NET Bible
For wisdom provides protection, just as money provides protection. But the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves the life of its owner.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Wisdom protects us just as money protects us, but the advantage of wisdom is that it gives life to those who have it.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For knowledge is a defence, and money is a defence; but wisdom excels in that it gives life to those that have it.

King James 2000 Bible
For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellence of knowledge is, that wisdom gives life to them that have it.

American King James Version
For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom gives 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.

Darby Bible Translation
For wisdom is a defence [as] money is a defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, [that] wisdom maketh them that possess it to live.

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.

World English Bible
For wisdom is a defense, even as money is a defense; but the excellency of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.

Young's Literal Translation
For wisdom is a defense, money is a defence, And the advantage of the knowledge of wisdom is, She reviveth her possessors.
Parallel Commentaries
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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 12. - For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense; literally, in the shade is wisdom, in the shade is money; Septuagint, Ὅτι ἐν σκιᾷ αὐτῆς ἡ σοφία ὡς σκιὰ ἀργυρίου, "For in its shadow wisdom is as the shadow of money." Symmachus has, Σκέπει σοφία ὡς σκέπει τὸ ἀργύριον, "Wisdom shelters as money shelters." The Vulgate explains the obscure text by paraphrasing, Sieur enirn protegit sapientia, sic protegit petunia. Shadow, in Oriental phrase, is equivalent to protection (see Numbers 14:9; Psalm 17:5; Lamentations 4:20). Wisdom as well as money is a shield and defense to men. As it is said in one passage (Proverbs 13:8) that riches are the ransom of a man's life, so in another (Ecclesiastes 9:15) we are told how wisdom delivered a city from destruction. The literal translation given above implies that he who has wisdom and he who has money rest under a safe protection, are secure from material evil. In this respect they are alike, and have analogous claims to man's regard. But the excellency - profit, or advantage - of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it. "Knowledge" (daath) and "wisdom" (chokmah) are practically here identical, the terms being varied for the sake of poetic parallelism. The Revised Version, following Delitzsch and others, renders, Wisdom preserveth the life of him that hath it; i.e. secures him from passions and excesses which tend to shorten life. This seems to be scarcely an adequate ground for the noteworthy advantage which wisdom is said to possess. The Septuagint gives, Καὶ περίσσεια γνώσεως τῆς σοφίας ζωοποιήσει τόν παρ αὐτῆς "And the excellence of the knowledge of wisdom will quicken him that hath it." Something more than the mere animal life is signified, a climax to the "defense" mentioned in the preceding clause - the higher, spiritual life which man has from God. Wisdom in the highest sense, that is, practical piety and religion, is "a tree of life to them that lay hold of her, and happy is every one that retaineth her" (Proverbs 3:18), where it is implied that wisdom restores to man the gift which he lost at the Fall (camp. also Proverbs 8:35). The Septuagint expression ζωοποιήσει recalls the words of Christ, "As the Father raiseth the dead and quickeneth (ζωοποιεῖ) them, even so the Son also quickeneth whom he will;" "It is the Spirit that quickeneth (τὸ ζωοποιοῦν)" (John 5:21; John 6:63). Koheleth attributes that power to wisdom which the more definite teaching of Christianity assigns to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Some would explain, "fortifies or vivifies the heart," i.e. imparts new life and strength to meet every fortune. The Vulgate rendering is far astray from the text, and does not accurately convey the sense of the passage, running thus: Hoe autem plus habet eruditio et sapientia: quod vitam tribuunt possessori sue, "But this more have learning and wisdom, that they give life to the possessor of them."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence,.... Or, a "shadow" of refreshment and protection, under which men sit with pleasure and safety; a man by his wisdom, and so by his money, is able to defend himself against the injuries and oppressions of others, and especially when both meet in one and the same man. Jarchi renders and interprets it,

"he that is in the shadow of wisdom is in the shadow of money, for wisdom is the cause why riches come;''

and so the Targum,

"as a man is hid in the shadow of wisdom, so he is hid in the shadow of money, when he does alms with it;''

compare with this Luke 16:9; see Ecclesiastes 7:19. Theognis (o) has a saying much like this,

"riches and wisdom are always inexpugnable to mortals;''

but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it; or, "the excellency of the knowledge of wisdom giveth life" (p), &c. not of natural wisdom, or the knowledge of natural and civil things, the vanity of this is exposed, before by the wise man; but the knowledge of God in Christ; the knowledge of Christ, who is the Wisdom of God; and of the Gospel, and of all divine and spiritual things: this is a superior excellency to riches, which often expose a man's life to danger, cannot preserve him from a corporeal death, much less from an eternal one. When this is the excellency of spiritual knowledge, that spiritual life goes along with it; such as are spiritually enlightened are spiritually quickened; live by faith on Christ, whom they know; and, through the knowledge of him, have all things pertaining to life and godliness, and have both a right and meetness for eternal life; yea, this knowledge is life eternal, John 17:3; see 2 Peter 1:3; and this is the pure gift of Wisdom, or of Christ, and not owing to the merit of men, or works done in obedience to the law, which cannot give this life; see John 17:2, Romans 6:23.

(o) Sententiae, v. 1153. (p) "et praestantia scientiae sapientiae vivificabit", Montanus.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

12. Literally, (To be) in (that is, under) the shadow (Isa 30:2) of wisdom (is the same as to be) in (under) the shadow of money; wisdom no less shields one from the ills of life than money does.

is, that—rather, "the excellency of the knowledge of wisdom giveth life," that is, life in the highest sense, here and hereafter (Pr 3:18; Joh 17:3; 2Pe 1:3). Wisdom (religion) cannot be lost as money can. It shields one in adversity, as well as prosperity; money, only in prosperity. The question in Ec 7:10 implies a want of it.

Ecclesiastes 7:12 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Value of Wisdom
11Wisdom along with an inheritance is good And an advantage to those who see the sun. 12For wisdom is protection just as money is protection, But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors. 13Consider the work of God, For who is able to straighten what He has bent?…
Cross References
Proverbs 3:18
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.

Proverbs 8:35
For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD.

Ecclesiastes 2:13
I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness.

Ecclesiastes 7:19
Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city.

Ecclesiastes 9:16
So I said, "Wisdom is better than strength." But the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.

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

Ecclesiastes 10:19
A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry, and money is the answer for everything.
Treasury of Scripture

For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom gives life to them that have it.

wisdom

Job 1:10 Have not you made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about …

Job 22:21-15 Acquaint now yourself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall …

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

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, …

Isaiah 33:6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of your times, and …

a defence

Judges 9:15 And the bramble said to the trees, If in truth you anoint me king …

Psalm 57:1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me: for my soul trusts in …

Isaiah 30:2 That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; …

Isaiah 32:2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert …

the excellency

Deuteronomy 30:19,20 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have …

Deuteronomy 32:47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and …

Proverbs 3:18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her: and happy is …

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 …

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 …

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true …

Philippians 3:8 Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency …

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