New International Version
Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you--
New Living Translation
Don't eavesdrop on others--you may hear your servant curse you.
English Standard Version
Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you.
New American Standard Bible
Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you.
King James Bible
Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Don't pay attention to everything people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you,
International Standard Version
Don't listen to everything that is spoken— you may hear your servant cursing you,
Also, do not pay attention to everything that people say; otherwise, you might even hear your servant cursing you.
GOD'S WORD® Translation
Don't take everything that people say to heart, or you may hear your own servant cursing you.
Jubilee Bible 2000
Also do not take to heart all the words that are spoken lest thou hear thy slave speak evil of thee:
King James 2000 Bible
Also take not to heart all words that are spoken; lest you hear your servant curse you:
American King James Version
Also take no heed to all words that are spoken; lest you hear your servant curse you:
American Standard Version
Also take not heed unto all words that are spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee;
But do not apply thy heart to all words that are spoken: lest perhaps thou hear thy servant reviling thee.
Darby Bible Translation
Also give not heed unto all words that are spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee.
English Revised Version
Also take not heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
Webster's Bible Translation
Also take no heed to all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
World English Bible
Also don't take heed to all words that are spoken, lest you hear your servant curse you;
Young's Literal Translation
Also to all the words that they speak give not thy heart, that thou hear not thy servant reviling thee.
Parallel CommentariesMatthew 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 21. - Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; literally, give not thy heart, as Ecclesiastes 1:13, etc. Here is another matter in which wisdom will lead to right conduct. You will not pay serious attention to evil reports either about yourself or others, nor regulate your views and actions according to such distortions of the truth. To be always hankering to know what people say of us is to set up a false standard, which will assuredly lead us astray; and, at the same time, we shall expose ourselves to the keen-eat mortification when we find, as we probably shall find, that they do not take us at our own valuation, but have thoroughly marked our weaknesses, and are ready enough to censure them. We have an instance of patience under unmerited reproof in the case of David when cursed by Shimei (2 Samuel 16:11), as he, or one like minded, says (Psalm 38:13), "I, as a deaf man, hear not; and I am as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. Yea, I am as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs." Corn. a Lapide comments in words to which no translation would do justice, "Verbaenim non aunt verbera; aerem feriunt non hominem, nisi qui its attendit mordetur, sauciatur." Lest thou hear thy servant curse thee. The servant is introduced as an example of a gossip or calumniator, because he, if any one, would be acquainted with his master's faults, and be most likely to disseminate his knowledge, and blame from such a quarter would be most intolerable. Commentators appositely quote Bacon's remarks on this passage in his 'Advancement of Learning,' 8:2, where he notes the prudence of Pompey, who burned all the papers of Sertorius reread, containing, as they did, information which would fatally have compromised many leading men in Rome.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken,.... Seeing so it is, that imperfection attends the best of men, no man is wise at all times, foolish words and unguarded expressions will sometimes drop from him, which it is better to take no notice of; they should not be strictly attended to, and closely examined, since they will not bear it. A man should not listen to everything that is said of himself or others; he should not curiously inquire what men say of him; and what he himself hears he should take no notice of; it is often best to let it pass, and not call it over again; to feign the hearing of a thing, or make as if you did not hear it; for oftentimes, by rehearsing a matter, or taking up words spoken, a deal of trouble and mischief follows; a man should not "give his heart" (f) to it, as it is in the Hebrew text; he should not give his mind to what is said of him, but be careless and indifferent about it; much less should he lay it up in his mind, and meditate revenge for it. The Targum, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, restrain it to words spoken by wicked men, whose tongues are their own, and will say what they please; among these may be ranked, more especially, detractors, whisperers, backbiters, and talebearers, who should not be listened unto and encouraged; though there is no necessity of thus limiting the sense, which is more general, and may include what is said by any man, even good men, since they have their infirmities; it seems chiefly to have respect to defamatory words, by what follows;
lest thou hear thy servant curse thee; speak slightly, scoffingly, and reproachfully of thee, as Shimei of David; which must be very disagreeable and vexatious to hear from one so mean and abject, and who is dependent on him, earns his bread of him, and gets his livelihood in his service; and to whom, perhaps, he has been kind, and so is guilty of base ingratitude, which aggravates the more; or, if not, if what he says is just, to hear it must give great uneasiness.
(f) "ne des tuum cor", Montanus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. As therefore thou being far from perfectly "just" thyself, hast much to be forgiven by God, do not take too strict account, as the self-righteous do (Ec 7:16; Lu 18:9, 11), and thereby shorten their lives (Ec 7:15, 16), of words spoken against thee by others, for example, thy servant: Thou art their "fellow servant" before God (Mt 18:32-35).
Ecclesiastes 7:21 Additional Commentaries
Limits of Human Wisdom
…20Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. 21Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you. 22For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.…
"Do not slander a servant to their master, or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.
for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.
Treasury of Scripture
Also take no heed to all words that are spoken; lest you hear your servant curse you:
take no heed
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OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 7:21 Also don't take heed to all words (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools