Ecclesiastes 7:23
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
All this I tested by wisdom and I said, "I am determined to be wise"-- but this was beyond me.

New Living Translation
I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, "I am determined to be wise." But it didn't work.

English Standard Version
All this I have tested by wisdom. I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me.

New American Standard Bible
I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, "I will be wise," but it was far from me.

King James Bible
All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I have tested all this by wisdom. I resolved, "I will be wise," but it was beyond me.

International Standard Version
I used my wisdom to test all of this. I said, "I want to be wise," but it was beyond me.

NET Bible
I have examined all this by wisdom; I said, "I am determined to comprehend this"--but it was beyond my grasp.

New Heart English Bible
All this have I proved in wisdom. I said, "I will be wise;" but it was far from me.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I used wisdom to test all of this. I said, "I want to be wise, but it is out of my reach."

JPS Tanakh 1917
All this have I tried by wisdom; I said: 'I will get wisdom'; but it was far from me.

New American Standard 1977
I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me.

Jubilee Bible 2000
All this I have proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise, but it was far from me.

King James 2000 Bible
All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

American King James Version
All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

American Standard Version
All this have I proved in wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I have tried all things in wisdom. I have said: I will be wise: and it departed farther from me,

Darby Bible Translation
All this have I tried by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

English Revised Version
All this have I proved in wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

Webster's Bible Translation
All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

World English Bible
All this have I proved in wisdom. I said, "I will be wise;" but it was far from me.

Young's Literal Translation
All this I have tried by wisdom; I have said, 'I am wise,' and it is far from me.
Study Bible
Limits of Human Wisdom
22For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others. 23I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, "I will be wise," but it was far from me. 24What has been is remote and exceedingly mysterious. Who can discover it?…
Cross References
Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

Ecclesiastes 7:22
For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.

Ecclesiastes 8:17
and I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, "I know," he cannot discover.
Treasury of Scripture

All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

I said

Genesis 3:5 For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes …

1 Kings 3:11,12 And God said to him, Because you have asked this thing, and have …

1 Kings 11:1-8 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter …

Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of …

(23) The confession of failure to attain speculative knowledge gives energy to the preacher's next following enunciation of the practical lesson which he has learned from his experience.

Verses 23-29. - Section 4. Further in sight into essential wisdom was not obtain able; but Koheleth learned some other practical lessons, viz. that wickedness was folly and madness; that woman was the most evil thing in the world; that man had perverted his nature, which was made originally good. Verse 23. - All this have I proved by wisdom; i.e. wisdom was the means by which he arrived at the practical conclusions given above (vers. 1-22). Would wisdom solve deeper questions? And if so, could he ever hope to attain it? I said, I will be wise. This was his strong resolve. He desired to grow in wisdom, to use it in order to unfold mysteries and explain anomalies. Hitherto he had been content to watch the course of men's lives, and find by experience what was good and what was evil for them; now he craves for an insight into the secret laws that regulate those external circumstances: he wants a philosophy or theosophy. His desire is expressed by his imitator in the Book of Wisdom (9.), "O God of my fathers,... give me Wisdom, that sitteth by thy throne.... O send her out of thy holy heavens, and from the throne of thy glory, that being present she may labor with me." But it was far from me. It remained in the far distance, out of reach. Job's experience (28.) was his. Practical rules of life he might gain, and had mastered, but essential, absolute wisdom was beyond mortal grasp. Man's knowledge and capacity are limited. All this have I proved by wisdom,.... Referring either to all that he had been discoursing of hitherto in this book, concerning the vanity of natural wisdom and knowledge, of pleasure, power, and riches; or to the several useful instructions given in this chapter, particularly concerning patiently bearing everything from the hands of God or men, Ecclesiastes 7:8. This, by the help and use of that wisdom which God had given him, he had made trial of, and found it to be right, and therefore recommended it to others; though he acknowledges that, with all his wisdom, he was from perfection;

I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me; he determined, if possible, to attain to the perfection of wisdom, and made use of all means to come at it; that he might know all the works of God in creation, the nature, use, and excellency of them; in providence, his different dispensations towards the sons of men, and the causes of them; and in grace, the redemption and salvation of men, and the mysteries thereof; but the more he knew, the more he was convinced of his own ignorance, and seemed further off from the summit of knowledge than he was before; and plainly saw, that perfection in wisdom is not attainable in this life. The Targum restrains this to the wisdom of the law; but it is better to understand it in a more general sense. 23. All this—resuming the "all" in Ec 7:15; Ec 7:15-22 is therefore the fruit of his dearly bought experience in the days of his "vanity."

I will be wise—I tried to "be wise," independently of God. But true wisdom was then "far from him," in spite of his human wisdom, which he retained by God's gift. So "over wise" (Ec 7:16).7:23-29 Solomon, in his search into the nature and reason of things, had been miserably deluded. But he here speaks with godly sorrow. He alone who constantly aims to please God, can expect to escape; the careless sinner probably will fall to rise no more. He now discovered more than ever the evil of the great sin of which he had been guilty, the loving many strange women,
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