Ecclesiastes 7:25
Parallel Verses
New International Version
So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.

New Living Translation
I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness.

English Standard Version
I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness.

New American Standard Bible
I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness.

King James Bible
I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I turned my thoughts to know, explore, and seek wisdom and an explanation for things, and to know that wickedness is stupidity and folly is madness.

International Standard Version
I committed myself to understand, to learn, to search for wisdom and explanations, and to understand both the evil that is foolishness and the stupidity that is delusion.

NET Bible
I tried to understand, examine, and comprehend the role of wisdom in the scheme of things, and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the insanity of folly.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I turned my attention to study, to explore, and to seek out wisdom and the reason for things. I learned that wickedness is stupid and foolishness is madness.

Jubilee Bible 2000
I applied my heart to know and to search and to seek out wisdom and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the madness of error;

King James 2000 Bible
I applied my heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:

American King James Version
I applied my heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:

American Standard Version
I turned about, and my heart was set to know and to search out, and to seek wisdom and the reason of things , and to know that wickedness is folly, and that foolishness is madness.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I have surveyed all things with my mind, to know, and consider, and seek out wisdom and reason: and to know the wickedness of the fool, and the error of the imprudent:

Darby Bible Translation
I turned, I and my heart, to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom and reason, and to know wickedness to be folly, and foolishness to be madness;

English Revised Version
I turned about, and my heart was set to know and to search out, and to seek wisdom and the reason of things, and to know that wickedness is folly, and that foolishness is madness:

Webster's Bible Translation
I applied my heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:

World English Bible
I turned around, and my heart sought to know and to search out, and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know that wickedness is stupidity, and that foolishness is madness.

Young's Literal Translation
I have turned round, also my heart, to know and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and reason, and to know the wrong of folly, and of foolishness the madness.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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,

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 25. - I applied mine heart to know; more literally, I turned myself, and my heart was [set] to know. We have the expression, "tamed myself," referring to a new investigation in Ecclesiastes 2:20 and elsewhere; but the distinguishing the heart or soul from the man himself is not common in Scripture (see on ch. 11:9), though the soul is sometimes apostrophized, as in Luke 12:19 (comp. Psalm 103:1; Psalm 146:1). The writer here implies that he gave up himself with all earnestness to the investigation. Unsatisfactory as his quest had been hitherto. He did not relinquish the pursuit, but rather turned it in another direction, where he could hope to meet with useful results. The Septuagint has, "I and my heart traveled round (ἐκύκλωσα) to know;" the Vulgate, Lustravi universa animo meo ut scirem. And to search, and to seek out wisdom. The accumulation of synonymous verbs is meant to emphasize the author's devotion to his self-imposed task and his return from profitless theoretical investigation to practical inquiry. And the reason of things. Cheshbon (ver. 27; Ecclesiastes 9:10) is rather "account," "reckoning," than "reason " - the summing-up of all the facts and circumstances rather than the elucidation of their causes. Vulgate, rationem; Septuagint, ψῆφον. The next clause ought to be rendered, And to know wickedness as (or, to be) folly, and foolishness as (to be) madness. His investigation led him to this conclusion, that all infringement of God's laws is a misjudging aberration - a willful desertion of the requirements of right reason - and that mental and moral obtuseness is a physical malady which may be called madness (comp. Ecclesiastes 1:17; Ecclesiastes 2:12; Ecclesiastes 10:13).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom,.... Or, "I and my heart turned about" (h); took a circuit, a tour throughout the whole compass of things; looked into every corner, and went through the circle of knowledge, in order to search and find out what true wisdom is; which is no other than Christ, and a spiritual knowledge of him; a variety of words is used to express his eager desire after wisdom, and the diligent search he made, from which he was not discouraged by the difficulties he met with; see Ecclesiastes 1:13;

and the reason of things; either in nature or providence: or the estimation (i) of them; the excellency of them, how much they are to be accounted of, esteemed, and valued; as Christ, the Wisdom of God, and all things relating to him, should;

and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness; the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the folly and madness that are in it; sin is the effect of folly, and the excess of it, and a spiritual madness; it is true of all sin in general, but especially of the sin of uncleanness, which Solomon seems to have in view by what follows; see Ecclesiastes 1:17; and may chiefly intend the wickedness of his own folly, and the foolishness of his own madness.

(h) "circuivi ego et cor meum", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus. (i) "estimationem rerum", Mercerus.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

25. Literally, "I turned myself and mine heart to." A phrase peculiar to Ecclesiastes, and appropriate to the penitent turning back to commune with his heart on his past life.

wickedness of folly—He is now a step further on the path of penitence than in Ec 1:17; 2:12, where "folly" is put without "wickedness" prefixed.

reason—rather, "the right estimation" of things. Holden translates also "foolishness (that is, sinful folly, answering to 'wickedness' in the parallel) of madness" (that is, of man's mad pursuits).

Ecclesiastes 7:25 Additional Commentaries
Context
Limits of Human Wisdom
24What has been is remote and exceedingly mysterious. Who can discover it? 25I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. 26And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.…
Cross References
Ecclesiastes 1:13
I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind!

Ecclesiastes 1:15
What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted.

Ecclesiastes 1:17
Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:3
I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly--my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

Ecclesiastes 10:13
At the beginning their words are folly; at the end they are wicked madness--
Treasury of Scripture

I applied my heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:

I applied mine heart

Ecclesiastes 1:13-17 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all …

Ecclesiastes 2:1-3,12,20 I said in my heart, Go to now, I will prove you with mirth, therefore …

the reason

Ecclesiastes 7:27 Behold, this have I found, said the preacher, counting one by one, …

Ecclesiastes 2:15 Then said I in my heart, As it happens to the fool, so it happens …

Ecclesiastes 3:16,17 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness …

Ecclesiastes 9:1,2 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that …

Jeremiah 12:1,2 Righteous are you, O LORD, when I plead with you: yet let me talk …

2 Peter 2:3-9 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise …

2 Peter 3:3-9 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, …

know

Ecclesiastes 9:3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that …

Ecclesiastes 10:13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end …

Genesis 34:7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and …

Joshua 7:13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to …

2 Samuel 13:12 And she answered him, No, my brother, do not force me; for no such …

Proverbs 17:12 Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.

Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.

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