Ecclesiastes 7:26
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare.

New Living Translation
I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare.

English Standard Version
And I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her.

New American Standard Bible
And 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.

King James Bible
And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
And I find more bitter than death the woman who is a trap, her heart a net, and her hands chains. The one who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner will be captured by her. "

International Standard Version
I discovered for myself a bitterness that surpasses that of death: the woman whose heart is full of snares and nets, whose hands are chains of bondage. Whoever pleases God will escape from her, but the transgressor will be trapped by her.

NET Bible
I discovered this: More bitter than death is the kind of woman who is like a hunter's snare; her heart is like a hunter's net and her hands are like prison chains. The man who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is captured by her.

New Heart English Bible
I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and traps, whose hands are chains. Whoever pleases God shall escape from her; but the sinner will be ensnared by her.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I find that a woman whose thoughts are [like] traps and snares is more bitter than death itself. Even her hands are [like] chains. Whoever pleases God will escape her, but she will catch whoever continues to sin.

JPS Tanakh 1917
and I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands; whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

New American Standard 1977
And 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.

Jubilee Bible 2000
and I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands are bonds; whosoever pleases God shall escape from her, but the sinner shall be held prisoner in her.

King James 2000 Bible
And I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands are fetters: whosoever pleases God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

American King James Version
And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoever pleases God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

American Standard Version
And I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I have found a woman more bitter than death, who is the hunter's snare, and her heart is a net, and her hands are bands. He that pleaseth God shall escape from her: but he that is a sinner, shall be caught by her.

Darby Bible Translation
and I found more bitter than death the woman whose heart is nets and snares, [and] whose hands are bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be caught by her.

English Revised Version
And I find a thing more bitter than death, even the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

Webster's Bible Translation
And I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoever pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

World English Bible
I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and traps, whose hands are chains. Whoever pleases God shall escape from her; but the sinner will be ensnared by her.

Young's Literal Translation
And I am finding more bitter than death, the woman whose heart is nets and snares, her hands are bands; the good before God escapeth from her, but the sinner is captured by her.
Study Bible
Limits of Human Wisdom
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. 27"Behold, I have discovered this," says the Preacher, "adding one thing to another to find an explanation,…
Cross References
Exodus 10:7
Pharaoh's servants said to him, "How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not realize that Egypt is destroyed?"

Proverbs 2:19
None who go to her return again, Nor do they reach the paths of life.

Proverbs 5:4
But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword.

Proverbs 6:23
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life

Proverbs 6:24
To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.

Proverbs 7:23
Until an arrow pierces through his liver; As a bird hastens to the snare, So he does not know that it will cost him his life.

Proverbs 22:14
The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; He who is cursed of the LORD will fall into it.

Proverbs 23:28
Surely she lurks as a robber, And increases the faithless among men.

Ecclesiastes 7:27
"Behold, I have discovered this," says the Preacher, "adding one thing to another to find an explanation,
Treasury of Scripture

And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoever pleases God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

I find

Judges 16:18-21 And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent …

Proverbs 2:18,19 For her house inclines to death, and her paths to the dead…

Proverbs 5:3-5 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth …

Proverbs 7:21-27 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering …

Proverbs 9:18 But he knows not that the dead are there; and that her guests are …

Proverbs 22:14 The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of …

Proverbs 23:27,28 For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit…

whoso pleaseth God

Ecclesiastes 2:26 For God gives to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, …

-26Ecclesiasticus 9:3; Ecclesiasticus 26:23.

Snares.--See Ecclesiastes 9:12; used for siege works, Ecclesiastes 9:14.

Nets.--Habakkuk 1:15; Ezekiel 26:5.

Bands.--Judges 15:14.

Verse 26. - One practical result of his quest Koheleth cannot avoid mentioning, though it comes with a suddenness which is somewhat startling. And I find more bitter than death the woman. Tracing men's folly and madness to their source, he finds that they arise generally from the seductions of the female sex. Beginning with Adam, woman has continued to work mischief in the world. "Of the woman came the beginning of sin," says Siracides, "and through her we all die" (Ecclus. 25:24); it was owing to her that the punishment of death was inflicted on the human race. If Solomon himself were speaking, he had indeed a bitter experience of the sin and misery into which women lead their victims (see 1 Kings 11:1, 4, 11). It may be thought that Koheleth refers here especially to "the strange woman" of Proverbs 2:16, etc.; Proverbs 5:3, etc.; but in ver. 28 he speaks of the whole sex without qualification; so that we must conclude that he had a very low opinion of them. It is no ideal personage whom he is introducing; it is not a personification of vice or folly; but woman in her totality, such as he knew her to be in Oriental courts and homes, denied her proper position, degraded, uneducated, all natural affections crushed or undeveloped, the plaything of her lord, to be flung aside at any moment. It is not surprising that Koheleth's impression of the female sex should be unfavorable. He is not singular in such an opinion. One might fill a large page with proverbs and gnomes uttered in disparagement of woman by men of all ages and countries. Men, having the making of such apothegms, have used their license unmercifully; if the maligned sex had equal liberty, the tables might have been reversed. But, really, in this as in other cases the mean is the safest; and practically those who have given the darkest picture of women have not been slow to recognize the brighter side. If. for instance, the Book of Proverbs paints the adulteress and the harlot in the soberest, most appalling colors, the same book affords us such a sketch of the virtuous matron as is unequalled for vigor, truth, and high appreciation. And if, as in our present chapter, Koheleth shows a bitter feeling against the evil side of woman's nature, he knows how to value the comfort of married life (Ecclesiastes 4:8), and to look upon a good wife as one who makes a man's home happy (Ecclesiastes 9:9). Since the incarnation of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, "the Seed of the woman," we have learned to regard woman in her true light, and to assign her that position to which she is entitled, giving honor unto her as the weaker vessel, and, at the same time, heir with us of the glorious hope and destiny of our renewed nature (1 Peter 3:7). Whose heart is snares and nets; more accurately, who is snares, and nets in her heart; Septuagint, "The woman who is a snare, and her heart nets;" Vulgate, Quae laqueus venatorum est, et sagena cot ejus. The imagery is obvious (comp. Proverbs 5:4, 22: 7:22; 22:14; Habakkuk 1:15); the thoughts of the evil woman's heart are nets, occupied in meditating how she may entrap and retain victims; and her outward look and words are snares that captivate the foolish, Μὴ ὑπάντα γυναικὶ ἑταιριζομένη, says the Son of Sirach, "Lest thou fall 'into her snares" (Ecclus. 9:3). Plautus, 'Asin.,' 1:3. 67 -

"Auceps sum ego;
Esca est meretrix; lectus illex est; amatores aves.

"The fowler I;
My bait the courtesan; her bed the lure;
The birds the lovers."
So ancient critics, stronger m morals than in etymology, derive Venus from venari, "to hunt," and mulier Item mollire, "to soften," or malleus, "a hammer," because the devil uses women to mould and fashion men to his will. And her hands as bands, Asurim, "bands" or "fetters," is found in Judges 15:14, where it is used of the chains with which the men of Judah bound Samson; it refers here to the wicked woman's voluptuous embraces. Whoso pleaseth God (more literally, he who is good before God) shall escape from her. He whom God regards as good (Ecclesiastes 2:26, where see note) shall have grace to avoid these seductions. But the sinner shall be taken by her; בָּהּ, "in her," in the snare which is herself. In some manuscripts of Ecclesiasticus (26:23) are these words; "A wicked woman is given as a portion to a wicked man; but a godly woman is given to him that feareth the Lord." And I find more bitter than death the woman,.... This was the issue of his diligent studies and researches, and the observations he had made; this was what he found by sad and woeful experience, and which he chose to take particular notice of; that he might not only expose this vanity among others, and caution men against it, even the love of women, which at best is a bitter sweet, as the poet (k) calls it, though here adulterous love is meant; but having this opportunity, might express his sincere repentance for this folly of his life, than which nothing had been more bitter to him, in the reflection of his mind upon it: death is a bitter thing, and terrible to nature, 1 Samuel 15:32; but to be ensnared by an adulterous woman is worse than that; it brings not only such diseases of body as are both painful and scandalous, but such horrors into the conscience, when awakened, as are intolerable, and exposes to eternal death; see Proverbs 5:3. By "the woman" is not meant the sex in general, which was far from Solomon's intention to reflect upon and reproach; nor any woman in particular, not Eve, the first woman, through whom came sin and death into the world; but an adulterous woman: see Proverbs 5:4. Some interpret this of original sin, or the corruption of nature, evil concupiscence, which draws men into sin, and holds them in it, the consequence of which is death eternal; but such who find favour in the eyes of God are delivered from the power and dominion of it; but obstinate and impenitent sinners are held under it, and perish eternally. Jarchi, by the woman, understands heresy; and so Jerom and others interpret it of heretics and idolaters: it may very well be applied to that Jezebel, the whore of Rome, the mother of harlots, that deceives men, and leads them into perdition with herself, Revelation 17:4; and who is intended by the harlot, and foolish and strange woman, in the book of Proverbs, as has been observed;

whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands; all the schemes and contrivances of a harlot are to ensnare men by her wanton looks and lascivious gestures; which are like snares laid for the beasts, and likeness spread for fishes, to take them in; and when she has got them, she holds them fast; it is a very difficult thing and a very rare one, ever to get out of her hands; so Plautus (l) makes mention of the nets of harlots: the same holds true of error and heresy, and of idolatry, which is spiritual adultery; the words used being in the plural number, shows the many ways the adulterous woman has to ensnare men, and the multitudes that are taken by her; see Revelation 13:3;

whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her: or, "who is good before God", or "in his sight" (m); See Gill on Ecclesiastes 2:26; to whom he gives his grace and is acceptable to him; such an one as Joseph was shall escape the snares and nets, the hands and bands, of such a woman; or if fallen into them, as Solomon fell, shall be delivered out of them, as it is observed by various interpreters: nothing but the grace of God, the true fear of God, the power of godliness and undefiled religion, can preserve a person from being ensnared and held by an impure woman; not a liberal nor religious education, not learning and good sense, nor any thing else; if a man is kept out of the hands of such creatures, he ought to esteem it a mercy, and ascribe it to the grace and goodness of God;

but the sinner shall be taken by her; a hardened and impenitent sinner, that is destitute of the grace and fear of God; who is habitually a sinner, and gives up himself to commit iniquity; whose life is a continued series of sinning; who has no guard upon himself, but rushes into sin, as the horse into the battle; he becomes an easy prey to a harlot; he falls into her snares, and is caught and held by her; see Proverbs 22:14.

(k) Musaeus, v. 166. Vid. Barthii ad Claudian. de Nupt. Honor. v. 70. (l) Epidicus, Acts 2. Sc. 2. v. 32. "Illecebrosius nihil fieri potest", ib. Bacchides, Sc. 1. v. 55. Truculentus, Acts 1. Sc. 1. v. 14-21. (m) "bonus coram Deo", Pagninus, Mercerus, Drusius, Amama, Rambachius; "qui bonus videtur coram Deo ipso", Junius & Tremellius. 26. "I find" that, of all my sinful follies, none has been so ruinous a snare in seducing me from God as idolatrous women (1Ki 11:3, 4; Pr 5:3, 4; 22:14). As "God's favor is better than life," she who seduces from God is "more bitter than death."

whoso pleaseth God—as Joseph (Ge 39:2, 3, 9). It is God's grace alone that keeps any from falling.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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