|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:1-6 Reputation for piety and honesty is more desirable than all the wealth and pleasure in this world. It will do more good to go to a funeral than to a feast. We may lawfully go to both, as there is occasion; our Saviour both feasted at the wedding of his friend in Cana, and wept at the grave of his friend in Bethany. But, considering how apt we are to be vain and indulge the flesh, it is best to go to the house of mourning, to learn the end of man as to this world. Seriousness is better than mirth and jollity. That is best for us which is best for our souls, though it be unpleasing to sense. It is better to have our corruptions mortified by the rebuke of the wise, than to have them gratified by the song of fools. The laughter of a fool is soon gone, the end of his mirth is heaviness.
Verse 5. - It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise. Gearah, "rebuke," is the word used in Proverbs for the grave admonition which heals and strengthens while it wounds (see Proverbs 13:1; Proverbs 17:10). The silent lessons which a man learns from the contemplation of others' sorrow are rightly supplemented by the salutary correction of the wise man's tongue. Than for a man to hear the song of fools. Shir, "song," is a general term used of sacred or profane song; the connection here with the second clause of ver. 4, etc., leads one to think of the hoister-cue, reckless, often immodest, singing heard in the house of revelry, such as Amos (Amos 6:5) calls "idle songs to the sound of the viol" Koheleth might have heard these in his own country, without drawing his experience from the license of Greek practice or the impurity of Greek lyrics. The Vulgate renders the clause, Quum stultorum adulatione decipi, Than to be deceived by the flattery of tools." This is a paraphrase; the correctness is negatived by the explanation given in the following verse.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise,.... To listen to it diligently, receive it cordially, and act according to it; though it may be disagreeable to the flesh, and give present pain, yet the effect and issue will be good, and show that man to be wise that hears it, as well as he that gives it; see Psalm 141:1;
than for a man to hear the song of fools; the vain and impure songs that foolish men sing in the house of mirth; or the flatteries of foolish men, which tickle and please the mind, as music and songs do: or, "than a man that hears the song of fools" (i), and is pleased with it.
(i) "quam vir audiens canticum stultorum", Montanus, Mercerus; "prae viro audiente canticum stultorum", Rambachius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. (Ps 141:4, 5). Godly reproof offends the flesh, but benefits the spirit. Fools' songs in the house of mirth please the flesh, but injure the soul.
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