Ecclesiastes 7:27
Behold, this have I found, said the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:
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Ecclesiastes 7:27-28. Behold, saith the preacher — Or, the penitent, who speaks what he hath learned, both by deep study and costly experience; this have I found — And it is a strange thing, and worthy of your serious observation; counting one by one — Considering things or persons, very exactly and distinctly, one after another; to find out the account — That I might make a true and just estimate in this matter; or, as it is in the margin, to find out the reason. Which yet my soul seeketh — It seems so wonderful to me, that I suspected that I had not made a sufficient inquiry, and therefore I returned and searched again, with more earnestness; but I find not — That it was so he found, but the reason of the thing he could not find out. One man — A wise and virtuous man; among a thousand — With whom I have conversed; have I found — He is supposed to mention this number in allusion to his thousand wives and concubines, as they are numbered, 1 Kings 11:3; but a woman — One worthy of that name, one who is not a dishonour to her sex; among all those, have I not found — In that thousand whom I have taken into intimate society with myself. It is justly observed by different commentators here, that “we are not hence to infer, that Solomon thought there were fewer good women than men: but that he knew he had not gone the right way to find the virtuous woman, when he deviated so widely from the original law of marriage; and instead of seeking one rational companion, the sole object of his endeared affections, he had collected a vast multitude for magnificence and indulgence. The more valuable part of the sex would not willingly form one in such a group; and, if any of them were previously well disposed, the jealousies, party interests, contests, and artifices which take place in such situations, would tend exceedingly to corrupt them, and render them all nearly of the same character. Solomon therefore here speaks the language of a penitent, warning others against the sins into which he had been betrayed; and not that of a waspish satirist, lashing indiscriminately one half of the human species.” — Scott.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,Compare the account of Solomon's wives 1 Kings 11:1-8 : see also Proverbs 2:16-19; Proverbs 5:3... 27. this—namely, what follows in Ec 7:28.

counting one by one—by comparing one thing with another [Holden and Maurer].

account—a right estimate. But Ec 7:28 more favors Gesenius. "Considering women one by one."

Behold; it is a strange thing, and worthy of your serious observation.

The preacher; or, the penitent, who speaks what he hath learned, both by deep, study and costly experience.

Counting one by one; considering things or persons very exactly and distinctly, one after another; and not only in general and confusedly, in which case a man may very easily be mistaken; and comparing them together, whereby I was enabled to make the truer judgment of them.

To find out the account, that I might make a true and just estimate in this matter. Or, as it is in the margin:, and was rendered Ecclesiastes 7:25, the reason, to wit, of that which I am about to say. I considered the persons severally and critically, that from thence I might understand the reason of the thing. Behold, this have I found,.... That a harlot is more bitter than death; and which he found by his own experience, and therefore would have it observed by others for their caution: or one man among a thousand, Ecclesiastes 7:28;

(saith the preacher); of which title and character see Ecclesiastes 1:1; it is here mentioned to confirm the truth of what he said; he said it as a preacher, and, upon the word of a preacher, it was true; as also to signify his repentance for his sin, who was now the "gathered soul", as some render it; gathered into the church of God by repentance;

counting one by one, to find out the account; not his own sins, which he endeavoured to reckon up, and find out the general account of them, which yet he could not do; nor the good works of the righteous, and the sins of the wicked, which are numbered before the Lord one by one, till they are added to the great account; as Jarchi, from the Rabbins, interprets it, and so the Midrash: but rather the sense is, examining women, one by one, all within the verge of his acquaintance; particularly the thousand women that were either his wives or concubines; in order to take and give a just estimate of their character and actions. What follows is the result.

Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to {s} find out the account:

(s) That is, to come to a conclusion.

27. saith the Preacher] The passage is remarkable as being the solitary instance in the book in which the name Koheleth, feminine in form, yet elsewhere treated as masculine, is joined with the feminine form of the verb. It is possible, however, that this may be only an error of transcription, the transfer of a single letter from the end of one word to the beginning of another, restoring the verse to the more common construction, as found, e. g. in chap. Ecclesiastes 12:8, where, as here, adopting this reading, the article is prefixed to the word Koheleth, elsewhere treated as a proper name.

counting one by one] The words remind us, on the one hand, of Diogenes the Cynic, with his lantern, looking for an honest man at Athens, and answering, when asked where such men might be found, that good men were to be found nowhere, and good boys only in Sparta (Diog. Laert. vi. 2. 27); and on the other, of Jeremiah’s search to see “if there were any in Jerusalem that sought after God” (Jeremiah 5:1-5). The words, as it were, drag their slow length along, as if expressing the toil and weariness of the search. And after all he had failed to find.Verse 27. - Behold, this have I found. The result of his search, thus forcibly introduced, follows in ver. 28. He has carefully examined the character and conduct of both sexes, and he is constrained to make the unsatisfactory remark which he there puts forth. Saith the preacher. Koheleth is here treated as a feminine noun, being joined with the feminine form of the verb, though elsewhere it is grammatically regarded as masculine (see on Ecclesiastes 1:1). Many have thought that, after speaking so disparagingly of woman, it would be singularly inappropriate to introduce the official preacher as a female; they have therefore adopted a slight alteration in the text, viz. אָמַר חַקֹּחֶלֶת instead of אָמְרָה קֹהֶלֶת, which is simply the transference of he from the end of one word to the beginning of the next, thus adding the article, as in Ecclesiastes 12:8, and making the term accord with the Syriac and Arabic, and the Septuagint, εϊπεν ὁ Ἐκκλησιαστής. The writer here introduces his own designation in order to call special attention to what is coming. Counting one by one. The phrase is elliptical, and signifies, adding one thing to another, or weighing one thing after another, putting together various facts or marks. To find out the account; to arrive at the reckoning, the desired result. "Also give not thy heart to all the words which one speaketh, lest thou shouldest hear thy servant curse thee. For thy heart knoweth in many cases that thou also hast cursed others." The talk of the people, who are the indef. subj. of ילבּרוּ (lxx, Targ., Syr. supply ἀσεβεῖς), is not about "thee who givest heed to the counsels just given" (Hitz., Zckl.), for the restrictive עליך is wanting; and why should a servant be zealous to utter imprecations on the conduct of his master, which rests on the best maxims? It is the babbling of the people in general that is meant. To this one ought not to turn his heart (ל ... נתן, as at Ecclesiastes 1:13, Ecclesiastes 1:17; Ecclesiastes 8:9, Ecclesiastes 8:16), i.e., gives wilful attention, ne (לא אשׁר equals פּן, which does not occur in the Book of Koheleth) audias servum tuum tibi maledicere; the particip. expression of the pred. obj. follows the analogy of Genesis 21:9, Ewald, 284b, and is not a Graecism; for since in this place hearing is meant, not immediately, but mediated through others, the expression would not in good Greek be with the lxx ... τοῦ δούλου σου καταρωμένου σε, but τὸν δοῦλόν σου καταρᾶσθαι σε. The warning has its motive in this, that by such roundabout hearing one generally hears most unpleasant things; and on hearsay no reliance can be placed. Such gossiping one should ignore, should not listen to it at all; and if, nevertheless, something so bad is reported as that our own servant has spoken words of imprecation against us, yet we ought to pass that by unheeded, well knowing that we ourselves have often spoken harsh words against others. The expression וגו ידע, "thou art conscious to thyself that," is like פּע ר, 1 Kings 2:44, not the obj. accus. dependent on ידע (Hitz.), "many cases where also thou ...," but the adv. accus. of time to קּלּלתּ; the words are inverted (Ewald, 336b), the style of Koheleth being fond of thus giving prominence to the chief conception (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Ecclesiastes 5:18; Ecclesiastes 3:13). The first gam, although it belongs to "thine, thy," as at Ecclesiastes 7:22 it is also connected with "thou,"

(Note: גּם־אתּ, on account of the half pause, accented on the penult. according to the Masora.)

stands at the beginning of the sentence, after such syntactical examples as Hosea 6:11; Zechariah 9:11; and even with a two-membered sentence, Job 2:10.

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