Wisdom strengtheneth the wise,.... Against such extremes as before mentioned; it is a guard about him, as well as a guide unto him; it is a defence unto him, as before observed, Ecclesiastes 7:12
; and is better than strength of body, or weapons of war, Ecclesiastes 9:16
; and a wise man does greater things by it than a strong man with them, and is safer with it than he can be by them. Some understand this of Christ, the Wisdom of God, without whom a good man can do nothing, but all things through him strengthening him; and who being a strong tower and place of refuge to him, he is safer in him than if he was in the strongest garrison, and under the protection of ever so large a number of valiant men: Christ, and grace from him, strengthen
more than ten mighty men which are in the city; that is, than many mighty men, or men of war, which guard a city; the city of Jerusalem, or any other. The Targum applies this to Joseph, and paraphrases it,
"the wisdom of Joseph the son of Jacob helped him to make him wiser than all his ten righteous brethren.'' Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.
There now follows a proverb of devout submission to the providence of God, connecting itself with the contents of Ecclesiastes 7:10
: "Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight which He hath made crooked! In the good day be of good cheer, and in the day of misfortune observe: God hath also made this equal to that, to the end that man need not experience anything (further) after his death." While ראה, Ecclesiastes 1:10
; Ecclesiastes 7:27
, Ecclesiastes 7:29
, is not different from הנּה, and in Ecclesiastes 9:9
has the meaning of "enjoy," here the meaning of contemplative observation, mental seeing, connects itself both times with it. כּי before מי can as little mean quod, as asher, Ecclesiastes 6:12
, before mi can mean quoniam. "Consider God's work" means: recognise in all that is done the government of God, which has its motive in this, that, as the question leads us to suppose, no creature is able (cf. Ecclesiastes 6:10
and Ecclesiastes 1:15
) to put right God's work in cases where it seems to contradict that which is right (Job 8:3
; Job 34:12
), or to make straight that which He has made crooked (Psalm 146:9
14a. The call here expressed is parallel to Sir. 14:14 (Fritz.): "Withdraw not thyself from a good day, and let not thyself lose participation in a right enjoyment." The ב of בּטובis, as little as that of בּצל, the beth essentiae - it is not a designation of quality, but of condition: in good, i.e., cheerful mood. He who is, Jeremiah 44:17, personally tov, cheerful ( equals tov lev), is betov (cf. Psalm 25:13, also Job 21:13). The reverse side of the call, 14ab, is of course not to be translated: and suffer or bear the bad day (Ewald, Heiligst.), for in this sense we use the expression רעה ראה, Jeremiah 44:17, but not ברעה ראה, which much rather, Obadiah 1:13, means a malicious contemplation of the misfortune of a stranger, although once, Genesis 21:16, ב ראה also occurs in the sense of a compassionate, sympathizing look, and, moreover, the parall. shows that רעה ביום is not the obj., but the adv. designation of time. Also not: look to equals be attentive to (Salomon), or bear it patiently (Burger), for ראה cannot of itself have that meaning.
(Note: Similarly also Sohar (Par. (מחור): הוי וגו, i.e., cave et circumspice, viz., that thou mayest not incur the judgment which is pronounced.)
But: in the day of misfortune observe, i.e., perceive and reflect: God has also made (cf. Job 2:10) the latter לעמּת corresponding, parallel, like to (cf. under Ecclesiastes 5:15) the former.
So much the more difficult is the statement of the object of this mingling by God of good and evil in the life of man. It is translated: that man may find nothing behind him; this is literal, but it is meaningless. The meaning, according to most interpreters, is this: that man may investigate nothing that lies behind his present time, - thus, that belongs to the future; in other words: that man may never know what is before him. But aharav is never (not at Ecclesiastes 6:12) equals in the future, lying out from the present of a man; but always equals after his present life. Accordingly, Ewald explains, and Heiligst. with him: that he may find nothing which, dying, he could take with him. But this rendering (cf. Ecclesiastes 5:14) is here unsuitable. Better, Hitzig: because God wills it that man shall be rid of all things after his death, He puts evil into the period of his life, and lets it alternate with good, instead of visiting him therewith after his death. This explanation proceeds from a right interpretation of the words: idcirco ut (cf. Ecclesiastes 3:18) non inveniat homo post se quidquam, scil. quod non expertus sit, but gives a meaning to the expression which the author would reject as unworthy of his conception of God. What is meant is much more this, that God causes man to experience good and evil that he may pass through the whole school of life, and when he departs hence that nothing may be outstanding (in arrears) which he has not experienced.