The Berean Expositor
Volume 12 - Page 59 of 160
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The "reason" of evil discovered (7: 24-29).
pp. 180 - 183
The concluding portion of Eccles. 7: contains an exceeding difficult statement.
Believing it to be a part of that Scripture which is not only inspired but profitable we
must seek its meaning, looking continually to the Author Himself to lead us into all truth.
A step toward truer understanding will be the recognition of the theme of the writer.
"I applied my heart . . . . . to seek out . . . . . the reason" (7: 25). Now this word
"reason" occurs again in verse 27: "counting one by one to find out the account". We
evidently have here the thread, and if we find this same word yet again at the conclusion
we shall be justified in assuming that we have established one item. In verse 29 we have
the feminine form of the word, "They have sought out many inventions". In the space of
five verses we have "reason", "account", and "inventions". We must find some
common idea that will enable us to understand Solomon's investigation more clearly.
The feminine form of verse 29 occurs in II Chron. 26: 15, "He made in Jerusalem
engines invented by cunning men". The word translated "cunning" is also from the same
root; the French version reads "des machines de l'invention d'un ingenieur". Many times
the root word is rendered "devise", "curious", and "cunning".
If we now come back to Eccles. vii.25 we may be able to perceive more clearly the
object of Koheleth's search. We shall observe that the words "of things" are in italics and
we can ignore them if need be.
"I applied mine heart to know, and to search and to seek out wisdom and the cunning
device, and to know the wickedness of folly even of foolishness and madness."
The Preacher was seeking the hidden spring of wickedness, seeking to know what was
the ensnaring bait that led men on to sin and death. Out of the bitter experience of his
heart Solomon now speaks. He confesses that he had not discovered "what his souls
seeketh" (28), but the example which he gives, together with the conclusion at which he
arrives in verse 29, will be sufficient for those who seek guidance in this world of
The better to appreciate Solomon's warning here, we must turn aside for a moment to
the book of Proverbs. The reader is referred to the Companions Bible for a full account
of the composition of the book of Proverbs. Suffice it for your purpose to say that some
Proverbs were written BY Solomon, but some were written FOR Solomon.  Those
written FOR Solomon occupy 1: 7 -9: 18; 19: 20 -24: 34; 27: 1 - 29: 27 and
30: 1 - 31: 31.  These were compiled for the future guidance of David's son and
successor. Among the items of solemn warning is the danger morally, religiously and
dynastically of the "alien woman". In the Proverbs written BY Solomon this one feature
is never mentioned. The Proverbs FOR Solomon conclude with a marvelous pen portrait
of the wife he should seek.  Here was evidently Solomon's weak point.  Had he
hearkened to the Word of God he would have saved his name from the ill savour that
must ever attach to it.