The Berean Expositor
Volume 13 - Page 10 of 159
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Studies in Ecclesiastes.
Wisdom (8:).
pp. 24 - 26
Chapter 8: opens with a reference to the wise man, "Who is as the wise man? and
who knoweth the interpretation of a thing?" (8: 1). Speaking of the work of God, the
writer concludes the chapter by saying, "though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he
not be able to find it" (8: 17).
We must keep well in mind that Ecclesiastes is discussing "What is that good", and
among other things he has declared that "Wisdom is good, like an inheritance . . . . . it
giveth life to them that have it" (7: 11, 12). Though wisdom is so excellent, there are
bounds set to its flight; if we observe them it shall be well with us, but if we despise or
ignore them, we shall surely come to grief.
"I said, I will be wise, but it was far from me. That which is far off, and exceeding
deep, who can find it out?" (7: 23, 24).
So the Preacher asks the question, "Who is like the wise man?" and explains the
special feature of the wise man that he has in mind by adding "And who knoweth the
interpretation of a thing?"
The Hebrew pesher = "interpretation" occurs but once in Scripture, but the parallel
Chaldee p'shar is used in Dan. 2: 4 - 7: 16 thirty-two times, and always in connection
with the dreams of prophetic import given to Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and Daniel.
This is entirely in line with the recurring thought of Ecclesiastes as to "what shall come
after", or as Daniel said, "what should come to pass hereafter", which the wise men of
Babylon could not interpret.
It is very suggestive that another expression that comes in Eccles. 8: 1, "The
strength of his face shall be changed" is also found nowhere else but in Daniel. Dan. 5: 6
reads "The King's countenance was changed": so also verses 9, 10.  The passage
however that bears most upon Eccles. 8: 1 is that which relates to Daniel himself. In
Dan. 7: Daniel had a dream which revealed the future of the kingdoms of earth and the
final triumph of the kingdom of the saints of the Most High. At the close he wrote:--
"Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my cogitations much troubled
me, and my countenance changed in me."
Yet another connection is made by the word "cogitation", which in Eccles. 1: 17,
2: 22, and 4: 16, is rendered "vexation". We return to Eccles. 8: 1, and guided by
the most evident parallels of Daniel, find that this verse divides up as follows:--