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Bible Commentaries
Ecclesiastes 7

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

Above him. We are intent on things which regard us not, while we neglect the important concerns of heaven. Hebrew may be joined with the preceding. (Calmet) --- Protestants, (11.) "seeing there are many thing which increase vanity, what is man the better? (12.) for who knoweth?" &c. (Haydock) --- Some strive to obtain riches or honours, which will prove fatal to them. (Calmet) --- None can perfectly know the nature of things either present or future. (Worthington)

Verse 2

Name. "It is necessary for the sake of others," (St. Augustine, de B. Vid. xxii.) particularly for those who have to direct souls. (St. Gregory in Ezechial) (Calmet) --- In this second part is shewn that felicity is procured by a good life. (Worthington) --- Death. Speaking of the just, for death is the beginning of sorrows to the wicked. (Calmet) --- Some nations mourned on the birth-day of their children. (Val. Max. ii. 6.; Eurip[Euripides?] in Ctes.)

Verse 3

Come. While at birth-day feasts (Genesis xl. 20., and Matthew xiv. 6.) people give themselves up to joy, and cherish the idea of living long. (Calmet)

Verse 4

Anger. That is, correction, or just wrath and zeal against evil, (Challoner) is preferable to a misguided complaisance, Proverbs xxvii. 6. (Calmet) --- Anger, when rightly used, helps us to correct our faults. (Worthington)

Verse 5

Mourning. They submit willingly to correction, (St. Jerome) or think seriously on the dangers of sin and God’s judgments.

Verse 6

Wise man. Much prudence is requisite to correct with fruit, and to persuade the sinner that he is under a mistake. (Calmet)

Verse 7

Laughter. It is loud and soon over, Ecclesiasticus xxi. 23., and Luke xxvi. 5. (Calmet)

Verse 8

Oppression. Literally, "calumny." The most perfect can hardly bear it. Hebrew, "oppression (or calumny of others. Calmet) will make the wise insane, and a present will ruin the heart." (Montanus) --- Avarice blinds us. (Haydock) --- Deuteronomy xvi. 19., "a corrupt judge examines ill the truth."

Verse 9

Speech. Hebrew, "thing." The best projects often are seen to fail. --- Beginning, as the auditor is on longer kept in suspense. --- Presumptuous. Rashness must not be confounded with courage. (Calmet) --- Hasty and immoderate anger is hurtful. (Worthington)

Verse 10

Bosom, as in its proper place. The wise may feel its impressions, but he immediately makes resistance.

Verse 11


Foolish. Men endeavour to excuse themselves by the manners of the age. But there have always been both good and evil, chap. i. 10. (Calmet) --- Corruption was prevalent in former times as well as now. (Menochius)

Verse 12

With. Hebrew also, "above, or much as riches." (Calmet) --- These are impediments in the hands of the reprobate, while they promote virtue in the good." (St. Ambrose, Luke viii. n. 85.) --- The man who has only wisdom, cannot do as much good as those who are also rich. (Calmet) --- The moderate use of riches helps the servants of God, while they do not set their hearts upon them. (Worthington) --- The sun, to men on earth.

Verse 13

Them. Money may procure necessaries for the body; (Haydock) but wisdom gives a long and happy life, Proverbs iv. 10., and Baruch iii. 28. (Calmet)

Verse 14

Despised. God never neglects first. (Council of Trent, Session vi. 11.) --- He detests sin, and at last abandons the obstinate, though he never fails to offer sufficient graces. A person who is of an unhealthy constitution, or involved in sin, cannot be cured by man alone. Yet we must not cease to preach, &c., while we expect all from God, who gives the increase, 1 Corinthians iii. 7.

Verse 15

Complaint. Prosperity and adversity succeed each other, that we may be neither elated nor dejected too much. (St. Bernard, ep. xxxvi.) --- If we enjoy the advantages of nature, we must be thankful; if we feel pain, we must cheerfully submit to God’s will. (Haydock)

Verse 16

Vanity, during this miserable life. --- Wickedness. This seemed more incongruous under the old law, when long life was promised to the just, (Calmet; Psalm lxxii. 3., and Exodus xx. 12.) though it chiefly regarded heaven. (Haydock)

Verse 17

Over just, viz., By an excessive rigour in censuring the ways of God in bearing with the wicked. (Challoner) --- Give not way to scruples, (St. Bernard) nor to self-conceit. (Alcuin.) --- Become. Hebrew, "perish," being oppressed with majesty. (Lorin.) (Tirinus) (Calmet)

Verse 18

Overmuch. No sin can be tolerated. (Calmet) --- But as all offend in many things, (ver. 21.; Haydock) they are encouraged to rise again with diligence and sorrow.

Verse 19

From him. Who is otherwise withdrawn, &c. Hebrew, "take hold of this, and not neglect that: for he who feareth God, will walk with all them." He will avoid all extremes both of virtue and vice. (Calmet) --- Protestants and Montanus, "he shall come forth of them all," and advance towards heaven. (Haydock)

Verse 20

City. It has the advantage over more strength, chap. ix. 16.

Verse 21

Not. 1 John i. 8. Crates said it was "impossible to find one who falls not." (Laertius vi.) (Haydock) --- We must not flatter ourselves with impeccability, ver. 18. (Calmet) --- See Seneca. Clem. i. 6. Peccavimus omnes, &c., and de Ira. i. 28. (Menochius)

Verse 23

Thy. We must be satisfied with a good conscience, as we cannot control the thoughts and words of all. (St. Ambrose, Of. i. 1.)

Verse 24

Me. This is a proof of having made great progress in wisdom, since the half-learned are the most presumptuous. (Calmet)

Verse 25

Much. Protestants, "the which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?" (Haydock)

Verse 26

Reason. Of all things. In this natural wisdom consists. Septuagint, "and number." He examined the pretensions of philosophy, which attempted thus to predict future events; but found that it was all deceit, like a harlot. (Olympiod.) --- He explored the qualities of different things, as an arithmetician counts numbers. (Menochius)

Verse 27

Her. He speaks by experience, (St. Jerome) as none perhaps ever fell more terribly victims of impure love. (Calmet) --- Though a plurality of wives was then permitted, Solomon did wrong in marrying strangers; and in suffering himself to be deluded by them, so as to erect temples to their respective idols. (Haydock) --- All the attractions of women are replete with danger, and can only be overcome by God’s grace, and by flight, 1 Corinthians iv. 8., and Proverbs vii. 22., and xxii. 14. (Calmet)

Verse 29

Man. The superior part of the soul rarely thinks of good; but the sensual part always inclines to evil. (Worthington) --- Solomon found danger from all women, (St. Jerome) and there is none who may not prove fatal to those who are off their guard. (Calmet) --- Yet some are doubtless innocent, like the bless Virgin [Mary]. (Haydock)

Verse 30

Right. He fell by his own free-will. (St. Augustine, City of God xiv. 11.) (Worthington) --- The great corruption of the world is not, therefore, to be attributed to God, Ephesians iv. 23. Our first parents were led by curiosity to examine whether the fruit was good, &c., (St. Cyril, Cat. ii.; Chaldean; Bossuet) or mankind, in general, make useless enquiries. --- And he. Hebrew and Septuagint, "they," &c. (Calmet) --- Of the word. That is, of this obscure and difficult matter (Challoner) if this sentence have any connection with the preceding. It is placed at the head of the next chapter in Hebrew. (Calmet)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 7". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/ecclesiastes-7.html. 1859.
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