Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 7, 29

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לְבַד֙רְאֵה־זֶ֣המָצָ֔אתִיאֲשֶׁ֨רעָשָׂ֧ההָאֱלֹהִ֛יםאֶת־הָאָדָ֖םיָשָׁ֑רוְהֵ֥מָּהבִקְשׁ֖וּחִשְּׁבֹנ֥וֹתרַבִּֽים
19
Truly, this only I have found: That GOD made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.
19 Truly, this only I have found: That GOD made man upright, but they [humanity] have sought out many schemes.

* [חִשָּׁבוֺן] Noun masculine meaning “device”, “invention”, or also “intrigues”, “artifices”, “subterfuges”, or fallacious reasoning.


COMMENTARY:

Wisdom strengthens the wise.
Much of the chapter discusses the importance of wisdom, which is the equivalent of possessing a great inheritance, and is probably even better. It provides shelter during storms and from the scorching heat of worry and trouble. Wealth will not extend life, but true wisdom will. During earthly life in the present, it will provide guidance on how to live righteously, strengthening believers in suffering. We must not be conceited about our own abilities, for without proper humility and calm, mistakes are always just around the corner. Those who truly fear GOD, have but one goal to achieve, to be righteous., so they act firmly. If we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves. Every true believer is ready to say, “GOD be merciful to me a sinner.” One can commit sin even without knowing it, perhaps with a thought, or a distraction, so the wise man is aware that no one is exempt from sin.

“This only have I found, That GOD hath made man righteous, but they have sought many schemes”: Solomon is wise also because he understands that GOD begat the human being without sin, yet already from the time of Adam, believing humanity has relied on fallacious reasoning that has led it to sin and rebellion against GOD: “The woman saw that the tree’s fruit was good to eat and pleasing to look at. She also saw that it would make a person wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. And he ate it. 7 Then both of them knew things they had never known before. They realized they were naked. So they sewed together fig leaves and made clothes for themselves.” (Genesis 3, 6)

When Solomon says, “GOD made man upright,” he is referring to the Adam of the beginning, and consequently to Eve after her contraction in the Garden of Eden. He was not created a sinner, but righteous, with a heart disposed to faithfulness and obedience, yet too much reasoning led him into error. If instead of thinking (eating from the tree to gain more knowledge) he had only listened, he would still be under the constant protection of GOD. Instead, by choosing to “grow” intellectually, he exposed us to the difficulties of life, no longer immature and protected children, but adults made responsible by the Father. If we go back to thinking like children, with few desires and much gratitude and appreciation, we will avoid committing the great sins, those that separate us from the foretold Era of Peace.

Note as a similarity of thought the beautiful phrase of the teacher Confucius:
“Life is indeed simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

Solomon, in his search for the nature of things and the reason for existence, concludes that only the one who constantly aims to please GOD can expect to escape error, the negligent sinner on the other hand will fall never to rise again.

 

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