In the sections immediately following, the continuity of the history of the Preacher’s mental struggles is broken by the introduction of a number of proverbs, some of which have so little apparent relation to the context, that Renan even takes them to be intended as specimens of the “many words which increase vanity.” But of any work, whether actually representing or intended to represent the teaching of Solomon, proverbs might be expected to form a necessary part. And though the ingenuity may not be successful which has been employed in trying to find a strict logical sequence in this part of the work, yet the thoughts are not unconnected with each other, nor out of harmony with the whole. The question with which the preceding chapter concludes, “Who knoweth what is good for a man?” is taken up in this, Ecclesiastes 7:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:5; Ecclesiastes 7:8; Ecclesiastes 7:11, all beginning with the word “good.” This characteristic would have been better kept up in translation if the first word of all these verses had been made “better.” “Better is sorrow than laughter,” &c.
Profit.—In defence of the marginal “yea, better,” may be pleaded that the word is translated as an adverb (Esther 6:6; and in this book (Ecclesiastes 2:16; Ecclesiastes 6:8; Ecclesiastes 6:11; Ecclesiastes 7:16; Ecclesiastes 12:9; Ecclesiastes 12:12).
Snares.—See Ecclesiastes 9:12; used for siege works, Ecclesiastes 9:14.
Nets.—Habakkuk 1:15; Ezekiel 26:5.
Ecclesiastes 7:29Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.