Ecclesiastes 7:25-26 NIV
25 So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.
26 I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare.
Ecclesiastes 7:25-26 EXB
25 I studied and tried very hard to find wisdom, to find some meaning for everything
[ I and my heart turned to understand and to explore and to seek wisdom and the sum of things]. I learned that it is foolish to be evil, and it is crazy to act like a fool.
26 I found that some women [or women] are ·worse [ more bitter] than death and are as dangerous as traps L a trap/snare]. Their love is like L heart is] a net, and their arms hold men like [ hands are] chains. A man who pleases God will be saved from [escape] them, but a sinner [or someone who offends Him] will be caught by them.
The EXB version once again shows us there are two hearts under discussion in these two verses as do many other versions. So let us take a look at these two verses and see what we might learn.
Looking at verse twenty-five whether I use the NIV or the literal in the EXB the writer sought to understand, to investigate, and to search out wisdom NIV or to understand, to explore and to seek wisdom EXB. In the NIV the purpose of this search is know the scheme of things while in the EXB the purpose is to know the sum of things. Today, such a search is called the search for the Theory of Everything both in science and philosophy. Both ultimately reject God when looking for a Theory of Everything.
Then, still in verse twenty-five the writer sought to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly NIV or I learned that it is foolish to be evil, and it is crazy to act like a fool EXB. No matter the version we discover it is stupid to choose wickedness or foolish to choose to be evil. Going further we learn choosing folly is madness or it is crazy to act [live] like a fool. These are not sometimes true statements, but instead statements of fact true across the board.
In the search for wisdom, the writer discovered something about women, certainly true of his day. While today, such could be true of men as well. 26 I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare NIV. One has to believe the writer here is clearly Solomon
By my own sad experience, which Solomon here records as a testimony of his true repentance for his foul miscarriages, for which he was willing to take shame to himself, not only from the present, but from all succeeding generations
The strange woman, of whom he speaks so much in the Proverbs; more vexatious and pernicious, as producing those horrors of conscience, those reproaches, diseases, and other plagues, both temporal and spiritual, from God, which are far worse than the mere death of the body, and, after all these, everlasting destruction; (Benson Commentary)
Of course Solomon point to the one way to avoid such a relationship, by first seeking to please God with one’s actions and decisions. Something Solomon avoided for a good part of his life. What will we do?