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For what advantage has the wise more than the fool? What advantage does the poor man have who knows how to walk before the living? Bible

“For what advantage has the wise more than the fool?” This sentence must be understood against the background of what in the culture was taken for truth, in this case that wisdom led to wealth, long life, and happiness. But the Sage has just spent some considerable time showing that wealth, children, and long life do not necessarily mean happiness. So now the question is not a “given,” but is a cause for thought. To have any advantage, the wise person must enjoy what he has.

“What advantage does the poor man have who knows how to walk before the living.” The thrust of this verse seems to be that the poor person has always been assured that if he became wise he would gain wealth and happiness. But now the Sage has shown that wisdom, if it leads to wealth and long life, does not always lead to happiness in life. So again, this verse becomes something to ponder. There is no reason to learn to walk (live; conduct one’s life) before others (i.e., in a way acceptable to them) if it only leads to more misery. How does one become truly satisfied and happy?


Commentary for: Ecclesiastes 6:8