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Ecclesiastes 7:16 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself overwise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldst thou destroy thyself?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself overwise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Do not become so very righteous, neither count thyself wise beyond measure,—wherefore shouldst thou destroy thyself?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Be not over-righteous, nor show thyself too wise, why art thou desolate?
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Be not over just: and be not more wise than is necessary, lest thou become stupid.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Be not righteous ouer much, neither make thy selfe ouer wise: why shouldest thou destroy thy selfe?
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— Be not very just; neither be very wise: lest thou be confounded.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Be x1961
(1961) Complement
הָיָה
hayah
{haw-yaw'}
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
not x408
(0408) Complement
אַל
'al
{al}
A negative particle (akin to H3808); not (the qualified negation, used as a deprecative); once (Job 24:25) as a noun, nothing.
righteous 6662
{6662} Prime
צַדִּיק
tsaddiyq
{tsad-deek'}
From H6663; just.
over much; 7235
{7235} Prime
רָבָה
rabah
{raw-baw'}
A primitive root; to increase (in whatever respect).
z8687
<8687> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 1162
neither x408
(0408) Complement
אַל
'al
{al}
A negative particle (akin to H3808); not (the qualified negation, used as a deprecative); once (Job 24:25) as a noun, nothing.
make thyself over y3148
[3148] Standard
יוֹתֵר
yowther
{yo-thare'}
Active participle of H8498; properly redundant; hence over and above, as adjective, noun, adverb or conjugation.
wise: 2449
{2449} Prime
חָכַם
chakam
{khaw-kam'}
A primitive root, to be wise (in mind, word or act).
z8691
<8691> Grammar
Stem - Hithpael (See H8819)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 533
x3148
(3148) Complement
יוֹתֵר
yowther
{yo-thare'}
Active participle of H8498; properly redundant; hence over and above, as adjective, noun, adverb or conjugation.
why x4100
(4100) Complement
מָּה
mah
{maw}
A primitive particle; properly interrogitive what? (including how?, why? and when?); but also exclamations like what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively that which); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjugational senses.
shouldest thou destroy y8074
[8074] Standard
שָׁמֵם
shamem
{shaw-mame'}
A primitive root; to stun (or intransitively grow numb), that is, devastate or (figuratively) stupefy (both usually in a passive sense).
z8709
<8709> Grammar
Stem - Hithpolel (See H8824)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 45
thyself? x8074
(8074) Complement
שָׁמֵם
shamem
{shaw-mame'}
A primitive root; to stun (or intransitively grow numb), that is, devastate or (figuratively) stupefy (both usually in a passive sense).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Ecclesiastes 7:16

_ _ Holden makes Ecclesiastes 7:16 the scoffing inference of the objector, and Ecclesiastes 7:17 the answer of Solomon, now repentant. So (1 Corinthians 15:32) the skeptic’s objection; (1 Corinthians 15:33) the answer. However, “Be not righteous over much,” may be taken as Solomon’s words, forbidding a self-made righteousness of outward performances, which would wrest salvation from God, instead of receiving it as the gift of His grace. It is a fanatical, pharisaical righteousness, separated from God; for the “fear of God” is in antithesis to it (Ecclesiastes 7:18; Ecclesiastes 5:3, Ecclesiastes 5:7; Matthew 6:1-7; Matthew 9:14; Matthew 23:23, Matthew 23:24; Romans 10:3; 1 Timothy 4:3).

_ _ over wise — (Job 11:12; Romans 12:3, Romans 12:16), presumptuously self-sufficient, as if acquainted with the whole of divine truth.

_ _ destroy thyself — expose thyself to needless persecution, austerities and the wrath of God; hence to an untimely death. “Destroy thyself” answers to “perisheth” (Ecclesiastes 7:15); “righteous over much,” to “a just man.” Therefore in Ecclesiastes 7:15 it is self-justiciary, not a truly righteous man, that is meant.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

See commentary on Ecclesiastes 7:11-22.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ecclesiastes 7:16

Be not — This verse and the next have a manifest reference to Ecclesiastes 7:15, being two inferences drawn from the two clauses of the observation. Solomon here speaks in the person of an ungodly man, who takes occasion to dissuade men from righteousness, because of the danger which attends it. Therefore, saith he, take heed of strictness, zeal, and forwardness in religion. And the next verse contains an antidote to this suggestion; yea, rather saith he, be not wicked or foolish overmuch; for that will not preserve thee, as thou mayest imagine, but will occasion and hasten thy ruin.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Ecclesiastes 7:16

Be not righteous (m) over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?

(m) Do not boast too much of your own justice and wisdom.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
Be not:
This verse is probably the language of an ungodly man; to which Solomon answers, as in the following verse, "Do not multiply wickedness; do not add direct opposition to godliness, to the rest of your crimes. Why should you provoke God to destroy you before your time?"
Proverbs 25:16 Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.
Matthew 6:1-7 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. ... But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Matthew 9:14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
Matthew 15:2-9 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. ... But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.
Matthew 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Matthew 23:23-24 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. ... [Ye] blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Matthew 23:29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
Luke 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Romans 10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
Philippians 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
1 Timothy 4:3 Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

neither:

Ecclesiastes 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books [there is] no end; and much study [is] a weariness of the flesh.
Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Job 11:12 For vain man would be wise, though man be born [like] a wild ass's colt.
Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that [is] wisdom; and to depart from evil [is] understanding.
Proverbs 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
1 Corinthians 3:20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
Colossians 2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
James 3:13-17 Who [is] a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. ... But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

destroy thyself:
Heb. be desolate,
Matthew 23:38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
Revelation 18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Gn 3:6. Jb 11:12; 28:28. Pv 23:4; 25:16. Ec 12:12. Mt 6:1; 9:14; 15:2; 23:5, 23, 29, 38. Lk 18:12. Ro 10:2; 11:25; 12:3. 1Co 3:18, 20. Php 3:6. Col 2:18, 23. 1Ti 4:3. Jm 3:13. Rv 18:19.

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