Troublesome Topic: How Solomon Came to Distrust Women Part 1

Ecclesiastes 7:26 and 28 have made me ask “What is going on here?”  In Ecclesiastes chapter 7 Solomon is really hard on women in general, showing total distrust for all of them. Allow me to quote it for you here:

Ecclesiastes 7:25


I applied my heart to know, to explore and to seek out wisdom and the reason for things, and also to know the folly of wickedness, and of foolishness and madness.


I applied everything within me to understand, to investigate and to seek out wisdom and the reasons behind things, and also to understand the stupidity of following a wrongheaded path, of foolishness and arrogant madness.

Ecclesiastes 7:26


And I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are bonds; he who pleases ELOHIM will escape her,

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but the sinner will be trapped by her.


And what did I find in my searching? I found something that is worse than death itself; I found the truth about the woman whose heart leads her to become a hunter’s snare and a fisherman’s net, and whose hands are handcuffs on a man’s wrists. The man who lives a life that is pleasing to THE CREATOR AND RULER OF ALL THINGS will escape her, but the one who lives a life full of sin will be trapped by her.

Ecclesiastes 7:27


Look! This is what I have found, says the Convener and Speaker of the assembly, [by adding] one [thing] to another

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to find out the reason

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for things,


The Convener and Speaker of the assembly said, See, this is what I have discovered in my search for truth, as I connected the dots between one thing and another to find the reason behind things,

Ecclesiastes 7:28


with my soul still seeking but not [finding],

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I found one man among a thousand, but a woman among them all I have not found.


and while my inner being was still seeking truth, there was one thing I could never explain: Whereas one righteous man can be found among a thousand men, I cannot find one righteous woman among them all.

Solomon’s Dilemma

Verse 25 shows that Solomon did lots of searching about many aspects of life. But a certain matter received lots of his attention; it had to do with his inability to trust women. I find interesting the statement that he found a lascivious woman to be “more bitter than death.” That is a strong statement, and it sounds like it is very personal. Then in verse 27 he talks more about searching and putting many pieces together to come up with the final picture. Then in verse 28 he tells what his conclusion is; he reveals it with the shocking statement that no woman is trustworthy!

Something was driving these statements. It was something deep, something personal.

Then there are the parts of Proverbs that talk about avoiding the adulterous woman. They sound like personal advice that has come from personal experience. Most people have assumed that Solomon was speaking in general terms, but he sure seems to harp on the issue of prostitution and adultery quite a bit in Proverbs. It has a different tone than other parts of Proverbs. This seems strange coming from a king who had almost more wives than he could count. Yes, sexual impropriety was a problem in society. Yes, Solomon was giving advice about the dangers of sexual sins. But even so, it feels like he is speaking from personal experience.

On the other hand, in the Song of Solomon he displays a unique perspective about marriage. Solomon, more than anyone else until Jesus arrived on the scene, elevated his favorite wife to a status that was much higher than was common in his culture. He was looking for a wife who would be a partner. In many ways he treated her as an equal (according to the language of the Song of Solomon). They did not have equal roles or equal authority, but in many other ways they were equals. This is one of the main reasons I am convinced the Song of Solomon was not intended as an allegory about our relationship with God – we are not His equals!

So Solomon had a dilemma; early in his adult life he wanted a wife who would be a true partner, not just a wife with whom he could make babies. But the culture didn’t encourage women to be partners or team members on that level. But at the same time something had happened which caused him to be extremely distrustful of women in general.

Does the Bible give us any hints on how to wrap our minds around this situation? Are there any possible answers to why Solomon said what he said about all women in Eccesiastes 7:26 and 28?

Yes, I believe there are a few scattered puzzle pieces that can be put together to create a partial picture of what was going on. It will not be a full puzzle; a number of the pieces will still be missing, but it will give us an idea of what possibly happened. For that explanation, please proceed to the next lesson.

The next lesson is: How Solomon Came to Distrust Women Part 2



The secret to escaping the lascivious woman is not something that can be done at the moment of temptation; it is a lifestyle of honoring God and following God’s precepts that will result in God granting protection and strength in that moment. Obviously, the sinner is already living for pleasure so part of him will want to follow this woman and the other part will be too weak to resist.


A verb or participle is missing here; it must be assumed. My translation follows most other translators by inserting the English words “by adding” and “thing” to make it read “by adding one thing to another.” In my paraphrase I have chosen to render it as “connecting the dots between one thing and another.”

3: “the reason”

This is the same word that is used in verse 25. It can mean “the reason for something, reckoning, giving an account, a device” or even “intelligence.” It seems like the “reason for things being as they are” has been his search all along. As I understand things, that has become even more true since the death of the Shulammite.


The word “finding” must also be assumed; it is not in the text.