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My son, be warned of [things] beyond these.

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Of the making of books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the body.


My son, I am warning you that studying anything beyond the wisdom of our sages (just mentioned) is unwise.

There are lots and lots of books out there, and one can bury himself in trying to read all that has been written with the consequence being that he wears himself out trying to find truth but finds only confusion.


1: “be warned of things beyond these”

There are two ways to take the admonition at the beginning of this verse and scholars are divided on which one it should be because the wording is not fully clear to us. 1) One theory is that it refers to the previous three verses and the words of the wise men that are mentioned there; 2) The other theory is that it refers to the statements at the end of this same verse (vs 12) about books and study. I feel that the comments about many books and wearisome study do not merit the kind of strong statement that appears at the beginning of this verse, rather the cumulative wisdom of the wise mentioned earlier is more worthy of such a statement. So I favor theory number 1.


The editor obviously had high esteem for the wisdom shared in this piece of writing which we call Ecclesiastes. He was not troubled by its negativity or its lack of heavenly focus. He saw it as the fitting companion to the wisdom expressed by Solomon in his earlier proverbs because this latter collection of wisdom included the harsh realities of life.