Questions From Readers
In what sense did the congregator find only “one man out of a thousand” but not “a woman among all these”?—Ecclesiastes 7:28.
To understand these inspired words correctly, we must first appreciate how God views women. The Bible refers to the widow Naomi’s daughter-in-law Ruth as “an excellent woman.” (Ruth 3:11) According to Proverbs 31:10, a good wife “is worth far more than corals.” (An American Translation) What, then, did King Solomon of ancient Israel mean when he said: “I have found . . . one true man in a thousand, but never a true woman”?—Moffatt.
The context shows that low moral standards must have prevailed among women in Solomon’s day. (Ecclesiastes 7:26) This may have been largely a result of the influence of foreign women who practiced Baal worship. Even King Solomon succumbed to pressure from his many foreign wives. “He came to have seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines,” says the Bible, “and his wives gradually inclined his heart” to worship false gods. (1 Kings 11:1-4) The moral standards of men too were not good—one righteous man in a thousand was a rarity, almost negligible. “This only I have found,” concludes Solomon, “that the true God made mankind upright, but they themselves have sought out many plans.” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) This is a conclusion about mankind—man as the human race, not man as compared with woman. Hence, the words found at Ecclesiastes 7:28 should be viewed as a comment on the general moral condition of the people of Solomon’s day.
However, there is another possible meaning to this verse. It may also be prophetic, for never has a woman given Jehovah perfect obedience. But there has been one such man—Jesus Christ.—Romans 5:15-17.
[Picture on page 31]
“One man out of a thousand”