Friend* I’m still reading Ecclesiastes and I have come upon something I had not yet read when I posted before. If the opportunity arises, will you find out what your teacher says about this passage, "I cast about in my mind to know and survey and discover wisdom and the reason of things, finding that wickedness is folly and folly madness; and I discovered something, something more bitter even than death–the woman who entangles men, whose heart is a net, whose clasp is a chain [[A man by God's good favour shall escape her, but she will snare a
sinner]]. Vainly have I sought over and again the truth of things, putting together this and that; but here is what I have found, says the Speaker: one true man in a thousand, but never a true woman!"
Does this mean what it sounds like it means? That there are no good women?
I generally use the King James Version published by Nelson company. My Bible says 1972. I also enjoy reading the New International Version or the Holman Version which are written in normal speak.
The scripture you quoted in my Bible is Chapter 7 verse 25 and following.
I understand the section to mean that the preacher isn’t stating a universal truth regarding ALL women, but a figure of speech representing foolishness, sin or folly as the Bible often calls it.
We also have to take into consideration the context in which the writer writes. Given most people believe it was Solomon who wrote Ecc., and Solomon had many wives and concubines and most of them led him down the path to sinful behaviors…I would imagine (and this is just my thinking) that Solomon used the term woman to signify the sinfulness of mankind based on his experience with women. Also notice in that section of scripture than even in 1000 men he only found one good one…even though he found NO good woman. So the man/men weren’t much better off. 🙂
But that is how mankind is…they turn to their own ways disregarding the things of God.
*my friend* Thank you, Klara. I am so appreciative when my questions of a religious nature are taken seriously. So many people assume that because I don’t have a strong spiritual nature I am not interested in learning about the Bible or other holy books. They think I have a hidden agenda when I ask questions and they write me off or ignore me. You always answer me and I appreciate it so much.
If Solomon is writing this (and I wondered about that–throughout Ecclesiastes it refers to the writer as ‘the Speaker’ in the version I’m reading, but it never identifies the speaker) then I would, if I were there, argue with him. If he keeps taking concubines because he can’t satisfy his sex drive, what does he expect? That the women are nothing more than vessels for his seed? That when the women who attracted him sexually had arguments with one another or jostled for position or wealth that meant they were no good in the eyes of God? Phooey on him! I bet if you asked those women they would say they could find a good woman out of every 1000 but they have yet to see a decent man. And yet we are to hold Solomon’s word as holy and something to follow for eternity while we never get to hear Concubine #12’s side of the story. That’s what I don’t like. And to me that’s a reasonable cause to question. It sounds as if I am kidding, but I am not. These types of things always bothered me and made me question.
Me* These are all good questions and things I have pondered before myself. I do know that Solomon, according to history, did accumulate all these wives and concubines. Solomon was a great foreign diplomat, I guess we’d call him and it was customary for the lesser king to give the greater king a wife or concubine to show respect. It was this way that Solomon accumulated a lot of the women; women from foreign lands who worshipped other gods and also led Solomon down the wrong path. That old sex drive has caused problems from the beginning.
I think the way some things are recorded in the Bible and some things are left out gives rise to so many believing the Bible to racist, chauvinistic and legalistic. And they could very well be correct.
I choose to take the whole thing in and see these things that are not the best as far as Christianity is concerned as good object lessons in what NOT to be, what NOT to do. I also believe that the inclusion of some of the bad stuff proves that God can use all types of people; that one doesn’t have to be Mr. NeverHave Sinned, or Ms. GoodyTwo Shoes in order to be used of God. Even alanon teaches me that some people are a perfect example of what NOT to do or be and so I see the Bible the same way.
I will never understand everything that was chosen to be included in the Bible. Some things I question still today and that’s ok. I know that our Baptist doctrine teaches the inerrency of Scripture that all scripture is God breathed, profitable for instructions for righteousness….(paraphrased) And maybe this was true of the original manuscripts, but then again maybe it wasn’t. i don’t know. I do know that when human translators got hold of it things could have changed as far as wording goes.
Given all that, I still choose to believe the basic tenets of the Bible which are concentrated into those 12 easy Steps of Al-anon…steps which are so easy to read, so easy to remember and yet so hard to live out. I believe that any of us who allow the truths of those 12 steps to guide our life will be good, upright and spiritual people.
As for …do I see you as Satan………..no way, no ma’am, no how…NO< NO< NO.
I fall outside most ‘religious’ folks belief in how I view those who don’t follow the same spiritual path as I. While I believe certain religions are cults, I also believe there are some spiritual paths that are simply different and fit what that person needs. I do believe in a personal walk with God, faith in Jesus, salvation….and here is where I take a different path…while I believe that for myself and as a whole, I do realize that I, along with millions of others, could be wrong. Oh I know, you’ll never get many main stream christians to admit that, but it’s how I think. So with that in mind, and I’ve always felt this way, even before al-anon, I choose to let others follow their own spiritual path. I am very open to sharing what I believe, or I think I am, and explaining it to the best of my ability; but I have never wanted to shove my belief down any one’s throat.
Pastors in the past and I have butted heads over how we treat the lost. When we wrecked and Terry had broken vertabrae, one of the church members sent her gay daughter over every day for 2 weeks to help me at the nursery. Angela is about my age, has led a rough life filled with addictions and wrecks and all sorts of horror stories, but we’ve always gotten along. She has been clean and sober and celibate for a number of years. Well old JJ comes by one day and offers to help and when I tell him Angela has been helping he begins this conversation…
JJ…has she denounced her sinful lifestyle
me…I don’t know, that topic hasn’t come up
JJ…then as a Christian I don’t think we should associate with her until she has denounced her sinful lifestyle
me…excuse me. did I understand you correctly? We are to NOT have ANYTHING to do with people who haven’t publically denounced their sinful lifestyle?
JJ…that’s right. We could be led into sin; others could see us with that person and our witness would be tarnished.
me…But how would I witness to them, how can I be-friend them, how can I be an example of God’s love if I shun them, refuse to have anything to do with them
JJ….our only contact with such people should be to present them the gospel, not be friends with them
me…I totally disagree with that thinking. Even Jesus ate with the publicans and sinners
JJ…but he witnessed to them
me…yes He did and I have witnessed to Angela. However, I don’t plan to brow beat her into salvation
JJ…you just shouldn’t spend a lot of time with her as long as she is in her sinful lifestyle
me…Look, she is helping me at the nursery, something none of the church folks have offered to do…her mother sending her over here has the been IT as far as help from church. We talk about any and everything. I am not going out to gay bars with her, we don’t share a lifestyle, we don’t party…we are just two women trying to get the work done here at the nursery. HOWEVER, in the past she, Terry and I have spent time together shopping and such and enjoyed her company. If that is a problem with you, then maybe YOU have the problem and not Terry and I.
With that he got all puffed up like a toad frog and honestly, didn’t have anything to do with me after that. I didn’t care. I didn’t like him either and he couldn’t preach worth a hoot.
my friend* Good morning, Klara. You have written such a thoughtful and articulate response. As usual, there is so much to learn from you. Thank you.
First, I am glad you responded to the pastor the way you did. You stayed true to yourself and spoke your truth. Sometimes that’s not easy to do but you always seem to manage it.
Second, I am glad to hear you and Jan both say you don’t think I represent Satan. Until a few years ago it never occurred to me that anyone would think I represent Satan, but then that woman at Al-Anon said as much and it made me wonder how many others perceive me that way. I appreciate very much that you and Jan stay true to your faith but do not proselytize and are open-minded enough to be friends with people outside the fold.
You are a good teacher of the Bible. I have always appreciated the holy books of the religions of the world because they contain so much wisdom, and are often so spot on when it comes to age-old human behaviors. Some things never change–every generation since the beginning of recorded time has had to deal with such primal issues as sex, jealousy, greed, and hedonistic behavior in general. Not much good comes from any of it but the pleasure principle is always there, always has been, and always will be. It’s good that there are holy books that help us try to get a handle on it all.
I agree with you that much (if not all) that is in the Bible is subject to interpretation–which is why, I suppose, there are so many faiths even among Protestants.
Al was so anti-religion and so ignorant of anything in the Bible that he would not tolerate any conversation about it unless it reinforced his atheism. During the years I was with him, I learned to suppress any discussion about the Bible or any sort of spirituality. I so appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions with such thoughtfulness. Thank you.
*me* , thank you for your receptiveness to what I think and for your respect. Any time you have questions, feel free to ask. If I can help, I will.
I’d like to share another story that came to mind when you mentioned that some people might see you as Satan. It’s not exactly like that, but still…
Brenda’s husband, Bobby was a rough and rowdy man. He lived life to the fullest, drank hearty and loved deeply and not just Brenda, I am sad to say. But even though he was as opinionated as they come, very bigoted toward the blacks, otherwise, he had a heart of gold. If you were a widow woman he would do anything you needed done and you didn’t even have to be young and pretty. 😀 If you had a need, he helped. He always carried turkeys or ham to the shut ins at Christmas, always helped anyone who needed help but he never went to church. In fact, he said he had been too bad for God to save him.
On the flip side of Bobby was Al, mother’s 2nd husband. He was tight fisted, tight lipped, heartless when it came to the suffering of those less fortunate. He would blame the sufferer rather than feel compassion. He was one of those people that my mama always said..*wouldn’t spit on you if your guts were on fire*. Now in my mind, that was as low as one can get.
One day mother got to harping on the fact that Bobby didn’t attend church. I listened and would point out that still he was a good man, he did good for others, he had settled down and didn’t mistreat Brenda any more…and on and on I extolled his many virtues.
Yet like a broken record mother always came back to the fact that he didn’t attend church and didn’t admit to being saved.
Finally in total frustration I said…mother, it’s none of our business whether he’s saved or not. That is between him and God. We’ve all witnessed to him, we’ve all lived our lives before him. Let it go. Besides…in my book he is more Christian than Al who is there every time the door opens on the church house and wouldn’t help you if you were broken down on the side of the road. Makes no difference whether you darken the door of the church, it’s what is on the inside that counts in the end.
And I truly believe that. Yes, I believe personally in salvation. But I also believe that this is a personal, very personal thing between each person and God. I believe that there are many very good people in the world and Pam, my friend, you are one of those good people, just as Bobby was a very good person.