Ecclesiastes 7:15-18

15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. 16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ? 17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time? 18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.

We see that God in many different places in scripture requires people to do all his commandments, and to be perfect before him:

Genesis 17:1

1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

Deuteronomy 6:25

25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.

Deuteronomy 28 lists whole myriad of blessings and curses in cases of complete and partial obedience to God's commandments.

Joshua 1:8

8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

And at last even Solomon was blamed for not being perfect in 1 Kings 11:

4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

What did then Solomon mean when he said to "be not righteous over much" and "be not over much wicked"? In order to be perfect, does that mean person must be excessive righteous?

  • I think Solomon is not talking about plain moral issues or the things of God but the things of Ceaser. Would you pick every piece of trash you'd see in the streets? or tell your boss every single small thing you find wrong in your workplace so that you wouldn't be 'guilty' of omission? I reason that's in this line of thinking that this is about.
    – user35803
    Mar 4, 2021 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


Ecclesiastes 7:16 New International Version

Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise-- why destroy yourself?

As a Pharisee, Paul carried a sense of self-righteousness about himself egoistically.

Philippians 3:6

as to zeal, persecuting the church; as to righteousness in the law, faultless.

This is a lesson about humility.

Romans 12:3

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given you.

In order to be perfect, does that mean person must be excessive righteous?

No. On the contrary, Isaiah warned un in 64:6

all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Ultimately, we are saved by grace, Christ's righteousness:

Romans 3:24

and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

  • Exactly. It’s all about the ‘source’ of that righteousness. And Solomon was talking about his own. +1.
    – Dave
    Mar 4, 2021 at 17:12

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