Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Ecclesiastes 7:20

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not - יחטא לא lo yechta, that may not sin. There is not a man upon earth, however just he may be, and habituated to do good, but is peccable - liable to commit sin; and therefore should continually watch and pray, and depend upon the Lord. But the text does not say, the just man does commit sin, but simply that he may sin; and so our translators have rendered it in 1 Samuel 2:25, twice in 1 Kings 8:31, 1 Kings 8:46, and 2 Chronicles 6:36; and the reader is requested to consult the note on 1 Kings 8:46, where the proper construction of this word may be found, and the doctrine in question is fully considered.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The connection of this verse with Ecclesiastes 7:18-19 becomes clearer if it is borne in mind that the fear of God, wisdom, and justice, are merely different sides of one and the same character, the formation of which is the aim of all the precepts in this chapter. The words “just” Ecclesiastes 7:15, Ecclesiastes 7:20 and “righteous” Ecclesiastes 7:16 are exactly the same in Hebrew.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, yea better. It shelters from the storms and scorching heat of trouble. Wealth will not lengthen out the natural life; but true wisdom will give spiritual life, and strengthen men for services under their sufferings. Let us look upon the disposal of our condition as the work of God, and at last all will appear to have been for the best. In acts of righteousness, be not carried into heats or passions, no, not by a zeal for God. Be not conceited of thine own abilities; nor find fault with every thing, nor busy thyself in other men's matters. Many who will not be wrought upon by the fear of God, and the dread of hell, will avoid sins which ruin their health and estate, and expose to public justice. But those that truly fear God, have but one end to serve, therefore act steadily. If we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves. Every true believer is ready to say, God be merciful to me a sinner. Forget not at the same time, that personal righteousness, walking in newness of life, is the only real evidence of an interest by faith in the righteousness of the Redeemer. Wisdom teaches us not to be quick in resenting affronts. Be not desirous to know what people say; if they speak well of thee, it will feed thy pride, if ill, it will stir up thy passion. See that thou approve thyself to God and thine own conscience, and then heed not what men say of thee; it is easier to pass by twenty affronts than to avenge one. When any harm is done to us, examine whether we have not done as bad to others.