God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path….Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.
~Ecclesiastes 7:29 and 7:20, NLT
Disregard for one’s depravity coupled with an arrogant self-sufficiency is a lethal combination that produces fools.
~David George Moore
Duane Garrett has Ecclesiastes 7:19-29 as one related passage. The two verses above that closely resemble Romans 3:10 and Isaiah 53:6 are the book ends and they express the truth that all men, male and female, are sinners and hopelessly depraved. Between these two verses about our universal sin is a very interesting soliloquy which goes like this… I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise.” But it didn’t work. Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find. I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness. I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare. “This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at the matter from every possible angle. Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman!
Dr. Garrett says, Verses 26-28 seem to be outrageously anti-woman unless two things are considered:  The ‘Seductive Woman’ is not a prostitute but woman in general and  it refers to domestic conflict between a husband and a wife, as given from the man’s perspective based on Genesis 3:16. I know you are now curious about Genesis 3:16 so here it is…Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you. ” You might also keep in mind that Solomon is addressing men. By the way, there are not a half-dozen women who read this blog, it is mostly men but I do not want to offend the few female readers I have. Before I get into my theory about Solomon’s views of women; let me reassure you that Genesis 3:16 is not a printing error, it is a fact. There is no question that women are more intuitive than men. They are more cunning, calculating, clever and conniving: to put it bluntly, women are very manipulative by nature. Men think through their hormones: we are the dumb ox, not the cunning fox. We generally have the upper hand when it comes to brute strength but we are not as intuitive as the females, generally speaking. Many times we feel like we are the last to know and that because we assume too much. An intelligent women is usually two or three steps ahead of the man. She has a plan and she is working it. The man doesn’t know about her plan until she is ready to reveal it or he finds out by chance. I find it entertaining to watch men who think their wives are idiots. They take great pride in being in control but all the while she is pulling strings and they are playing right into her plan.
Now regarding Solomon and his views of women. If you study scripture as a whole, you are going to discover that Solomon had a low view of women. Solomon’s mother was a very conniving woman. I am totally convinced, she had a lust for power. David wanted sex, Bathsheba wanted to be queen. If I’m wrong, I will apologize when we get to heaven but I’m not wrong. This woman torn David’s entire family to pieces. All of David’s domestic woes came after his affair with Bathsheba. I’m telling you folks, she knew exactly what time David took his evening walk on his balcony and she knew he was watching her undress. Solomon was a wise man and he saw Genesis 3:16 in his own mother. Solomon says something very interesting in 9:16, “Enjoy life with the woman whom you love.” The AV, ESV, RSV and many others read, “Enjoy life with the wife whom you love.” Either way, notice it is singular…woman or wife, not women or wives. This is very interesting: Solomon had a thousand wives and yet he never found one to his satisfaction. Some believe that his heart was set on Abishag and that for whatever reason it was an unrequited love. I don’t know what experience caused Solomon to have a bad attitude toward women but his thousand wives did not make him happy. Solomon may have never enjoyed what many men of lesser degree enjoy, “A life with THE woman you love.”
- Duane A. Garrett is the John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
- After announcing the NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER meeting at Central, I was late because I thought it started at 11:30. I missed part of Joe David’s speech but got there in time to pray.