Great Ambitions

“You need to see that this is what I have found, says the preacher: one to one to find a conclusion — that which my soul still continually seeks but I have not found — one man in a thousand I have found but a woman in all these I have not found. But see this alone I have found: God made man upright but they sought after great ambitions.”

(Ecclesiastes 7:27-29)

The phrase “one to one” is a figure of speech that refers to piecing a puzzle together piece by piece. Solomon, as a student of wisdom and knowledge, is saying that he has painstakingly done his research to arrive at a conclusion, something that he has not been finding with adequate success — that is a righteous man of wisdom. He says that perhaps there is one in a thousand, though even here, there is the implication in the tone of what he is saying that this is a stretch. And he goes on to say that of these, he is not finding women as such.

Does that mean that Solomon thinks that all women are harlots and wish to bind your hands as mentioned in verse 26. Certainly not. The scriptures are filled with women of noble character and Solomon closes his proverbs with a song to just such a woman. Indeed, even the Shepherd Girl of the Song of Solomon is a woman of integrity. He is saying essentially that if he is only finding one righteous man in a thousand, it is even less so amongst the women he has found. And we must remember the nature of most of the women that Solomon had around him — pagan treaty-brides who seduced him into sacrificing to their idols. It is pretty easy to see how Solomon’s perception may have been skewed somewhat.

But this alone, Solomon says he has found. God made man upright (think Adam and Eve), but man has sought after many plans, many schemes (as some Bibles render this) or, man has had great ambitions. Think the tone of the conversations around the building of the tower of Babel. Man seeks to ascend to the divine. It stems back to the sin of Adam and Eve and continues into our own day where people place their own reason and their own ideas over the revelation of God. How great is Babylon’s fall!

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