What does Solomon mean when he says he found a true man in a thousand, but never a true woman?—J.K.,New
Ecclesiastes 7:27-29 states (AT): “‘See, this is what I have found,’ says Koheleth, ‘adding one to one to find the total, which I have sought repeatedly, but not found; one man out of a thousand have I found, but not a woman have I found among all these. Only see this which I have found, that God made mankind upright, but they have sought out many contrivances.’” Moffatt renders verse 28 as follows: “Here is what I have found, says the Speaker: one true man in a thousand, but never a true woman!”
This can hardly be taken to mean that men are better than women. It cannot be taken literally to mean that there are no true women, for the Bible speaks of faithful women, and there are more women who are Jehovah’s witnesses today than there are men. Solomon could have been speaking from his personal experience, for he had a thousand wives and concubines all told. There may not have been a single one of these that was devoted to Jehovah God, though he doubtless did know some men who were faithful to God. So he may have had his own unhappy domestic situation in mind when he wrote as he did.
However, there is another possible meaning that seems more sound. One thousand is a multiple of ten, which represents earthly completeness. So the thousand may refer to all the women ever to live on the earth, not one of which was or is a perfect woman. Eve did not remain such, in fact never did pass the test that would have shown her perfect in integrity to God. The virgin mother of Jesus, Mary, was not perfect. As for men, the thousand there would also represent earthly completeness and embrace all the men that ever lived upon the earth. The situation of men is different from that of women. Whereas there has never been a perfect woman that held faultless obedience to Jehovah God, there has been one such man, namely Christ Jesus. He is the one true, perfect man, and the only one that ever lived on the earth. So it is very likely that this great truth is embraced by the words of Solomon at Ecclesiastes 7:27-29. The conclusion announced in verse 29 is a sweeping summation that embraces all mankind, man as a race rather than men as contrasted with women, and thus it supports the view last presented rather than the first possibility that Solomon’s words might be referring to his own personal experience