Ecclesiastes 7:28: “While I was still searching but not finding— I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all.”

A popular song of Neil Young’s: “I’ve been searching for a heart of gold” expresses how people are searching high and low for integrity. Apparently, so did King Solomon in his lifetime. He authored the book of Ecclesiastes, which he finished toward the end of his life.  To put his aforementioned remark into context: Based on his life experiences he came to the conclusion that it is very hard to find an upright person, especially an upright woman. The question is, why would King Solomon mention lack of righteousness and hone in on women in particular?

We can assume that when King Solomon wrote about people he wrote about the people in his life. Solomon lived in a palace. He was surrounded by his staff and his wives. Whenever he came in touch with people outside his realm it was either dignitaries from foreign countries or people who wanted something from him. It’s hard to find a true friend in situations like these!

Marriage celebrates the fact that two people are partnering up to tackle life together. The spouse is supposed to be the person who has your back. Well, how many wives did King Solomon have? According to historical records, the size of his harem was legendary. Marriage is simply not designed for more than two. Any added spouse devastates this covenant relationship. In King Solomon’s case, the more women he accumulated, the more his chances dwindled to find a true friend.

Offending women – or any human being for that matter – never remains an isolated incident. Abuse begets more abuse and soon rears its ugly head everywhere. It did not take very long until this kind of attitude carried over into King Solomon’s business affairs. He employed slaves to build two very extravagant and elaborate buildings: the temple and his palace. Turning people into slaves significantly reduces prospects of having good and worthy relationships. That’s just a general observation.

Treating people with respect, we ultimately reap decency. And it’s far easier to notice decency if we are in the habit of promoting it. We will run into upright people as we pursue righteousness. And we will find upright women if we treat women honorably.