The Book of Ecclesiastes

By COGwriter

Introduction

The Book of Ecclesiates has some similarities to the Book of Proverbs.

The Book of Proverbs starts out with the following:

1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:

2 To know wisdom and instruction,
To perceive the words of understanding, (Proverbs 1:1-2)

As it turns out, it has been historically accepted the King Solomon wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Solomon probably wrote Ecclesiastes around 935 BC, a few years before he is believed to have died (see also Timelines and Early Church History).

However, many secularist modern scholars, who do not believe the Bible, have their own view:

Ecclesiastes (/ɪˌklziˈæstz/; Greek: Ἐκκλησιαστής, Ekklēsiastēs, Hebrew: קֹהֶלֶת‬, qōheleṯ) is one of 24 books of the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, where it is classified as one of the Ketuvim (or "Writings"). Originally written c. 450–200 BCE, it is also among the canonical Wisdom Books in the Old Testament of most denominations of Christianity. The title Ecclesiastes is a Latin transliteration of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Kohelet, the pseudonym used by the author of the book.

In traditional Jewish texts, King Solomon is named as the author, although modern scholars reject this. ...

The presence of Persian loan-words and Aramaisms points to a date no earlier than about 450 BCE,[2] while the latest possible date for its composition is 180 BCE, when another Jewish writer, Ben Sira, quotes from it.[14] (Ecclesiastes. Wikipedia, accessed 02/04/19)

Despite the assertions above, the presence of a few Persian loan-words does not prove a much later date. Solomon had wives from many lands and could have easily incorporated words from various non-Hebrew cultures--particularly since a royal leader who be more inclined to use foreign words than a non-royal. Furthermore, it is widely understood that Ezra (c. 450 BCE) who the Bible describes as a priest and scribe (Ezra 7:11-12), did some editing of the Old Testament. He is likely the one who added statements about Moses' death, etc. in Deuteronomy 34:5-12 (some sources suspect that Joshua wrote those). Anyway, presuming Ezra did minor edits to Ecclesiastes, he could well have used Persian and other loan words to replace Hebrew words which had been obscure or lost their meaning by his time in the 5th century B.C.

The Bible, itself, says that a son of David and one who was King of Israel wrote the Book of Ecclesiates. Presuming it means one literally a son, as opposed to a grandson or greatgrandson, etc., this could only be Solomon. Furthermore, the references in Eccesiastes 2:4-8 about wealth and projects in Jerusalem would best apply to Solomon as opposed to any other king in David's line (cf. 2 Chronicles 9:13-27).

Thus, since Solomon reigned in the 10th century BC, a date during that century is really the only logical one.

A related sermon is available: Ecclesiastes 1-3: Vanity or Biblical Focus?

Ecclesiastes 1

The Book of Ecclesiates begins with what we call chapter 1, and that with the following verses:

1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher;
"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2, NKJV throughout unless otherwise noted)

The word vanity means "worthless, empty, fruitless, transient."

What caused Solomon to look at life this way?

Despite his accomplishments, Solomon could see that life is filled with sorrow.

Decades ago, George Ritter wrote:

Perhaps as no other man, Solomon understood the futility, uselessness, and emptiness of so many human endeavors. He realized that one of the greatest of human inclinations was to become intensely involved in activities which over the long run produce no tangible, lasting results. The same dimension of human futility can often exist in religion as well. Without realizing it, a worshipper can sometimes slide into religious habits which are meaningless as far as God is concerned. Mindlessly repeating the same prayers, meditating for hours daily, doing so many laps around the beads — all represent vain and misdirected forms of worship. (Ritter GP. In Vain Do They Worship MeGood News, June 1975)

As far as religion goes, the Jesus taught:

6 ... Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

8 "These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" (Matthew 15:6-9)

24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)

You do not want to worship God in vain, but in truth--the word of God is truth (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17)--but you also do not want your life to be vain as much of Solomon's was.

Solomon failed to do, as Jesus taught, to "seek first the Kingdom of God" (Matthew 6:33) and finally realized that by failing to do so, whatever he may of accomplished was vanity. He often had the wrong priorities.

That applies to more than just Solomon.

We must do things God's way, otherwise what we do is vanity. Notice something else that Jesus taught:

5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

People can do all kinds of worthless things, but for lasting goodness, we are to do things God's way. Jesus also taught:

27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him. (John 6:27)

Going after the physical is vanity, being led by God's Spirit leads to everlasting life.

Solomon continued with:

3 What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun? 4 One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.

His statement about the earth abiding forever is consistent with Jesus' words:

5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

Solomon also wrote:

5 The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, And hastens to the place where it arose. 6 The wind goes toward the south, And turns around to the north; The wind whirls about continually, And comes again on its circuit. 7 All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again.

The above brought the following to mind:

2 "While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease." (Genesis 8:22)

25 "Thus says the Lord: 'If My covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, 26 then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his descendants to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will cause their captives to return, and will have mercy on them.'" (Jeremiah 33:25-26)

At least until the coming of the new earth (cf. 2 Peter 3:3), day and night and weather issues are to continue.

Solomon also wrote:

8 All things are full of labor; Man cannot express it.The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor the ear filled with hearing.

All things Solomon is referring to are the fruits of God's, mankind's, or other labor. And he was certainly correct that the eyes are not satisfied to see no more nor the ears to no longer hear.

Solomon continued:

9 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which it may be said,"See, this is new"? It has already been in ancient times before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after.

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary states:

Rather, "no new thing at all"; as in Nu 11:6. This is not meant in a general sense; but there is no new source of happiness (the subject in question) which can be devised; the same round of petty pleasures, cares, business, study, wars, &c., being repeated over and over again

Here is a literal rendering of Ecclesiastes 1:9:

9 What is that which hath been? it is that which is, and what is that which hath been done? it is that which is done, and there is not an entirely new thing under the sun. (Young's Literal Translation)

So, it does not look like Solomon was referring to technology but basically human behaviour.

Now to verse 12:

12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised.

Now wisdom was a good thing to seek out as scriptures in the Old and New Testament show:

5 Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;
Love her, and she will keep you.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom. (Proverbs 4:5-7)

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8)

Now, Solomon was wise as God granted him great wisdom:

5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, "Ask! What shall I give you?"

6 And Solomon said: "You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7 Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?"

10 The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 Then God said to him: "Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. (1 Kings 3:5-12)

29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. (1 Kings 4:29)

23 So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. 24 Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. (1 Kings 10:23-24)

Notice what wise Solomon observed

14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. 15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, And what is lacking cannot be numbered.

He observed that humans wasted their lives on things that did not matter--that they had the wrong priorities. And that, carnally-speaking, many things cannot be fixed.

The Apostle Paul essentially pointed that out as well:

6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:6-8)

Solomon continued with:

16 I communed with my heart, saying, "Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge."

That verse is another reason to point to Solomon as the author of Ecclesiastes.

Solomon continued with:

17 And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.

While the Bible encourages wisdom, it discourages people from trying to know madness and folly.

18 For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

There is value in having spiritual wisdom, but to focus on carnal wisdom does not bring happiness, but sorrow.

From a biblical perspective, consider the following:

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (James 3:13-17)

Sorrow comes following the wrong type of wisdom, but recall that even Jesus was prophesied to have sorrows:

3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3)

A far as "he who increases knowledge increases sorrow" goes, consider something that Jesus taught:

48 For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:48)

Consistent with that, James wrote:

1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. (James 3:1)

Ecclesiastes 2

Now lets start to look at chapter 2:

1 I said in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure"; but surely, this also was vanity.

Physical pleasures do not last. Even sin can seem pleasurable, but that does not last:

24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. (Hebrews 11:24-26)

That does NOT mean that God does not want you to have any pleasures. Notice that eternity includes pleasures:

8 I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:8-11)

Solomon further wrote:

2 I said of laughter — "Madness!"; and of mirth, "What does it accomplish?"

While God is not opposed to laughter (cf. Psalm 126:2) and "A merry heart does good, like {natural} medicine" (Proverbs 17:22), making the pursuit of laughter one's goal is not a real accomplishment. Solomon realized that.

But Solomon apparently spent much of his time following his lusts:

3 I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.

4 I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. 5 I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. 7 I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds.

8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and treasure such as kings and the provinces have as their own; I got me men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, women very many. (Ecclesiastes 2:8, Jewish Publication Society)

The Apostle Paul wrote:

3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. (Titus 3:3)

Sinful/prideful lusts are deceptive. All need to be careful about being "hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:13).

Solomon pursued them, while still having wisdom as he wrote:

9 So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. 11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.

Solomon had the wrong priorities. He was powerful and wealthy and had pretty much every physical thing he could have.

Consider also the following from 2 Chronicles:

13 The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold, 14 besides what the traveling merchants and traders brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon. 15 And King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of hammered gold went into each shield. 16 He also made three hundred shields of hammered gold; three hundred shekels of gold went into each shield. The king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon.

17 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. 18 The throne had six steps, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne; there were armrests on either side of the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the armrests. 19 Twelve lions stood there, one on each side of the six steps; nothing like this had been made for any other kingdom.

20 All King Solomon's drinking vessels were gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Not one was silver, for this was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon. 21 For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Hiram. Once every three years the merchant ships came, bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys.

22 So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. 23 And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 24 Each man brought his present: articles of silver and gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules, at a set rate year by year.

25 Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem.

26 So he reigned over all the kings from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar trees as abundant as the sycamores which are in the lowland. (2 Chronicles 9:13-27)

Comparing this to parts of Ecclesiastes demonstrates another reason that it is logical to conclude that Solomon was the author.

Solomon had what many men wished they could have throughout history.

Lusts of the flesh did not satisfy.

Solomon continued:

12 Then I turned myself to consider wisdom and madness and folly; For what can the man do who succeeds the king? — Only what he has already done.

He concluded that no one of his time could do more than he, but that did not satisfy.

He considered following lusts vain and foolish. He continued with:

13 Then I saw that wisdom excels folly As light excels darkness.

So, he saw value in wisdom. He continued with:

14 The wise man's eyes are in his head, But the fool walks in darkness.Yet I myself perceived That the same event happens to them all.

He concluded benefits in being wise, but then realized that wisdom does not save one.

The Bible teaches:

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4-10).

Solomon, in contrast, seemed to hope that his wisdom and his works would save him, but concluded that would not be the case.

Solomon continued with:

15 So I said in my heart,"As it happens to the fool, It also happens to me, And why was I then more wise? "Then I said in my heart, "This also is vanity." 16 For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool!

He was not happy when he concluded various facts of life and death. He continued with:

17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Solomon had the wrong priorities and seems to have wasted much of his life on things that did not matter--"grasping for the wind."

He continued with:

18 Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.

He started to figure even more out. And, perhaps it should be mentioned that the one who reigned after him, his son Rehoboam, acted foolishly:

1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king. 2 So it happened, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard it (he was still in Egypt, for he had fled from the presence of King Solomon and had been dwelling in Egypt), 3 that they sent and called him. Then Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, 4 "Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you."

5 So he said to them, "Depart for three days, then come back to me." And the people departed.

6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon while he still lived, and he said, "How do you advise me to answer these people?"

7 And they spoke to him, saying, "If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever."

8 But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him. 9 And he said to them, "What advice do you give? How should we answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, 'Lighten the yoke which your father put on us'?"

10 Then the young men who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, "Thus you should speak to this people who have spoken to you, saying, 'Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter on us' — thus you shall say to them: 'My little finger shall be thicker than my father's waist! 11 And now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!'"

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had directed, saying, "Come back to me the third day." 13 Then the king answered the people roughly, and rejected the advice which the elders had given him; 14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!" 15 So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from the Lord, that He might fulfill His word, which the Lord had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. (1 Kings 12:1-15)

Now the Bible does teach "in the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14). Yet, it also specifically recommends "wise counsel" (Proverbs 1:5, 20:18). Sadly, like many today, Rehoboam chose to listen to counselors who said what he preferred hearing.

His counsellors appealed to his vanity, his pride, and lust for money. The Bible warns about that and the deceitfulness of riches:

10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10)

22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:22-23)

It is not that money, of itself, is evil. But many have made wrong decisions related to it.

In this Laodicean time (Revelation 3:14-21), various ones will counsel with different groups and often pick one who gives them the answer they want to hear--this was warned against (2 Timothy 4:3-4)--but has happened repeatedly. Philadelphian Christians support the end time work that Jesus wants His people to have to go through the doors He opens to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (cf. Revelation 3:7-13).

Do not let those who will not truly rely on the Bible aid you in departing from the truth. Yet, that is what has happened, at least to a lukewarm degree, in the 21st century (cf. Revelation 3:14-19).

Although Solomon built a magnificient temple and home in twenty years time (1 Kings 9:10), notice what he wrote:

20 Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun.

He also was concerned about the fate of his projects after he was gone:

21 For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.

Solomon then concludes:

24 Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.

The Book of Genesis shows that God intended for humans to work, eat, etc.

But then Solomon makes some personal conclusions:

25 For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I?

Solomon wrote:

26 For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Solomon again sees some value in wisdom, but missed out on understanding its purpose.

Unlike Solomon, you can know!

24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. (Colossians 1:24-26)

19 For it is written:

"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."

20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:19-22)

Notice that the mystery is not given for being wise in this world. When he wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes, there were spiritually important things Solomon clearly did not know.

Ecclesiastes 3

Chapter 3 begins with

1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:

Before going further, there are some who prefer sermons that do not have so many scriptures as we typically have in our sermons. But notice what the Apostle Paul told the evangelist Timothy:

2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2-5)

So, it is ALWAYS the time for the ministry to preach the word of God--as well as to be watchful.

Getting back to Ecclesiastes:

2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; 3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, ...

A time for mourning, for example, is the death of a loved one (cf. Genesis 23;2).

Continuing:

4 ... And a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;

The Bible, for example, has some times for refraining from marital embracing (cf. Levticus 18:19; Ezekiel 18:6; 1 Corinthians 7:5).

Continuing:

6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; 7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; 8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.

As far as Christians go, this is not now a time of war:

18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. 20 Therefore

"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:18-21)

36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." (John 18:36)

The time will come, after Jesus' return and the resurrection, that Christians will fight:

14 ... "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." (Jude 14-15)

15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" 16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying:

"We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great,
And should destroy those who destroy the earth." (Revelation 11:15-18)

But that is for the future.

Solomon then returned to the subject of work:

9 What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.

So, work is something God wants people to do. God will have those who become His perform works to make eternity better. See also Why Did God Make Anything?

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

Yet, Christians know that God has a plan for eternity--the Kingdom of God to make eternity better.

Solomon also wrote:

12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor — it is the gift of God.

How do you rejoice? By being thankful. Humans should do good and properly enjoy the good fruits of all their labor.

Solomon also wrote:

14 I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.

God has an eternal plan.

3 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations. (Psalm 145:13)

3 How great are His signs, And how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And His dominion is from generation to generation. (Daniel 4:3)

27 Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him. (Daniel 7:27)

Notice that the saints are going to be given an everlasting kingdom. That is consistent with what the Apostle Peter was inspired to write:

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10-11)

Solomon goes back to the repeated nature of humankind, and that God will judge:

15 That which is has already been, And what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is past.

The Apostles Peter and Paul also noted that all would give an account:

5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:5)

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

This really will happen.

Solomon continued with:

16 Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, Wickedness was there; And in the place of righteousness, Iniquity was there.
17 I said in my heart,

"God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work."

All that you have been through is preparing YOU. Everything you have been through has been preparing you for the calling and work God has for you! (see also What is the Meaning of Life?).

Solomon then wanted to remind people that they have animalistic tendencies and will die like animals do:

18 I said in my heart, "Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals."

19 For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.

But there is a difference that Solomon points out:

21 Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth?

Upon death, the spirit of humans returns to God (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:8). The human spirit is there, sort of like a saved computer file of your memory and character--in a sleep-like state (Psalm 13:3; 76:6)--and is saved for the resurrection (Ecclesiastes 3:21; John 3:13; Ezekiel 37:11-14; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54). But, the spirit of animals seeming comes to an end (Ecclesiastes 3:21) as animals are not ever mentioned in any resurrection (for more on resurrections, check out the article: What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections?).

Back to Solomon:

22 So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

Again, Solomon pushes the value/benefit of work.

A sermon on the first three chapter is available: Ecclesiastes 1-3: Vanity or Biblical Focus?

Ecclesiastes 4

Chapter four begins with:

1 Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun:
And look! The tears of the oppressed,But they have no comforter — On the side of their oppressors there is power, But they have no comforter. 2 Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead, More than the living who are still alive. 3 Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, Who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

Carnally speaking, life does not make sense (cf. (Romans 8:6-8). Notice also

Indian man to sue parents for giving birth to him

7 Feb 2019

A 27-year-old Indian man plans to sue his parents for giving birth to him without his consent.

Mumbai businessman Raphael Samuel told the BBC that it's wrong to bring children into the world because they then have to put up with lifelong suffering. ...

Mr Samuel's belief is rooted in what's called anti-natalism - a philosophy that argues that life is so full of misery that people should stop procreating immediately.

"There's no point to humanity. So many people are suffering. If humanity is extinct, Earth and animals would be happier. They'll certainly be better off. Also no human will then suffer. Human existence is totally pointless." https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-47154287

Solomon seemed to have a similar attitude.

Solomon also wrote about pride and envy:

4 Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Pride and envy are a waste--vanity.

Solomon commented about fools:

5 The fool folds his hands And consumes his own flesh.

The actions (and/or inactions) of a fool results in things that are bad for the fool. The Book of Proverbs has a lot to say about fools. Here is one example:

8 The wise in heart will receive commands,
But a prating fool will fall.

9 He who walks with integrity walks securely,
But he who perverts his ways will become known. (Proverbs 10:8-9).

Solomon also wrote:

6 Better a handful with quietness Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.

This seems to be a warning about contentment and not striving to not seek first money. Notice one of Solomon's proverbs:

4 Do not overwork to be rich;
Because of your own understanding, cease!
5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not?
For riches certainly make themselves wings;
They fly away like an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:4-5)

The Apostle Paul wrote:

6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

This looks to confirm the comment in Ecclesiates 4:6, as well as the next few verses:

7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun: 8 There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother.Yet there is no end to all his labors, Nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, "For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?" This also is vanity and a grave misfortune.

To accumulate riches for only yourself, while suffering more than you need to in order to do so, is vain and as Solomon also pointed out, a grave misfortune.

Solomon continued with:

9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

This is not just an endorsement of marriage, but also cooperation, family ties, and teamwork.

Remember that God is a family (Ephesians 3:14-15) and that the Father and Son have a type of family relationship.

Solomon also wrote:

13 Better a poor and wise youth Than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.

Well, the world tends not to believe this, nor--publicly at least--will many leaders admit this.

14 For he comes out of prison to be king, Although he was born poor in his kingdom.

The Cambridge commentary states:

14. For out of prison he cometh to reign] The pronouns are ambiguous in the Hebrew as in English, and the clauses have consequently been taken in very different ways, as referring to one and the same person, or to the two who had been named in the preceding verse (1) “For one cometh out of prison to reign, though he (the young successor) was born poor in his kingdom” (that of the old king, or that which was afterwards to be his own); or (2) “For one cometh out of prison to reign, while a king becomes a beggar in his kingdom.”

Another interpretation is that this was a reference to Joseph--and while that is consistent with the next two verses, it is not clear enough for me, at least, to assert it.

Elliot's Commentary states, related to the KJV rendering "For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor":

Becometh.—Instead of this translation, it is better to render, in his kingdom he was even poor; but there is ambiguity in the Hebrew, as in the English, whether the antecedent of the “his” and the “he” is the old king or the new one.

So, what this verse seems to be saying is that the king who would not listen ended up with a kingdom of poor.

Solomon continued with:

15 I saw all the living who walk under the sun; They were with the second youth who stands in his place. 16 There was no end of all the people over whom he was made king; Yet those who come afterward will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Even being king in this age, is physical and vanity.

Ecclesiastes 5

Chapter 5 starts with:

1 Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.

Behave properly when you attend church services. Do not be like fools who do not know that they do evil.

2 Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool's voice is known by his many words.

Words do matter. Be careful what you say. Many have made rash vows before God that they have not kept.

Solomon continued with:

4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools.Pay what you have vowed — 5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.

Related to this, Jesus taught:

33 "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. (Matthew 5:33-37)

Pride and vanity get people to swear or declare vows that they will not actually fulfill.

Humans are not to swear because we do not have the power to certainly make things come to pass--only God does (cf. Isaiah 46:9-11).

Solomon continued with:

6 Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.

Bearing false witness is a violation of the nineth commandment.

Remember the Apostle John recorded:

42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God." (John 8:42-47)

The devil wants you to sin and bear false witness. Lying is his nature.

More and more lies are expected in the time of the end--but we must rely on the word of God:

13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:13-17)

In the end, the Beast power and his false prophet will promote many lies (see also The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast).

Solomon continued with:

8 If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them.

God will judge.

Solomon then pointed out:

9 Moreover the profit of the land is for all; even the king is served from the field.

Even the high and mighty need benefit from the dirt. Even those of us who are not considered high or mighty can now be used by God:

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

Solomon had trouble understanding some of that, but the Book of Ecclesiastes basically reflects that.

Solomon then wrote about greed:

10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.

He then mentioned that there are troubles associated with more wealth:

11 When goods increase, They increase who eat them; So what profit have the owners Except to see them with their eyes?

In modern times, we see people building walls, hiring security, etc. It is not that having more wealth is not beneficial, but there are problems that come with it.

Notice also the following about the ‘success’ of the ‘winners of the lottery’:

The ‘curse’ of winning the lottery?

February 6, 2018

Be careful what you wish for.

The New Hampshire woman who won the $559.7 million Powerball jackpot last month is refusing to claim her prize until she’s assured anonymity. And she may have a compelling reason to seek the guarantee.

It turns out winning a jackpot of millions or even thousands of dollars can lead to financial ruin — or even death. Several recent lottery winners have turned up dead in communities across the country. …

Sometimes hitting the jackpot simply brings “more problems,” as rapper Notorious B.I.G. put it. …

“Of the thousands of lottery winners I knew, a few were happy and a few lived happily ever after,” Edward Ugel, author of Money for Nothing: One Man’s Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions, told the Daily Beast. “But you would be blown away to see how many winners wish they’d never won.” http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/06/curse-winning-lottery.html

January 12, 2016

If you win the $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot, you may not be as lucky as you may think. Many winners befall the so-called curse of the lottery, with some squandering their fortunes and others meeting tragic ends.

“So many of them wind up unhappy or wind up broke. People have had terrible things happen,” said Don McNay, 56, a financial consultant to lottery winners and the author of Life Lessons from the Lottery. “People commit suicide. People run though their money. Easy comes, easy goes. They go through divorce or people die.”

“It’s just upheaval that they’re not ready for,” McNay told TIME on Tuesday. “It’s the curse of the lottery because it made their lives worse instead of improving them.”

About 70 percent of people who suddenly receive a windfall of cash will lose it within a few years, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education. http://time.com/4176128/powerball-jackpot-lottery-winners/.

So, even those who ‘win’ still lose.

Notice also:

5 reasons you don’t really want to win the lottery

Decmber 29, 2017

No one wants to discourage you from winning, but here’s a reality check: Loot can bring some ugly into your life, so you had better be ready for it. These are the ways megabucks can megabackfire.

1. Your friends will take advantage.

Once word gets out that you have the winning ticket, you can expect everyone to try to cozy up to you, …

2. Your relationship could fail.

Money woes can strain a relationship. But those who come into big windfalls find coming into a lot of money can also overtax a relationship. …

3. You’ll have an increased risk of bankruptcy.

Given the fact that you’d have enough dough to clear up your debt, bankruptcy seems a long shot after winning the lottery. But experts say lottery winners actually are at greater risk of bankruptcy. …

4. You’ll have to fight off a host of long-lost family members.

Jeff Motske, a financial planner and president of Trilogy Financial Services, headquartered in Huntington Beach, California, says lottery winners often become targets for long-lost relatives who knock on the door with one hand and hold the other palm up. Somehow they think when one family member wins the lotto, the whole family wins the lotto. …

5. You’ll be a target for a litany of lawsuits and scams.

Hoping to carve out a chunk of your fortune, Motske says lottery winners are often targets for bogus lawsuits because everyone starts to come after them. https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/5-reasons-you-dont-want-win-lottery-money-1264.php

You also seem to have an increased risk of being killed (see http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/06/curse-winning-lottery.html).

Many people fantasize about winning the lottery--but do not realize how much people will push for their winnings.

Of course, many are convinced winning a large amount of money will improve their lives.

Yet, that is most often not the case.

Furthermore, most lose, of course, when they buy lottery tickets.

And, as I have written for years, the lottery is a tax on the poor.

The odds of winning the lottery are worse than most other forms of gambling.

And, reports by lottery winners show that they are often less happy after they win.

Gamblers, of course, typically lose.

Many deceive themselves about what they would do with large gambling winnings. Some gamblers seem to try to make some type of deal in their heads with God, hoping that He will decide that they should win.

A decade or so ago, I recall a scene from a movie called Bruce Almighty and the lottery. The premise of the movie was someone named Bruce (played by Jim Carry) complained about God and how he did not feel that God was doing His job right. So, in the movie, God allowed Bruce to be able to hear and answer prayers for a region.

It does not take long for Bruce to get overwhelmed by the process. So, for a time he decides to give everyone whatever they asked for. So, with the next lottery ticket drawing, all those in the area Bruce was responsible for, were allowed to win. The winners all acted very pleased when they won, until they realized that each would only get a few dollars as the prize was split among all who asked ‘God’ to win in that area. They were not pleased that they had to share the winnings with so many others.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4)

I suspect that many have prayed that God would allow them to win the lottery or other forms of gambling. Few, if any, have prayed that someone they are not close to, will win.

We also have an article to read Gambling and Sin: Is it a Sin for Christians to Gamble? as well as a related video is Gambling: A Covetous Sin? video on this you can watch.

Solomon also wrote:

12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet,Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep. 13 There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun:Riches kept for their owner to his hurt. 14 But those riches perish through misfortune;When he begets a son, there is nothing in his hand.

It is not always good to have much wealth, and many lottery winners have learned this the hard way.

Furthermore, Solomon wrote:

15 As he came from his mother's womb, naked shall he return, To go as he came; And he shall take nothing from his labor Which he may carry away in his hand.

Solomon, who was incredibly rich, did not like this:

16 And this also is a severe evil — Just exactly as he came, so shall he go. And what profit has he who has labored for the wind? 17 All his days he also eats in darkness,And he has much sorrow and sickness and anger.

But there is no advantage a rich person has over a poor one after death.

Solomon indicated that people who can be content with their work, food, etc., even if they are not rich, have received a gift of God:

18 Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. 19 As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor — this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.

Proper work and proper eating and drinking is good in this life.

Ecclesiastes 6


6 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: 2 A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction.
3 If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or indeed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he — 4 for it comes in vanity and departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness. 5 Though it has not seen the sun or known anything, this has more rest than that man, 6 even if he lives a thousand years twice — but has not seen goodness. Do not all go to one place?
7 All the labor of man is for his mouth,And yet the soul is not satisfied. 8 For what more has the wise man than the fool?What does the poor man have,Who knows how to walk before the living? 9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire.This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
10 Whatever one is, he has been named already,For it is known that he is man;And he cannot contend with Him who is mightier than he. 11 Since there are many things that increase vanity,How is man the better?
12 For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun?
The Value of Practical Wisdom
7 A good name is better than precious ointment,And the day of death than the day of one's birth; 2 Better to go to the house of mourningThan to go to the house of feasting,For that is the end of all men;And the living will take it to heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter,For by a sad countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wiseThan for a man to hear the song of fools. 6 For like the crackling of thorns under a pot,So is the laughter of the fool.This also is vanity. 7 Surely oppression destroys a wise man's reason,And a bribe debases the heart.
8 The end of a thing is better than its beginning;The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9 Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry,For anger rests in the bosom of fools. 10 Do not say,"Why were the former days better than these?"For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance,And profitable to those who see the sun. 12 For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense,But the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it.
13 Consider the work of God;For who can make straight what He has made crooked? 14 In the day of prosperity be joyful,But in the day of adversity consider:Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other,So that man can find out nothing that will come after him.
15 I have seen everything in my days of vanity:
There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness,And there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness.
16 Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise:Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Do not be overly wicked, Nor be foolish:Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you grasp this,And also not remove your hand from the other;For he who fears God will escape them all.
19 Wisdom strengthens the wiseMore than ten rulers of the city.
20 For there is not a just man on earth who does goodAnd does not sin.
21 Also do not take to heart everything people say,Lest you hear your servant cursing you. 22 For many times, also, your own heart has knownThat even you have cursed others.
23 All this I have proved by wisdom.I said, "I will be wise";But it was far from me. 24 As for that which is far off and exceedingly deep,Who can find it out? 25 I applied my heart to know,To search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things,To know the wickedness of folly,Even of foolishness and madness. 26 And I find more bitter than deathThe woman whose heart is snares and nets,Whose hands are fetters.He who pleases God shall escape from her,But the sinner shall be trapped by her.
27 "Here is what I have found," says the Preacher,"Adding one thing to the other to find out the reason, 28 Which my soul still seeks but I cannot find:One man among a thousand I have found,But a woman among all these I have not found. 29 Truly, this only I have found:That God made man upright,But they have sought out many schemes."
8 Who is like a wise man?And who knows the interpretation of a thing?A man's wisdom makes his face shine,And the sternness of his face is changed.
Obey Authorities for God's Sake
2 I say, "Keep the king's commandment for the sake of your oath to God. 3 Do not be hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand for an evil thing, for he does whatever pleases him."
4 Where the word of a king is, there is power;And who may say to him, "What are you doing?" 5 He who keeps his command will experience nothing harmful;And a wise man's heart discerns both time and judgment, 6 Because for every matter there is a time and judgment,Though the misery of man increases greatly. 7 For he does not know what will happen;So who can tell him when it will occur? 8 No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit,And no one has power in the day of death.There is no release from that war,And wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it.
9 All this I have seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: There is a time in which one man rules over another to his own hurt.
Death Comes to All
10 Then I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of holiness, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done. This also is vanity. 11 Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
14 There is a vanity which occurs on earth, that there are just men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity.
15 So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.
16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that is done on earth, even though one sees no sleep day or night, 17 then I saw all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. For though a man labors to discover it, yet he will not find it; moreover, though a wise man attempts to know it, he will not be able to find it.
9 For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. People know neither love nor hatred by anything they see before them. 2 All things come alike to all:
One event happens to the righteous and the wicked;To the good, the clean, and the unclean;To him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice.As is the good, so is the sinner;He who takes an oath as he who fears an oath.
3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4 But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
5 For the living know that they will die;But the dead know nothing,And they have no more reward,For the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished;Nevermore will they have a shareIn anything done under the sun.
7 Go, eat your bread with joy,And drink your wine with a merry heart;For God has already accepted your works. 8 Let your garments always be white,And let your head lack no oil.
9 Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
11 I returned and saw under the sun that —
The race is not to the swift,Nor the battle to the strong,Nor bread to the wise,Nor riches to men of understanding,Nor favor to men of skill;But time and chance happen to them all. 12 For man also does not know his time:Like fish taken in a cruel net,Like birds caught in a snare,So the sons of men are snared in an evil time,When it falls suddenly upon them.
Wisdom Superior to Folly
13 This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me: 14 There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it. 15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man.
16 Then I said:
"Wisdom is better than strength.Nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised,And his words are not heard. 17 Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heardRather than the shout of a ruler of fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war;But one sinner destroys much good."
Wisdom and Folly
10 Dead flies putrefy the perfumer's ointment,And cause it to give off a foul odor;So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor. 2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand,But a fool's heart at his left. 3 Even when a fool walks along the way,He lacks wisdom,And he shows everyone that he is a fool. 4 If the spirit of the ruler rises against you,Do not leave your post;For conciliation pacifies great offenses.
5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun,As an error proceeding from the ruler: 6 Folly is set in great dignity,While the rich sit in a lowly place. 7 I have seen servants on horses,While princes walk on the ground like servants.
8 He who digs a pit will fall into it,And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent. 9 He who quarries stones may be hurt by them,And he who splits wood may be endangered by it. 10 If the ax is dull,And one does not sharpen the edge,Then he must use more strength;But wisdom brings success.
11 A serpent may bite when it is not charmed;The babbler is no different. 12 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious,But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up; 13 The words of his mouth begin with foolishness,And the end of his talk is raving madness. 14 A fool also multiplies words.No man knows what is to be;Who can tell him what will be after him? 15 The labor of fools wearies them,For they do not even know how to go to the city!
16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,And your princes feast in the morning! 17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles,And your princes feast at the proper time — For strength and not for drunkenness! 18 Because of laziness the building decays,And through idleness of hands the house leaks. 19 A feast is made for laughter,And wine makes merry;But money answers everything.
20 Do not curse the king, even in your thought;Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom;For a bird of the air may carry your voice,And a bird in flight may tell the matter.
The Value of Diligence
11 Cast your bread upon the waters,For you will find it after many days. 2 Give a serving to seven, and also to eight,For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.
3 If the clouds are full of rain,They empty themselves upon the earth;And if a tree falls to the south or the north,In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. 4 He who observes the wind will not sow,And he who regards the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. 6 In the morning sow your seed,And in the evening do not withhold your hand;For you do not know which will prosper,Either this or that,Or whether both alike will be good.
7 Truly the light is sweet,And it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun; 8 But if a man lives many yearsAnd rejoices in them all,Yet let him remember the days of darkness,For they will be many.All that is coming is vanity.
Seek God in Early Life
9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth,And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth;Walk in the ways of your heart,And in the sight of your eyes;But know that for all theseGod will bring you into judgment. 10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart,And put away evil from your flesh,For childhood and youth are vanity.
Seek God in Early Life
12 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,Before the difficult days come,And the years draw near when you say,"I have no pleasure in them": 2 While the sun and the light,The moon and the stars,Are not darkened,And the clouds do not return after the rain; 3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,And the strong men bow down;When the grinders cease because they are few,And those that look through the windows grow dim; 4 When the doors are shut in the streets,And the sound of grinding is low;When one rises up at the sound of a bird,And all the daughters of music are brought low. 5 Also they are afraid of height,And of terrors in the way;When the almond tree blossoms,The grasshopper is a burden,And desire fails.For man goes to his eternal home,And the mourners go about the streets.
6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken,Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,Or the wheel broken at the well. 7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
8 "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher,"All is vanity."
The Whole Duty of Man
9 And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright — words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. 12 And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,For this is man's all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment,Including every secret thing,Whether good or evil.

Ecclesiastes