Ecclesiastes: Scriptures and Commentary

By COGwriter


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 series is available:Ecclesiastes 1-3: Vanity or Biblical Focus?, Ecclesiastes 4-6: Christian Living Makes a Difference, Ecclesiastes 7-8: Reputation, Anger Management and Walking God’s Way, and Ecclesiastes 9-12: Joyful Living, Youth, Aging, and the Commandments.

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).


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).


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."

Solomon seemed to have a similar attitude. But God does have good in store for those who love Him:

9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-11)

5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? (James 2:5)

Information on some of what God has in store is in the free online books The Gospel of the Kingdom of God and The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?.

Back to Ecclesiaster, 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. As you listen to politicians speak, they use covetous words and often appeal to envy--that is not how the Kingdom of God will operate.

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. Notice the following, for 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 in Ecclesiastes 4:

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.

In Ecclesiastes 4, 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.

In Ecclesiastes 4, Solomon also wrote:

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.

In Ecclesiastes 4, 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. Come to learn.

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).

In Ecclesiastes 5, 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).

In Ecclesiastes 5, 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.”

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.

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.

You also seem to have an increased risk of being killed (see

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.

In Ecclesiastes 5, Solomon continued with:

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. Egyptian pharaohs falsely thought they could take their wealth with them in the pyramids. Catholics incorrectly believe that giving their church enough money will help pray a dead one out of the pains of a dreadful place they call purgatory.

Solomon indicated that people should 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

Now to the sixth chapter:

1 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.

Solomon called that vanity. But notice something Ezekiel recorded about the King of Tyre:

5 By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, And your heart is lifted up because of your riches)," 6 'Therefore thus says the Lord God: "Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god, 7 Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, The most terrible of the nations; And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, And defile your splendor. (Ezekiel 28:5-7)

Our focus should not be on ourselves.

Getting back to Ecclesaistes 6, Solomon wrote:

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 —

Just having children does not bring happiness. But if you raise them right they should:

1 The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son makes a glad father, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother. (Proverbs 10:1)

6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6).

17 Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul. (Proverbs 29:17)

Getting back to Ecclesaistes 6, Solomon continued with the following about a stillborn child:

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?

So, Solomon is basically saying that being born dead is better than not living a good life.

And it may well be much easier for the stillborn in the resurrection than for those who lived wrongly.

Getting back to Ecclesaistes 6, Solomon wrote:

7 All the labor of man is for his mouth, And yet the soul is not satisfied.

The innate biological hunger motivates people to work and be productive. But, at least parially because there is a "spirit in man" (Job 32:8) that is not in animals, humans have what economists call "insatiable desire," which motivates many to work even well after basic needs are met.

Solomon considers that vanity as he continued with:

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.

Solomon sees the uselessness of vain desires.

He then states:

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?

Solomon acknowledges that God is so mighty that humans cannot, in certain ways, contend with Him. And Solomon is warning that vain pursuits do not really help people.

In Ecclesiastes 6, Solomon then states:

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?

Solomon basically is seeing the futlity of what most people spend their lives doing.

The Apostle Peter pointed out the temporal nature of physical things:

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because

"All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the Lord endures forever." (1 Peter 1:22-25)

Back in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote:

14 I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. (Ecclesiastes 3:14)

Now, consider something from the Apostle Paul:

6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Philippians 1:6)

Thus, while what much of what people do appears to be vanity, those who yield to God and His word will succeed and by able to abide forever.

Here is a link to a sermon covering chapters 4-6 of Ecclesiastes: Ecclesiastes 4-6: Christian Living Makes a Difference.

Ecclesiastes 7

Now to the seventh chapter:

1a A good name is better than precious ointment,

Now, this is a reference to an actual good name. In other words you should live right and have a good reputation for doing so.

Notice something similar from the Book of Proverbs:

11 Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right. (Proverbs 20:11).

Yes, you become known from your deeds.

Jesus said:

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

But that does not mean that all will speak well of you:

11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:11-12)

14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled." 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:14-17)

1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. (1 Peter 4:1-4)

Actually, Jesus warned that those who tend to be spoken well of by the world are often false:

26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets. (Luke 6:26)

There are many who have been turned off to the truth because of accusers of the brethren, influenced by Satan (Revelation 12:9-10), spread false information.

Of course, not all fall for Satan's lies. Notice what some who heard bad things about the original Christian church said to the Apostle Paul:

22 But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere. (Acts 28:22)

Notice also what the Bereans, who probably also heard evil things claimed about the Christian church did:

10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds. (Acts 17:10-13)

Hopefully, you are willing to be like the believing Bereans and not those who were influenced by accusers of the brethren.

Furthermore, notice something else that Jesus said:

43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Jesus' admonishment is not to be angry or seek revenge against the false ones, but to pray for them. And, we do not know if God will have them change in this life, but because of your prayers, they may respond better in the age to come--yes we are to love, even our enemies, that much.

Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 7, said:

1a A good name is better than precious ointment, 1 b And the day of death than the day of one's birth;

Early Jews did not celebrate birthdays, and this is one verse some pointed to (see also Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays?).


2 Better to go to the house of mourning Than to go to the house of feasting, For that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart.

Solomon was reflecting on that fact that humans will die and that they should live their lives understanding that. Going to parties does not normally have as profound of impact on us.

32 ... If the dead do not rise, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!" (1 Corinthians 15:32)

If their is no chance of life after death, Paul is saying to basically be a partier. But since Solomon and the Apostle Paul realized that there was, then there are reasons to live properly now.

The New Testament also teaches that all will die and mentions judgment:

27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, (Hebrews 9:27)

The judgment comment is again telling the living to be careful about how they live.

Back to Ecceliastes 7:

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.

Solomon is basically saying that fools focused on mirth overlook consequences of their actions, but the wise can learn lessons, including when mourning.

5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise Than for a man to hear the song of fools.

Many do not want to be rebuked. But even if the rebuke made your sorrowful, you can become better by being rebuked for doing wrong that you will for those who keep silent and/or encourage wrong/foolish behavior.

Solomon continued with:

6 For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, So is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity.

Yes, be careful that you do not let people who try to make fun of you change you to do wrong.

In the days of the 1979 receivership crisis in the old Worldwide Church of God, I had colleagues tease me and essentially laugh at me and/or the WCG. They were not interested in the facts as their interests were against the church.

Solomon continued with:

7a Surely oppression destroys a wise man's reason,

Yes, oppression can affect how one thinks--but we need to have our lights shine.

Back to verse 7:

7b And a bribe debases the heart.

And yes, many get affected by bribes or if they otherwise have financial interest in something.

Despite some thinking this is an Eastern or third world problem, this is a major problem in Western societies. For example, that is part of why products known to be unhealthy get promoted in various areas of society (like sodas at sports events).

Solomon continued with:

8 The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Consider that the Bible teaches that what He made after six days was “very good”(Genesis 1:31), and the end will be evenbetter! This is also true about God’s plan—yet too many are focused on misunderstandings of the beginning stages of itas well as having misunderstanding about God’s patience. The New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus is going to “appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation”(Hebrews 9:28).

Many are not patient with God. Most people who claim to be Christian do not believe that the end will be better, in the sense that most believe that most humans will be condemned to some version of everlasting torment.

More on that is covered in the free online book: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God's plan of salvation.

Solomon continued with:

9 Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.

Anger can be appropriate at times. But many have a problem with anger. Even Moses did (cf. Exodus 32:19). Anger can show a lack of faith:

7 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 8 "Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals." 9 So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him.

10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, "Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?" 11 Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.

12 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them." (Numbers 20:7-12)

Being angry does not justify wrong actions. DO not let anger control you!

Notice something from the Apostle Paul:

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:19-26)

Satan wants us to angrily act improperly. Peter wrote to:

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

But, no, you are probably never going to see Satan as a physical lion. Satan influences our thoughts and attitudes:

2 ...
the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Ephesians 2:2-3)

So, what should a Christian do?

9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:9)

Notice what happened to Peter:

31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."

33 But he said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death."

34 Then He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me." (Luke 22:31-34)

73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you." 74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:73-75)

Peter was annoyed people kept asking him about Jesus. He was scared and probably also tired. He bore false witness and got angry.

Anger, of itself, is not a sin--even God gets angry (e.g. Isaiah 30:27-28). However, do not dwell on your anger:

4 Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. (Psalm 4:4)

26 "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, (Ephesians 4:26)

We are not to hold on to anger. Notice that we are told be especially be careful that we do not sin while angry. Many do and, wrongly, feel that their anger justifies actions they may have taken while angry. Do not blame your background and not try to change--if you do not have sufficient self-control when angry, YOU need to work to change.

Despite, your anger, you are not to sin by seeking vengeance. Consider the following:

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 12:19-21)

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. (Romans 12:19, NLT).

Here is something from the old WCG about anger:

How to handle anger

   Before anger overcomes us we need to ask ourselves a few pointed questions:
   First. "What caused this to occur?" "What am I overlooking?" Don't ask: "Why me? Why does this have to happen to me?" When we do this we are totally closed to any better understanding or to a broader perspective. Be realistic; anger is seldom realistic.
   To illustrate, let's suppose we are going to Sabbath services or Bible study and we are late. We take the freeway or parkway for a couple of miles, but as we come up on the on-ramp we find the freeway crowded and traffic moving slowly. Soon it's almost at a standstill and we can't turn around; we're stuck!
   "Oh no!" we exclaim. "We'll never make it." Then in anger we shout at one of the children in the back seat: "If you'd just get ready when I tell you to! Now we'll never get there on time."
   We begin to blame someone else for the predicament. We fail to recognize that we need to be prepared for such circumstances, in this instance by getting an earlier start.
   And what do we end up doing? We just wait it out whether we like it or not. We experience this almost every day, but since we don't like to wait, we usually don't include these possibilities in our planning.
   [line/text missing] {Do you think about how are} others feeling?" Not so much how are they feeling about you, but how is this problem making them feel. It's impossible to identify and care for another's feelings, and be angry at the same time.
   Let us suppose, for example, that you are to meet your wife at a certain store at 5:15 p.m. to select some items you've been needing. The store closes at 5:30. She arrives just as it closes and you're angry.
   What do you do? Start screaming: "You NEVER get any place on time! You're ALWAYS late!"?
   If you do, you'll probably eat crow, for she may hasten to explain that a traffic jam hindered her or she got a phone call just as she was leaving home.
   "He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly" (Proverbs 14:29).
   Oops, some more of that common sense from Proverbs again.
   Third, ask, "Is there any way I might have caused the incident to happen?" This is being responsible. If we find what caused the problem, identify with the feelings of others and do our best to be realistic, then we can determine what contribution we made to our own aggravation.

Getting control of anger

   It is a responsible, emotionally mature Christian who can hold his or her anger in check and ask these three questions to get a better perspective on whatever is aggravating. He acknowledges that he is angry, but he tries to manage the emotion so that it does not control him. Not allowing Satan a toe hold!
   Anger requires more energy output than any other emotion and is therefore totally devastating to the one practicing it. As maturing Christians, let's do as James exhorted, "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (James 1:19, 20, New International Version). (Faulkner D. Just one more thing: Overcoming the crutch of anger. Worldwide News, July 13, 1981)

Back to Ecclesiastes 7, Solomon wrote:

10 Do not say,"Why were the former days better than these?" For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.

It is not wise to fantasize about the past. We are to look ahead.

Continuing in Ecclesiastes 7:

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.

Wisdom and wealth can both be helpful, but wisdom does more than money can. It not only helps in this life, but can also lead to eternal life from those who properly respond to knowledge.

Solomon then wrote:

13 Consider the work of God; For who can make straight what He has made crooked?

Many people do not understand the work of God or consider it well enough--but they should (cf. Matthew 6:33). There is a work to be done now to support (see Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work?, Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word, and The Final Phase of the Work). But there is also the overall plan of God which will be accomplished (see the free books Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation, The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?, and The Gospel of the Kingdom of God).

Continuing in Ecclesiastes 7:

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.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)

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)

Paul is teaching to be content in good times and rougher ones, but do not set your focus on money.

Back to Ecclesiastes 7:

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?

From a physical perspective, certain things do not look like they make sense. The Psalmist had a similar complaint, but also realized something else:

3 For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For there are no pangs in their death,
But their strength is firm.
5 They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like other men.
6 Therefore pride serves as their necklace;
Violence covers them like a garment.
7 Their eyes bulge with abundance;
They have more than heart could wish.
8 They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression;
They speak loftily.
9 They set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue walks through the earth.

10 Therefore his people return here,
And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
11 And they say, "How does God know?
And is there knowledge in the Most High?"
12 Behold, these are the ungodly,
Who are always at ease;
They increase in riches.
13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
And washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all day long I have been plagued,
And chastened every morning.

15 If I had said, "I will speak thus,"
Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.
16 When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me —
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their end.

18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
They are utterly consumed with terrors. (Psalms 73:3-19)

One of the reasons that it looks like the wicked do well and the righteous face problems is that those who respond to God's call in this age are judged in this age, with others to be judged later.

Notice what the Apostle Peter wrote:

17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now

"If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:17-19)

God's plan does make sense, but we also need to understand it and have faith to endure (cf. Matthew 10:22).

Back to Ecclesiastes 7:

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.

And in this age, God offers protection from the coming hour of trial to the Philadelphian Christians (Revelation 3:7-10). It is foolish not to be Philadelphian (cf. Matthew 25:1-13). More Christians will NOT escape what is coming (Revelation 12:17).

Solomon continued with:

19 Wisdom strengthens the wise More than ten rulers of the city.

Solomon realized that wisdom was more important than things like political power.

Solomon continued with:

20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin.

So, we are not to think that even Christians are above sin. Of course, that is clearly taught in the New Testament:

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)

Back to Ecclesiastes 7:

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 known That even you have cursed others.

So, to use the vernacular, do not be bent out of shape because you heard (or perhaps read on the internet) something negative about you. Sometimes people do not really mean it. And, if it is wrong, understand that Satan is the accuser of the brethren, and that we have to endure all things and hope all things (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Solomon continued with:

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 death The 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.

Although Solomon pursued wisdom, he also did foolish and wrong things. And he finally realized that those who would live God's ways will do better. With his 1000 wives and concubines, Solomon allowed himself to be trapped:

1 But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites — 2 from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, "You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. 3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. 8 And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. 9 So the Lord became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the Lord had commanded. 11 Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12 Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen." (1 Kings 11:1-13)

Solomon should have known better:

14 "When you come to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, 'I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,' 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, 'You shall not return that way again.' 17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself. 18 "Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:14-20)

Solomon violated that specific command from the Bible and went the way of evil.

Back to Ecclesiastes 7:

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.

The New Living Translation renders verse 28 as follows:

28 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! (Ecclesiastes 7:28, NLT)

It looks like Solomon was not able to find one of his wives to have the type of character he could trust. But, of course, he did not have that either as he blatantly violated God's laws.

Solomon concluded chapter 7 with the following:

29 Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes."

Many do not understand that God made humans good, even though that is stated in Genesis 1:31. To learn why God made humans check out the free online book: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?

Ecclesiastes 8

Now to chapter 8:

1 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.

Yes, your character shines when you act wisely.

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."

God's people are to keep His commandments. Solomon is telling us to live our lives in such a way that will please God. Do not be in a hurry to stop praying seems to also be implied.

Solomon then wrote:

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,

Basically, we are to obey the authorities. The New Testament concurs:

1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. (Titus 3:1-2)

But not if the directions are contrary to scripture:

27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!"

29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:27-30)

Back to Ecclesiastes 8:

6 Because for every matter there is a time and judgment, Though the misery of man increases greatly.

Yes, as Christians we are now under judgment (1 Peter 4:17). The misery Solomon is referring to could be a reference to getting older and/or that humanity will increase misery until it nearly destroys the planet (cf. Revelation 11:18).

Back to Ecclesiastes 8:

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.

There are things humans cannot know, unless God reveals them. Even the prophets had no ability of their own as Peter wrote "for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21).

Back to Ecclesiastes 8:

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.

9b is not just a reference to slave owners. It includes supervisors, government officials, etc. Even parents can rule their children wrong, for their own hurt (cf. Ephesians 6:4). Remember, Jesus said those faithful in little will be rewarded to be faithful in much (Luke 19:17).

Back to Ecclesiastes 8:

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.

Back to Ecclesiastes 8:

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.

This is one reason that we have crime. But God does not punish us always immediately either.


So we can develop character and faith.

It takes no faith to not do wrong when you know you will be immediately punished for it.

If God created righteous character instantaneously by fiat or forced it with instant death, there wouldn't be any character. Because character is that capacity of a separate entity, of the individual, to come to his/her own knowledge of the truth, and to make his/her own decision, and to will to follow the right instead of the wrong.

A true Christian builds character now through the tests, opportunities, and trials in life (cf. Romans 5:1-4) which will help the Christian be able to personally contribute to the “better tomorrow.”

Others will see what humanity is doing to this planet. They will learn that humans would have destroyed everything if God did not intervene--which Jesus taught that God will do for the elects' sake (Matthew 24:21-22).

Back to Ecclesiastes 8:

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.

Yet, Solomon then says:

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.

Solomon did not seem to fully understand the following (which was also quoted earlier):

17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?" 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:17-19)

Yes, God's people are getting a stricter judgment than others in this age. This is part of why it looks like they suffer more than others. But as the Apostle Paul wrote:

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10)

That last statement is part of why we support the poor in Africa.

Because he did not fully understand God's plan, Solomon saw much as vanity and then wrote:

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.

Now, yes, being productive and properly enjoying life is fine and encouraged here and elsewhere in the Bible.

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.

Many things are not understood from a physical perspective. Notice something that the Bible teaches about that:

25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith —  27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen. (Romans 16:25-27)

The Bible tells of the mystery which has been kept secret since the world began, but that it is revealed in prophetic scriptures—”the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:8).

We have a free book that goes into more details about that: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?

A sermon covering chapters 7 and 8 is Ecclesiastes 7-8: Reputation, Anger Management and Walking God’s Way.

Chapter 9

Now to chapter 9:

1 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.

We cannot know all the details of our physical future in this life.

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.

Yes, all die. Yet, Solomon did not understand aspects of God's plan (see The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? and Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation).

Continuing in Ecclesiastes:

4 But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

While alive, you can change. You can repent. You can (and should) grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18).

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 share In anything done under the sun.

Well, yes the dead are dead and not conscious. They are done with possibitities in this age.

But there is an age to come (Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Hebrews 6:5; see also Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation).

Back to Ecclesiastes 9:

7 Go, eat your bread with joy, And drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works.

Yes, you can properly enjoy a meal and the benefits from being productive. But you are not to be obese (Proverbs 23:20-21; cf. Deueronomy 32:15b; see also Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy) nor be a drunkard (Proverbs 23:20-21; see also Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible).

Solomon agreed (Proverbs 23:20-21). He also wrote:

8 Let your garments always be white, And let your head lack no oil.

Even if not white now, you can repent:

18 "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

Back to Ecclesiastes 9:

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.

Yes, if you are married, you are to live joyfully with your spouse. That is basically as good as it gets for most in this life, so live joyfully.

Notice also the following:

5 "When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken. (Deuteronomy 24:5)

It was because of Deuteronomy 24:5 that I turned down a job opportunity just before I got married (I was engaged at the time) as I realized I would have to travel away from my spouse a lot on that job. Hence, felt it would be violating Deuteronomy 24:5. But beyond that, notice again that marriage is supposed to be joyful and full of happiness.

Back to Ecclesiastes 9:

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.

The above, obviously, applies to your work. But it also applies to your marriage, your education, your spiritual life--and should include your attitude towards the work of God.

But in these end times, most Christians are Laodicean (Revelation 3:14-22)--they are not diligent about supporting the final phase of the work. Yet, the Bible teaches:

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. (2 Timothy 2:15-17)

Notice the following parable of Jesus:

14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. …

24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:14-19,24-30)

Do not think that Jesus founded a church so you should be independent (see also Independent/Unaffiliated: Independent Members of the COG: Herbert W. Armstrong Comments, Plus Questions and Answers)--if so, you have the wrong priorities (see also Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work?).

If you are uncertain about what to do and what church to support, I urge you to study the free online booklet: Where is the True Christian Church Today? and/or the article: How does the Continuing Church of God differ from other Sabbatarian COG groups?

Take steps and be willing to support the work. Un-bury your talent and use it. Notice the following warning:

12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge,
But He overthrows the words of the faithless.

13 The lazy man says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be slain in the streets!” (Proverbs 22:12-13)

Do not be lazy. Do not be faithless–the mantle had to end up somewhere (see Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle). Not taking actions, but staying as you are (presuming you are independent or Laodicean) is something Jesus opposed.

Do not let lies about me (cf. Matthew 5:11-12), for example, stop you from doing what is right. Do not let lying men take away your crown (Revelation 3:9-11). Do not point to fears.

The man whose talent was taken away was fearful.

Jesus also warned that the cowardly would not be in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 21:8).

If you are not with the CCOG, you need to take steps–and should not wait to do so.

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.

If we trust God, He will direct our steps (Proverbs 3:5-6)--but time and chance happens to them all.

Furthermore, things do not always turn out how they might look. Humans are limited beings.

If you think you are a quick great judge of character, consider that not even the prophet Samuel was:

4 So Samuel did what the Lord said, and went to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, "Do you come peaceably?"

5 And he said, "Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice." Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice.

6 So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him!"

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

8 So Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, "Neither has the Lord chosen this one." 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, "Neither has the Lord chosen this one." 10 Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen these." 11 And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all the young men here?" Then he said, "There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep."

And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here." 12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!" (1 Samuel 16:4-12)

The CCOG is often misjudged.

But so, for another biblical example was the Apostle Paul:

8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed — 9 lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 10 "For his letters," they say, "are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible." 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present. (2 Corinthians 10:8-11)

Back to Ecclesiastes 9:

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.

While God knows your time, you do not. Do not put off doing what you should do because you think you have time. We do not even know, for sure, if we will take even one more breath, let alone live for months or years.

The New Testament concurs:

13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. (James 4:13-15)

Back to Ecclesiastes 9:

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.

One of the ways that the CCOG has been misjudged is because we are too poor to spend money for commercial broadcasting or a fancy building.

Instead, our funds mainly go to proclamation and supporting the poor.

The word of God also tells people:

9 "The hands of Zerubbabel Have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it.Then you will know That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. 10 For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth." (Zechariah 4:9-10)

Most despise the day of small things. Herbert Armstrong was despised for the small size of the old Radio Church of God for a decade or so.

Despite the CCOG being the fastest growing xWCG in the 21st century, we are despised because of the fairly small number of Americans that are with us.

But, since the Bible is clear that God intends to call “the full number” (as the NIV, NLT, BSB, CEV, GNT, HCSV, ISV, and NET Bible, put Romans 11:25) of Gentile in this age, it is not surprising that places like Africa would be ripe for the harvest (see also What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles?).

Jesus taught:

37 ... "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." (Matthew 9:37-38)

Do you do that? We can use more laborers for the harvest in Africa, as well as the rest of the continents on planet earth.

Back to Ecclesiastes 9:

17 Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard

Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools.

Hopefully, you are one who hears the words of the wise. Many, sadly, hear shouts of fools (see Let’s look at the supposedly 22 ‘false teachings of Bob Thiel’ posted at Banned by HWA and Banned promotes lies about evangelist Evans Ochieng and CCOG).

Solomon concluded the chapter with:

18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war; But one sinner destroys much good."

Wisdom is valuable--so value it.

And remember, any sin that you do destroys much good.

Chapter 10

Now to chapter 10:

1 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.

Yes, we need to be careful about humor and jesting. You may well be remembered as one whose actions are a stench--even if you are very respected. Use wisdom.

2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand, But a fool's heart at his left.

This is not a reference to right or left handedness. It is a reference to those who lean toward God and those who lean more towards Satan.

Back to Ecclesiastes 10:

3 Even when a fool walks along the way, He lacks wisdom, And he shows everyone that he is a fool.

Oddly, some people like to repeatedly show off their foolish behavior. You can see that on the internet and also in the world of entertainment--and even politics and academia.

Back to Ecclesiastes 10:

4 If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, Do not leave your post; For conciliation pacifies great offenses.

Yes, you should try to reconcile wisely if you can. While there can be times to flee (Matthew 10:23), "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:18).

Back to chapter 10:

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.

In the 21st century, the media often promotes those that should be despised and despises those that should be honored and/or promoted.


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.

Yes, there are risks in regular work, but we still should work. But the lazy make excuses:

13 The lazy man says, "There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!" 14 As a door turns on its hinges, So does the lazy man on his bed. 15 The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth. 16 The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes Than seven men who can answer sensibly. (Proverbs 26:13-16)

Many of the lazy have written the CCOG off. Many who do not think they are lazy, but have not sufficiently studied to see if what we say is so (like the Bereans of old in Acts 17) improperly conclude that they are sensible, when in fact, they overlook scriptures and other truth (e.g. Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

As far as work goes, notice what is next in Ecclesiastes 10:

10 If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.

Yes, it is appropriate to use your brain to make your work easier and more productive.


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!

We are to be careful with our words and what we say.

Back to Ecclesiastes 10:

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!

Yes, it is good for a land when its top leader and the elite handle things correctly--and it is fine for them to live well.

In the USA, we pretend that politicians are not to live well and often do not pay them wages commensurate to its value. Then, in the USA, we find that somehow many politicians end up rich (essentially through bribes, called donations, and sometimes through book and speaking deals).

Like the Book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes 10 warns against laziness:

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.

The old Worldwide Church of God published the following:

Solomon, who really did experience the good life, said that "money answereth all things" (Eccl. 10:19). Or, as The Living Bible has it: "Money gives everything." Solomon didn't see happiness and abundant living as merely a "state of mind."

He believed material prosperity to be something good and a power we ought to really enjoy. (Of course, he understood too that material wealth of itself does not automatically bring happiness and peace of mind — Eccl. 2:10, 11; 5:11.) ...

The way we are to follow is the way of giving, serving, sharing and helping. It is the way of love, and of outgoing concern. To practice that way, we should have concern for the poor. Many scriptures tell us to be of a giving attitude. When we have that attitude,

God desires to shower down upon us every good thing; He is far more willing — do we really believe this? — to give than we are to receive! (Matt. 7:7-12.) What is the greatest gift we can give to the world? Simply the knowledge of the way that will produce prosperity, health and happiness. God does not intend that we try to remove the penalty of sin from humanity.

As we prosper, and as we have opportunity, we are to do good to all men (Gal. 6:10).

We are to put our treasure into God's Work, so that more of the world can hear of the one way of life which will finally erase poverty and suffering from the face of the earth (Matt. 6:19-21). A right attitude and willingness to sacrifice for God's Work are the keys to the proper use of money. God loves a cheerful giver — one who is willingly practicing the way of give. ...

Finally, let Christ Himself show the right balance: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38).

God's way is the abundant life. The world has sown sparingly — it has followed the get philosophy. It has been built on competition, and on getting for self. It is now reaping sparingly. But God has called us to reveal the give philosophy to the world. As we walk that way, not coveting money, yet using and enjoying material possessions to the full, God blesses us and causes us to prosper.

Yes, it's the attitude of Satan that is really behind the idea that "money isn't everything"!

Money, rightly directed, really does "answer all things." It can be a tremendous power for good. God wants us to enjoy the good life far more than most have ever realized.(Hunting CF, Ord DR. Why People Say 'Money Isn't Everything'. Good News, October 1974)

Money helps solve various types of problems--that is part of why it is helpful to have some. But part of its purpose is for us to love others, and show that by giving.

Getting back to our words, chapter 10 also states:

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.

So, we are told to exercise care about what we say and even think about various leaders.

Chapter 11

Now, to chapter 11:

1 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.

The old Worldwide Church of God taught about these passages in a couple of different ways.

Here is something from 1982:

Listen now to God's words of warning and encouragement concerning these latter days: "Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, for you do not know what evil will be on the earth" (Eccl. 11:2). We are told, "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days" (verse 1).

This exhortation should ring loud and clear to us in the context of the Last Great Day, for God sets the example, follows His own instructions and inspires us to do the same. God Himself will cast His spiritual bread upon the waters or nations of this earth both during the 1,000-year period, portrayed by the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, and during the Great White Throne Judgment, symbolized by the Last Great Day Festival or the eighth day of the Feast.

Following this White Throne Judgment comes a purging of this earth (II Pet. 3:10-11) and an end to human procreation and existence. But don't be sad — be happy and grateful! Your future spiritual body will be everlasting, while your physical one now is temporary. (Aust J. What the Last Great Day Means for You. Good News, October-November 1982)

Yes, that is one application.

Here is another from the old WCG:

Generosity Commanded

Generosity of spirit and attitude is a foundational basic to God's give way of life. God is a generous giver! He hopes that His children will reflect a like generosity within their limited means by comparison. The apostle Paul made this crystal clear: "The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (II Cor. 9:6, 7, RSV).

This same giving principle is elsewhere stated in the pages of the Bible. "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight ..." (Eccl. 11:1-2, RSV). "One man gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. A liberal man will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered" (Prov. 11:24-25, RSV).

A Positive Approach

In one sense you could look at tithing as another way of giving — in that sense, proportionate giving. It's not that God needs anything from us. But He does want us to learn how to give and share for our own good. Remember that God is the Owner, Proprietor and Creator of everything we see around us. As David wrote: "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Ps. 24:1). (Tithing. Worldwide Church of God, 1975)

Yes, God loves a cheerful giver and Christians should tithe (see also Tithing Questions and Some Answers). But as a church, we also cast our bread to the waters over the earth to help some now and be a witness for others later.

Now, let's go to see verse 3:

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.

And the above ties with being a witness now as well as for those in the future.

Now, for another perspective, see what the late Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote about the first three verses in Ecclesiastes 11:

King Solomon understood the importance of being skilled in more than one field — of being willing to change jobs if necessary. Whether it involves your money or your talent, now more than ever it pays to diversify. In poetic words we read Solomon's advice for a world gone wrong — whether his or ours: "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you shall find it after many days" (Eccl. 11:1, JPS).

In the ordinary course of events, if you cast bread on waters of a lake or sea you most certainly will not find it after many days. It will be eaten up or sink to the bottom. But Solomon is giving a lesson in faith — you may catch, after many days, the fish that ate your bread.

Continuing, "Divide a portion into seven, yea, even into eight; for you know not what evil shall be upon the earth" (verse 2).

Develop your several talents, your skills, and don't put all your financial resources into one basket. Diversification enables you to survive when first one thing and then another turns sour.

"If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree fall in the south, or in the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there shall it be" (verse 3).

You want to be where the rain falls and not on parched earth. You want to be where the tree falls. That means you prepare yourself to be there where the action is. You make yourself ready for the new opportunity. (Hoeh H. What God Knows About Finances! Good News, March 1982)

Yes, we should be trying to develop our many talents. There is value in personal diversification. And such talents may be used by the church now, in the future, and/or the age to come.

Notice something about being overly cautious:

4 He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap.

Some use excuses they think are valid, but not sowing and reaping meant disaster and potentially death for many in Solomon's day.


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.

While we do not know all the works of God, His word reveals mysteries to us. A free online book covering some of them is available: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?

As far as your own works, consider the following:

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.

Yes, often it is good to be working on multiple projects. And for some, to be working multiple jobs.

Back to chapter 11:

7 Truly the light is sweet,And it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun; 8 But if a man lives many years And rejoices in them all, Yet let him remember the days of darkness, For they will be many. All that is coming is vanity.

In good times, remember that tougher times will come. Between various sorrows and COVID-19 we have seen much that is unpleasant. And while there are still relatively good economic times for many, a more difficult time--called the Great Tribulation by Jesus (Matthew 24:21-22) is coming.

So, yes, even the Old Testament warned us to consider that many days of darkness are to come.

Back to chapter 11:

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 these God will bring you into judgment.

Yes, it is fine to have fun and plans. But you must do so while obeying God.

10a Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh,

Yes, you can have joy and not sorrow, but do not engage in evil.

Many young adults, however, do:

10b For childhood and youth are vanity.

Many falsely think their youth will last longer than it will. That is wrong and vain.

Chapter 12

Now to chapter 12 and see when you should remember God:

1 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":

My experience with many Roman Catholics is that they will make some outward efforts when young (get married in their church, attend on rare occasion, and get their infants baptized), but they tend to wait until they are somewhat elderly to become more devout.

Notice also the following that seemingly has to do with being young and aging:

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;

The above looks to be discussing loosing teeth and eyesight failing. The following is related to aging:

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.

So, we are talking about losing strength, losing hearing, fears of injury, fears of being in the streets, when even light things (like a grasshopper) are burdens, various desires failing--which includes losses of taste, smell, and other matters.

Yes, people get old and will die.

But the good news is that those in the first resurrection will go to a glorious eternal home.

Back to chapter 12:

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.

Yes, remember your Creater will you are still strong and healthy, pretty or handsome, and still have the ability to run (presuming you ever had any of these).

For the time will come to die:

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."

Physical life does not last--it is temporal. Yet, eternal life, with eternal rewards lasts forever.

Notice what Solomon says next:

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.

Yes, there are lessons to be learned from proverbs--there are words of truth. The word of God should spur us on--and yes we should be admonished by them.

Here is something humanity as a whole needs to know:

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all.

Or as the KJV cites the second half:

13b . Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (KJV)

People should keep God's commandments.

But in the end time, the government of the Beast and Antichrist will try to make this impossible (see our free online book: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast).

Yet, scripture shows that true Christians will do that, despite the coming persecution:

17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)

Why will Christians do this despite the Satanic-driven persection by the Beast and the Antichrist (False Prophet)?

Well, among other reasons they believe:

14 For God will bring every work into judgment,Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

Ecclesiastes is telling us there is a lot in the physical world that may distract us.

But, we are better off listening to God all our life and keep His commandments.

The old Worldwide Church of God published the following:

Solomon finally realized, in old age, the value of building a right relationship with God, even though he failed to do so during the rest of his life. ...

How deeply Solomon came to understand God's judgment is uncertain. From some of his comments, it could appear that he only saw God's purpose in light of physical blessings and cursings. As Christians, we understand that God's judgment involves our fate for all eternity (Matthew 25:31-46). (Kackos GM. What You Can Learn From Ecclesiastes. Good News, September 1984)

God offers a fantastic eternal reward and we are foolish not to follow Him and make obeying and serving Him a priority.

Here is a link to a sermon covering the last four chapters: Ecclesiastes 9-12: Joyful Living, Youth, Aging, and the Commandments.

A sermon series covering the entire Book of Ecclesiates is available:Ecclesiastes 1-3: Vanity or Biblical Focus?, Ecclesiastes 4-6: Christian Living Makes a Difference, Ecclesiastes 7-8: Reputation, Anger Management and Walking God’s Way, and Ecclesiastes 9-12: Joyful Living, Youth, Aging, and the Commandments.

Thiel B. Ecclesiastes: Scriptures and Commentary. (c) COGwriter 2019/2020 1031