Front Page

Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Ecclesiastes

(Return to Old Testament Contents)


FRAMEWORKS: Ecclesiastes 3


(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for meditation. To achieve this we have used a variety of means, notes, headings, verse summaries.)



FRAMEWORKS: Ecclesiastes 3: Right Times & A God-ordained world


[Preliminary Comments: This chapter is known for its famous songs of times [v.1-8] but we rarely think of it as the Prologue to the rest of the chapter about accepting how God has made the world [v.9-22]. In the second part Solomon shows a world where work is predominant and yet there is in the background, so to speak, a sense that there is more than this, there is an eternity to come [v.9-11]. As we cannot change this, he considers the best thing is to be content while living the good life [v.12,13] because God has fixed the world as it is [v.14,15]. Having said that, sin pervades the world and God will judge it [v.16,17]. In this world God tests us to become aware of who we are, on one hand like other sentient beings but on the other, something greater - implied [v.18] for like them we will all die [v.19,20] and so as we can't change that the best we can do it learn to be contented with our lot [v.21,22].


PART 1: v.1-8: A Time for Everything


v.1-8 A Right time for everything [Consider what they are.]

v.1  There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 

v.2  a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 

v.3  a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 

v.4  a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 

v.5   a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 

v.6  a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 

v.7  a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 

v.8  a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 


PART 2: v.9-22: Coming to terms with God's world


v.9-11 Life is about work but eternity is more important, revealed only by God

v.9  What do workers gain from their toil? 

v.10  I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 

v.11  He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 


v.12,13 Again contentment is the key to happiness

v.12  I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 

v.13  That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 


v.14,15 God has fixed the world as it is

v.14  I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. 

v.15  Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account. 


v.16,17 Sin pervades all of life but God will judge it

v.16  And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment—wickedness was there, in the place of justice—wickedness was there. 

v.17  I said to myself, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.” 


v.18 God humbles every person to see their limitations

v.18  I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 


v.19,20 Just like all living creatures we all will one day die

v.19  Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath ; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 

v.20  All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 


v.21,22 God along knows our outcome, so be content in your daily work

v.21  Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” 

v.22  So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?



Continue to Ecclesiastes 4