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.)
Ecclesiastes 4: The Hardness of Life
Comments : From our perspective today we might say this
chapter reveals what it is like living on this ‘fallen world'.
Because of free will there is sin and one expression of it is
oppression [v.1], so it sometimes seems that there are better
options to be alive and suffering [v.2,3]. Because we have to
work there are sometimes pitfalls, so for example we drive ourselves
out of envy [v.4-6] which is pretty pointless if you have no one
to leave it to [v.7,8]. Reflecting on the toughness of life he
ponders that it is better to have a partner to share the good
and the bad [v.9-12]. From the ordinary worker he turns to how
things can go wrong in national leadership [v.13-16]. As we said,
living in a fallen world!]
The power of the oppressor keeps on and on
I looked and saw all the oppression that was
taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—
and they have no comforter.
The dead or those not yet born are often better off than the living
I declared that the dead, who had already died , are happier
than the living, who are still alive.
better than both is the one who has never been born , who
has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.
Driven workers, idle workers, and the way of peace
I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person's
envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the
fold their hands and ruin themselves.
handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing
after the wind.
The driven worker with no children is on a pointless exercise
I saw something meaningless under the sun:
was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was
no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
“For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself
of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless— a miserable business!
The Benefits of two together
Two are better
than one, because they have a good return for their labour:
If either of
them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who
falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two
lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm
one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three
strands is not quickly broken.
A foolish king and a wise young successor who fails to satisfy
a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer
knows how to heed a warning.
youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have
been born in poverty within his kingdom.
saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth,
the king's successor.
was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who
came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless,
a chasing after the wind.
to Ecclesiastes 5