(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.)
Ecclesiastes 8: Beware thinking you are in complete control
Comments: It is difficult to observe a flow quite often
in the latter chapters of this book. The first Part seems to accept
uncertainties but suggests wisdom helps face them and enables
one to act wisely in the face of authority [v.1-8]. The second
Part implies that life doesn't always work out in the way we think
it should [v.9-14] and the final Part concludes with the thought
that contentment should be our goal and being at peace in the
face of the uncertainties of life [v.15-17]. These uncertainties
are specifically mentioned in verses 1,7 & 17 that we have
1: v.1-8: Handling uncertainties
Wisdom lifts the spirit
is like the wise?
Who knows the
explanation of things?
A person's wisdom brightens their face
its hard appearance.
Think carefully howe you act before a ruler
the king's command, I say, because you took an oath before God.
not be in a hurry to leave the king's presence. Do not stand up
for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases.
a king's word is supreme, who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?'
obeys his command will come to no harm,
and the wise
heart will know the proper time and procedure.
there is a proper time and procedure for every matter,
though a person
may be weighed down by misery.
Be careful, we cannot control the unexpected things of the future
no one knows the future,
who can tell
someone else what is to come?
no one has power over the wind to contain it,
so no one has
power over the time of their death.
As no one is discharged in time of war,
will not release those who practise it.
2: v.9-14: Uncertainties & Injustices
Watching all this I saw powerful people can just hurt themselves
this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the
sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own
So the smug wicked can bring death on themselves
too, I saw the wicked buried – those who used to come and
go from the holy place and receive praise in the city where they
did this. This too is meaningless.
Failing to uphold the Law leads others to go astray
the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people's
hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.
The wicked may appear to get away with it but it's still better
to revere God
a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time,
I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are
reverent before him.
because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them,
and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.
Life's injustices cannot be fathomed
is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous
who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the
righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless.
3: v.15-17: Conclusions – be contented & at peace
So enjoy what you have and be contented in your work
I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better
for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad.
Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the
life God has given them under the sun.
Life is too complex to be sure of meaning
I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the labour that
is done on earth – people getting no sleep day or night –
I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on
under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no
one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know,
they cannot really comprehend it. .
to Ecclesiastes 9