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 9: Dealing
with the Uncertainties of Life
Comments : There is more of a cohesion in this chapter
as the subject of ‘uncertainty', which has been there in the background
of previous chapters, comes more to the fore now in the form of
somewhat gloomy warnings about having a limited life as we face
death [v.2,3,5,10,12 – all underlined]. Uncertainty is the name
of the game [v.1], and we will all die sometime [v.2] while we
have to wait out our time on this fallen world [v.3]. While we
are alive we still have hope [v.4-7] and so we should live wisely
[v.8-10], remembering all the while the length of our time on
earth is always uncertain [v.11,12]. The chapter finishes with
a strange example of how wisdom prevailed but was forgotten [v.13-15]
yet, Solomon maintains, wisdom is still best [v.16-18]. Really
a call to catch the big picture of the whole of our life span
which is different for every person.]
Even the righteous & the wise do not know the future
So I reflected
on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and
what they do are in God's hands, but no one knows whether love
or hate awaits them.
The good and the bad, we all share the same destiny – we die
share a common destiny – the righteous and the wicked, the
good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices
and those who do not.
it is with the good,
so with the sinful;
as it is with those who take oaths,
so with those who are afraid to take
Sin reigns throughout mankind
is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same
destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full
of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live,
and afterwards they join the dead.
While you are alive you have hope and choice
who is among the living has hope – even a live dog is better
off than a dead lion!
the living know that they will die,
but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward,
and even their name is forgotten.
love, their hate
and their jealousy have long since vanished;
never again will they have a part
in anything that happens under the sun.
The fact that you are still alive suggests God's approval of you
eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful
heart, for God has already approved what you do.
Take care of yourself
be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.
Find pleasure with your wife
life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless
life that God has given you under the sun – all your meaningless
days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labour
under the sun.
Be industrious making the most of your life
your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm
of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor
planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
Hold life lightly for it is uncertain how it will work out
have seen something else under the sun:
race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favour to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.
The ultimate is, of course, we never know when we might die
no one knows when their hour will come:
fish are caught in a cruel net,
or birds are taken in a snare,
so people are trapped by evil times
that fall unexpectedly upon them.
An example of how wisdom overcame – but was forgotten
also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed
was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful
king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siege works
there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the
city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man.
Nevertheless, the benefits of wisdom
I said, ‘Wisdom is better than strength.' But the poor man's wisdom
is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.
quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded
than the shouts of a ruler of fools.
is better than weapons of war,
but one sinner destroys much good.
to Ecclesiastes 10