“Summaries, Ecclesiastes 6-10”Categories: Bulletin Articles
Ecclesiastes 6 begins with a comparison of two apparently pitiable people: a man who is greatly blessed by God, yet does not enjoy his blessings, and a stillborn child. According to Solomon, the second is better. Next, he points out that both toil and wisdom are ultimately meaningless, and that what we can see is better than what we desire. The chapter concludes with more observations about the difficulty we have in comprehending human existence.
Ecclesiastes 7 opens with several observations about the importance of learning from sorrow and death. Solomon next endorses wisdom and patience. Don’t try to figure everything out, enjoy blessing, and learn from adversity. He next explores both the dangers of wickedness and of (human) righteousness. He endorses a balanced, wise perspective on life. However, he acknowledges that even his wisdom is not enough to seek out the deep meaning of life. He wraps up the chapter with a warning about being entrapped by women.
Ecclesiastes 8 first praises wisdom and its advantages. Then, it encourages obedience to the king and patience waiting on proper procedure. After all, we are powerless in the face of many other things as well. Solomon next considers the fate of the hypocrite. He points out that it ultimately will be well with the righteous, but not with the wicked, regardless of how things look now. Nonetheless, he observes that on earth, sometimes people get what they don’t deserve, both for good and evil. The proper response to this is to enjoy the good things that we are given, while not wearying ourselves trying to figure out the ultimate purposes of God.
Ecclesiastes 9 points out that no matter who we are, no matter what we’ve done, the same thing happens to all of us: we die. There are two appropriate responses to this: first, enjoy prosperity and your life with your spouse. Second, do the best you can in the time you have been given, because the day is coming when you won’t be able to do anything. Looming over all our efforts, though, is chance. The best at anything still can be betrayed by bad luck. In the final portion of the chapter, Solomon relates a story about a poor man who saved a city but was forgotten. Nonetheless, it’s still better to be poor, wise, and forgotten than a ruler who is loud, obnoxious, and possibly even sinful.
Ecclesiastes 10 advocates wisdom and patience. Those who are impulsive and foolish will be destroyed by it. Sometimes, though, the undeserving are elevated and the deserving abased. Trouble comes along with every work we do, but wisdom can alleviate (though not eliminate) the problem. The fool makes his own life miserable in any number of ways. Finally, a land benefits from wise rulers and is destroyed by foolish ones. All the same, don’t curse the king, even in private. You’ll get found out!