“Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and lives a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him” (Ecc 8:12*).
Ecclesiastes is one of the wisdom books in the Old Testament canon. Though it is tempting to take its nuggets of wisdom and read them
“The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:” (Ecc 1:1)
Solomon identifies himself in the first verse. His being the "son of David, king in Jerusalem" is not a mere biological and geopolitical fact. At the typological level, David's kingship was fulfillment of the promise God made to
"He who dies with the most toys still dies."
(plaque on my boss's wall)
King Solomon had it all! He was the wisest man and most successful. But he wasn’t exempt from the pain of the curse common to all. It is one thing to see frustration in the lives of others and think that you are not like
In the opening section of the book (1:1-3:8), Solomon moves from discussing the ramifications of the common curse on man's work and wisdom to sharing his own frustrating experience with work and wisdom. Now in this third part of the opening section, Solomon concludes with a closing lament of the
“I know that all that God does will be forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken. God has worked so that they will fear before Him” (Ecc 3:14).
In the opening chapters, Solomon focused on man’s fallen condition and the curse common to man. The wisdom and work given to Adam no longer
Solomon’s conclusion is not in the last chapter. It is in the center of the book, in the center of the major section of the worker. The heartbeat of the book pounds loudly here – Fear God and keep the covenant. The connection between this important piece of wisdom literature and its canonical
After painting the realism of a world groaning under the common curse, and the failure of man’s labor to produce the royal temple of the King, Solomon moved to this major section (3:9-6:7) in which he calls the wise to work in reverence before God and to enjoy the gift of joy God gives the
“…oppression makes a wise man shine…” (Ecc 7:10)
The third section of the book (6:8-12:7) moves to the wise man life lived in joyful humility before God whose work is unfathomable (6:8-12). Then Solomon focuses on what is good for man (7:1-18) and the wisdom’s power (7:19-8:8).
“In all times, your garments will be white, and there will be no lack of oil on your head” (Ecc 9:8).
In this third section of the book, Solomon does more than hint at the Gospel hope that drives his writing. He is not contained by the typological kingdom in which he rules, nor subdued by the
“Rejoice young man in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. And walk in the ways of your heart and in the sight of your eyes. But know that upon all these God will bring you in judgment” (Ecc 11:9).
Only the wise will understand how Solomon can tell the wise to live a
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Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from NASB. Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org
trans. indicates my translation
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