ECCLESIASTES

The following comments are from Navigator's and Quiet Time Diary journals. One verse will be entered, then the comment, then the date.

1:3, 4    What advantage does man have in all his work
             Which he does under the sun?
            4A generation goes and a generation comes,
             But the earth remains forever.

    Solomon reminds me of the cyclical nature of everything. He seems frustrated there is nothing new under the sun (v. 9).
    When we do work for others or ourselves, it seems to never end. Perhaps a project is completed, but then there seems to always be another project to do, or an update to be made.
    I can think of some exceptions to this cycle, but Solomon had a point. We have a limited time on earth and want to tell others about the Lord Jesus before our days are done. The next generation should also want to do the same. (DRM 11/17/16)

1:7    All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. 

    This is from the section called "Everything is meaningless." I can't totally agree though, as who else could move the water from the sea to the mountains, but God? I can't think of any other source and think only of God's amazing works and how everything was created by Him. DRM 3/17/87) 

1:17    And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind.

    A college professor may not like this verse as it doesn't seem to encourage higher education; but I think this verse also shows the frustration at the amount of knowledge that is available in the world - and how no human being can know everything. (DRM 7/13/08)

2:1    I said to myself, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself." And behold, it too was futility.

    Now that I have a small retail store and a lot of time between customers, I've played my favorite computer game in the quiet times. It used to be more of a pleasure, but after a while, even this pleasure gets boring.
    Solomon seemingly tried everything, as written in this chapter, and it all seemed futile. The best thing to do is to do things for the Lord in some way. What is Your suggestion? (DRM 12/11/11)

2:11    Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted , and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.

    Certainly my life activities don't compare with Solomon's, but after they have passed, we (I) reflect on how little was truly accomplished.
    Even today I wonder how much is being accomplished - but try to do something daily that either brings people closer to a decision for the Lord, or helps their spiritual growth. Jesus must be #1. (DRM 7/14/08)

2:24, 25    There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is the hand of God. 25For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?

    Solomon is wise and right when he talks about how much time we waste on doing things that don't amount to anything for eternity. The only labor that really matters ( in my mind) is that which glorifies God, thus when that is accomplished - even a little - we (I) should feel a bit more satisfied. (DRM 7/15/08)

2:26    To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.

    The verse continues . . . "This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."
    Certainly I agree that believers are given wisdom, knowledge and happiness in God's word. Gathering and storing up wealth for this world is meaningless and should no longer be pursued. (DRM 1/2/87)

3:1    There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven

    Solomon follows this verse with a list of life events that seem like opposites (e.g. a time for war and a time for peace - v. 8b)
    If I/we think of history, even in just the past century, there were times that the world was at war and other times of prosperity and peace.
    God knew/knows the past, present and future. He knows when big events will happen and why; as He truly is the Director of all events.
    Our "job" is to admit He is in control, not only of the events on earth, but also for every aspect of our individual lives. God=Jesus deserves our worship. (DRM 7/23/17)

3:2    A time to give birth and a time to die;
         A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

    This section of Ecclesiastes refers to time. The verses (v. 2-8) seem to be individual thoughts as there is no sequence that I can see.
    In this verse both lines refer to a beginning and an end. We think of human birth as a beginning (even though it was nine months before) and to plant seeds in the spring certainly reflects faith and hope. After time, the processes are both "completed" and it all begins again the next season.
    At least in life we know there is an "end" - but also a new season for believers. (DRM 11/6/13)

3:3    A time to kill and a time to heal;
         A time to tear down and a time to build up.

    There is a time for everything, as stated here. I had a harder time wondering when it was appropriate to "kill," then thought of Acts 10:13 when Peter was told to "kill and eat" by someone in Heaven. We do need some protein - and God made us this way.
    Healing we always desire when we're sick. It's a slow process that we always want to be faster. Spiritual healing between friends is also desired when there is a disagreement.
    In 1989, the Berlin Wall was torn down and that was good and in Nehemiah's day it was good to rebuild the walls of the city of Jerusalem. Everything has a season - where it is good. (DRM 3/3/15)

3:4    A time to weep and a time to laugh;
        A time to mourn and a time to dance.

    As I read the verses in the first part of this chapter, I tried to match them up with the 1960's song, "Turn, Turn, Turn." It seemed that the words in my version of the Bible didn't match the song, but the thoughts are still clear and need to be reflected on - more. (DRM 7/16/08)

3:7    A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
         A time to be silent and a time to speak.

    This is from a series of times to do things.
    To "tear apart" could refer to different things. I can think of clothing and friendships.
    The second is easy to understand. Still, there are times when I speak and think later that I should have kept quiet.
    As we (I) age, hopefully I will learn to keep "time" in it's proper places. (DRM 9/19/11)

3:9, 10    What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.

    Most work is repetitive. I know it always has been for me. Solomon could tell that by what he wrote here.
    When thinking of various jobs, the biggest difference could be the length of the cycle. A person on an assembly line might have a cycle every 30 minutes, but an architect or teacher could have a cycle that lasts a year.
    In following verses, Solomon tells us that through this process, God has put the desire to be with Him for eternity. While we don't know what job God=Jesus will give us, it will be something we enjoy and will give Him glory. (DRM 2/4/17)

4:9, 10    Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.

    As a single person, this is a harder verse for me and makes me desire more close friends or a spouse.
    If you are also single, there's Someone that we have that's closer than any friend - and that's the Lord Jesus. As Christians, the Holy Spirit part of the Trinity is always with us - and we need to depend on Him. (DRM 2/14/12)

4:12    Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. 

    Yes, I knew something like this, but not from the Bible! When I am alone, I can be overpowered - and I fear that situation the most. However when I am with a friend, I know that there is security and three is even better.
    Studying the Bible should be like that. When I can talk about and study the Bible with someone, the better understanding comes through; but alone, confusion can arise. (DRM 1/4/88)

4:13    A poor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction.

    Learning is a life-long process. When we are young we are taught many things by our parents, then go to school for a dozen or more years of instruction. Then the application begins - employment of some type.
    When the schooling ends, it's easy to just sit back and stop learning, but with God's Word there is no end. The Bible is so large, there is always something new to learn or a new application for something previously read.
    The Holy Spirit is our teacher as we read and study the Bible as Christians. Don't ever stop reading/studying the Bible. (DRM 9/23/17)

4:16    There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them, and even the ones who will come later will not be happy with him, for this too is vanity and striving after wind.

    In the previous verses (vv. 13-15), Solomon refers to an old king and a new young replacement, both with faults. Solomon still preferred the young man, then reflected here on the number of people in the kingdom.
    Certainly we have far more people on earth today than in Solomon's time, so it's easy to understand that aspect of the verse. In the masses, there will always be dissatisfied people and a leaders' goal should be for everyone to be happy with his leadership. This is included in the vanity of life.
    In the future, Jesus will be our King. He will be the ruler. As Christians, we know He will rule with love, knowledge and authority. (DRM 4/11/16)

5:4    When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow!

    If You will do this for me, then I'll do this for You. Then He did what was asked, now you must do what you said you would.
    Do I (we) keep our promises to God? It's important not to forget a vow - thus better to write it down and do it! (DRM 7/17/08)

5:6a    Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. . .

    This is exactly how I sin the most. So often I say something without thinking and always regret it later. 
    Lord, teach me to THINK before I speak!

5:10    He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who love abundance with its income. This too is vanity.

    This verse makes me think of the word, "more."
    Some people never seem to be satisfied - especially in the world of money and associated possessions. The more money they have, the more they think they need - most likely to buy more possessions.
    It seems that in this drive for "more," that some act like the character Scrooge . . . then when life comes to an end did they enjoy it, or always think about getting "more"? (v. 16)
    God wants us to share what He gives us. Money is worthless in Heaven. (DRM 10/28/14)

5:13, 14    There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt. 14When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had fathered a son, then there was nothing to support him.

    Acquiring wealth and more wealth is fruitless. Think of all the time and work a person puts into acquiring more money, then, when they die, they can't take it with them (v. 15).
    This verse shows another example of someone who acquired wealth, then lost it all and his son had nothing to live on.
    God wants us to share the wealth He allowed us to acquire. The best way is to help with Kingdom work. Of course we should have money for emergencies, but the best thing is to store us our riches in Heaven. (DRM 11/27/16)

    True contentment does not depend on anything in this world. (from Our Daily Bread 11/25/16)

5:18    Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.

    Riches are folly (v. 13) according to the author of Ecclesiastes (Solomon?). Why accumulate money if you can't take it with you at the end of life? (The unnamed solution to this would be to give the excess away to help others.)
    The writer's solution is to eat, drink and be merry - and a lot of people seem to be doing that today.
    If we have acquired excess money beyond our needs, we really should do things that promote the Kingdom of God - and He will know what we did. (DRM 11/28/13)

7:20    There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.

    We are ALL sinners, no matter how good we try to be, we do sin. We can try, but even thoughts and motives sometimes are sinful. Look to Jesus for deliverance. (DRM 1/25/89)

8:4    Since a king's word is supreme, who can say to him, "What are you doing?"

    The King in my life is the Lord Jesus Christ. If I don't understand Him and His plans for my life, why should I doubt Him and His plan? I know that I shouldn't say "What are you doing?", but to be submissive and try to continue in His will. (DRM 1/7/87)

9:12    Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them.

    God can end our earthly life at any moment He desires. While I would prefer the rapture, there could be many other ways that life can end suddenly.
    This verse refers to fish and birds that can die suddenly, which shows as an illustration, but they don't have souls like we do.
    The best thing to do is to always be ready for a quick exit from earth. We don't know the day, but it will come eventually.
    Where we go on that day has to be decided while on earth. Trust in Jesus and know Heaven awaits. (DRM 9/21/15)

9:17    The words of the wise heard in quietness are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.

    Solomon often wrote about wisdom. He probably wrote this.
    Like when this was written, many people like to talk more than thinking about what they will say. I think especially about politicians who talk about their views/thoughts without realizing that compromise will be needed.
    In this verse we are reminded that the quiet ones often have the most wisdom. Think of the still small voice of the Holy Spirit - we will never hear Him if we keep talking about our own ideas!
    God (Holy Spirit) will direct us if we keep still. (DRM 11/2/15)

10:6    Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones.

    The fools in this verse are unbelievers, and quite often they hold high positions. We believers are the rich (in His love) and we occupy the lower jobs - but we have the Lord! (DRM 1/26/89)

11:2    Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.

    Solomon has many thoughts in this chapter about a variety of things. This verse brings the word "diversity" to mind. Even financial advice is found in the Bible - if I'm looking for it!
    It seems the Bible is full of information on a lot of subjects, just that we (I) don't study it enough. (DRM 7/18/08)

11:4    Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

    We should concentrate on God; yes, and in doing His will for us, but we can't just watch the earth go by, either. Do our daily work and God will supply our needs. (DRM 1/27/89)

12:11    The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd.

    As Solomon completes this book, he reflects on all the books that are available (v. 12) and can keep people reading. But the only worthwhile book is not written by "wise men," but rather the one Shepherd = the Lord God. (I believe this, but that might not be the correct interpretation here.) (DRM 7/19/08)

12:13    The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.

    This conclusion doesn't just apply to the end of this book, but to all people for all time.
    The purpose of life is to serve and honor God and to share His love with others.
    Probably Solomon, or the author, had a similar thought, "fear God and keep His commandments. . . "
    All of these things go together. God is our Creator and deserves our honor/fear and praise. (DRM 6/3/13)

12:14    For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

    No matter if you are a Christian or not, God will judge every word and deed we perform. I should remember that more often and remember the phrase "Would Jesus be happy with what I just said, or did?" (DRM 1/28/89)