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
Solomon reminds me of the cyclical nature of
everything. He seems frustrated there is nothing new under the sun (v. 9).
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.
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
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."
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 -
3:2 A time to give birth and a time to die;
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.
3:3 A time to kill and a time to heal;
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.
3:4 A time to weep and a time to laugh;
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
This is from a series of times to do things.
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.
3:11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.
There are always different ways to understand
Bible verses. I have two on this verse.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
5:5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.
Once I promised God that I would do something
(help at a homeless shelter) then didn't do it for almost 10 years. How I
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.
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,
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).
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.)
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.
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
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!
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.
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)