Summary: Ecclesiastes 7



Finishing well

End on good terms.

All’s well that ends well.

Baby: Stay strong! The school year is almost over!

Don’t start what you cannot finish.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith

(2 Tim 4:7)

Are you satisfied with what you have? What kind of ending are you expecting – poor, plain or pleasant? How do you prepare for a good or happy ending? What do you have to add or subtract midway to get to the good or happy ending?

Be Mourners and Ministers

1 A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. 2 It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart. 3 Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. 5 It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools. 6 Like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of fools. This too is meaningless. 7 Extortion turns a wise person into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart.

Doris’ nephew, her eldest sister’s son Joshua, had a choice and decision to make at Doris’ loss, to go for wedding in USA or fly all the way to Hong Kong for aunt Doris’ memorial service. His parents were already returned to Hong Kong at that time. He shared:

“So the wedding was some college friends from my college fellowship and it was in Alaska. I had already bought my plane tickets and planned some living arrangements with some people. But I felt that it was better to go to the memorial service and spend time with our family. And to support and encourage you and my mom and her sisters. I had to cancel my flight to Alaska. I got some of the money back but lost some of the change fee. I don't remember but i think a few hundred. I was encouraged to see all the support for our family and all the different people that she touched with her life. I also was blessed with seeing how the service was Christ centered and reminded us that we are not yet home. Hmm I helped to support the family and went in the hearse with Auntie Doris.”

Verses 1 and 2 are linked by the identical opening word - “better.” There is no greater good in any chapter of the Bible than chapter seven, which has 14 occurrences, and verse three has “good” in the verb form, making it 15. What is different from this “good/better” (v 1) than the rest of the book and Bible is that it begins a chapter and is the first word of a chapter in the Bible for the first time, a literary device common to Solomon’s writing repeated two other times in Proverbs (Prov 17:1, 19:1).


V 1 name bests ointment Character bests Cream

V 2 the house of mourning bests the house of feasting Companionship Celebration

V 3 Sorrow bests laughter Compassion bests Cheerfulness

V 5 rebuke bests song Correction bests Chorus

You might be surprised to know there is more talk of “mourning” in this chapter (vv 2, 4) than the whole book of Job. It affects the heart, heart (vv 2, 3, 4 twice). A good name is better than good ointment (v 1); ointment is for yourself, the name is from others. Ointment is cream, name is character; oil is replaceable, but a name remains. Attending a funeral is for the dead as well as the living; for comfort and caution (v 2) and closure. Not only it does it affect the heart but the face as well (v 3). It is the best gift to the heart – end of verse 2 is the proper verb, which is “give” the heart, which is mentioned four times (vv 2, 3, 4 twice). More than supporting others, it strengthens, deepens and balances the giver.

The day of death is better than day of birth. Death can cause a person pain and problems but can also change a person’s perspective, priorities and purpose on earth.

Verse 7 is an example, an environment, exhibition into how it could end terribly or badly.

Be Mediators and Moderators

8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. 9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. 10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. 11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun. 12 Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it. 13 Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked? 14 When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.

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