Summary: This is a verse by verse look at Ecclesiastes chapter three.
Ecclesiastes Chapter Three
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NASB) There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven--
Solomon's point in this section is that God has a plan for all people. Thus, he provides cycles of life, each with its work for us to do. Although we may face many problems that seem to contradict God's plan, these should not be barriers to believing in him, but rather opportunities to discover that, without God, life's problems have no lasting solutions!
Timing is important. All the experiences listed in these verses are appropriate at certain times. The secret to peace with God is to discover, accept, and appreciate God's perfect timing. The danger is to doubt or resent God's timing. This can lead to despair, rebellion, or moving ahead without his advice.
Matthew Henry has said: “To expect unchanging happiness in a changing world, must end in disappointment. To bring ourselves to our state in life, is our duty and wisdom in this world. God's whole plan for the government of the world will be found altogether wise, just, and good. Then let us seize the favourable opportunity for every good purpose and work. The time to die is fast approaching. Thus labour and sorrow fill the world. This is given us that we may always have something to do; none were sent into the world to be idle.”
Ecclesiastes 3:2 (NASB) A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
Clarke has said: “It is worthy of remark, that in all this list there are but two things which may be said to be done generally by the disposal of God, and in which men can have but little influence: the time of birth, and the time of death. But all the others are left to the option of man, though God continues to overrule them by his providence.”
Ecclesiastes 3:3 (NASB) A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up.
Chuck Smith has said of this section of scripture: “Now we get into the weary, monotony of life. This has been used poetically as something that is very beautiful. "A time to love," and it's been made very beautiful, but in the Hebrew idea, it was monotony. Life is just monotonous. There is a time and a season, a time and a purpose under heaven to everything: there is a time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, a time to heal; a time to break down, a time to build up; a time to weep, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance; a time to cast ( Ecc. 3:1-5 ) and that's the idea of the Hebrew. It's just a monotony. Life seems to be ordered in these things. Just a time, a time, a time, a time. And the Hebrew idea is that of the monotony of life. It isn't, "Oh, the glorious time to love and a time to plant," you know, as we make it very romantic today. It was really being expressed in a very life-gets-so-tedious, don't it? Therefore he concludes. What profit hath he that works in that wherein he has labored? ( Ecc. 3:9 )”
Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NASB) A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.
Philpot has said: “Does a man only WEEP once in his life? Does not the time of weeping run, more or less, through a Christian's whole life? Does not mourning run parallel with his existence in this tabernacle of clay? for "man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards." Then "a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up" must run parallel with a Christian's life, just as much as "a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance." Living souls will know many times to weep; they will have often to sigh and cry over their base hearts; to mourn with tears of godly sorrow their backslidings from God; to weep over their broken idols, faded hopes, and marred prospects; to weep at having so grieved the Spirit of God by their disobedience, carnality, and worldliness; to be melted into contrition at the feet of a dying Lord, so as in some measure to be led into the path in which Jesus walked as "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." They will have to bewail the falling off of those friends whom once they looked upon as bidding fairer for the kingdom of God than themselves; to weep at the cruel arrows of calumny which are shot against them by professors; to mourn over the low state of Zion, how few there are who really serve the Lord acceptably with reverence and godly fear, and adorn the doctrine in all things.”