Summary: Ecclesiastes 5


Some people bemoan their live and mugs say it all:

The good life 24:7

I saved you a seat.

Eat. Play. Sleep. Repeat.

Born to golf, forced to work!

Born to shop, forced to work!

Born to fish, forced to work!

Born to drink beer, forced to work!

What is to live the good life? Is it to have a good time? Enjoy good stuff? Be a good person? Join a good cause? Do good deeds? Good relationship with others? Think good thoughts? Finish well?

Honor God and Harness Your Aggression

1 I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: 2 God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.

One day A. J. Gordon met an old man singing. ¡¡±Friend,¡ÆØ said Dr. Gordon, ¡¡±why should an old man be so cheerful?¡ÆØ ¡¡±Not all are.¡ÆØ ¡¡±Well, then, why are you?¡ÆØ ¡¡±Because I belong to the Lord.¡ÆØ ¡¡±And are none others happy at your time of life?¡ÆØ ¡¡±No, not one, my friendly questioner,¡ÆØ said he, and his form straightened. ¡¡±Listen to the truth from one who knows, and no man of threescore and ten shall be found to deny it: The devil has no happy old men!¡ÆØ (William Moses Tidwell, ¡¡±Pointed Illustrations¡ÆØ)

What¡¦s most important to a man? A soul. What is most important to a soul? God our Creator.

This chapter has the most ¡¡±man¡ÆØ (ish) in any chapter (vv 2 twice, 3) and the original soul ¡¡±adam¡ÆØ six times (vv 1, 7, 10, 11, 12 twice). Along with chapters 2 and 8, chapter 6 has the most references to ¡¡±man.¡ÆØ

The irony of this verse is that the ¡¡±soul¡ÆØ (v 2, ¡¡±hearts¡ÆØ in NIV) has no need for riches wealth and honor. The body is insatiable, but the soul is non-material. The chapter talks the most about the soul (vv 2, 3, 7, 9) in the entire book. The soul is a person¡¦s breath, body and being.

The contrast is between riches and wealth, which are material things, versus the immaterial soul, to eat (v 2), which is the body¡¦s needs. The soul is the emotional , relational (especially with God) and fundamental side of men and women.

The soul is contrasted with riches, wealth and honor. Honor is splendor, or glory/glorious in Hebrew. It is the fame, the face, the façade and front of men.

The contrast with man is God (v 2). The word ¡¡±ability¡ÆØ that God gives (v 2) is translated as rule ( Neh 5:15), power (Est 9:1) and dominion (Ps 119:133). It is more than mere ability. Ability is mild; authority is better. God has the authority to give power to those who eats. Man has limited and lesser and even least control of his destiny and durability than he thinks. Man is limited by his age, appetite, anxiety, ailment and ability ¡V man is no superman or savior.

Harbor Good and Hasten to Help

3 A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. 5 Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man¡X 6 even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?

This chapter is special in that the number ¡¡±many¡ÆØ (vv 1, 3 twice) and ¡¡±years¡ÆØ (vv 3 twice, 6) repeats three times, more in this chapter than any chapter in Ecclesiastes. The range of translations for ¡¡±many¡ÆØ include great (Gen 6:5), many (Gen 21:34), enough (Gen 24:25), elder (Gen 25:23), much (Gen 30:43), more (Ex 1:9), multitude (Ex 12:38), abundantly (Num 20:11), populous (Deut 26:5) and increased (1 Sam 14:19). From the contrast with the external distinction and due, now we have contrast with the extended days and duration.

Some have more riches and respect, and some have more years and better health. The person in question has many years, so that the days of his years are long or ¡¡±many¡ÆØ in Hebrew (Eccl 6:3). The phrase ¡¡±enjoy his prosperity¡ÆØ is ¡¡±filled with good¡ÆØ in Hebrew. The word ¡¡±filled¡ÆØ is translated as satisfied (Lev 26:26), weary (Prov 25:17), plenty (Prov 28:19), have enough (Isa 56:11). This is not the regular word for fill, but not the quantity but the quality, not the measure but the meaning, not the amount but the abundance.

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