Advice on How to Endure the Negative Aspects of Life
Ecclesiastes 8 – 9
Ecclesiastes 8 – 9
Enduring the Governments of Men (8:1-13)
1 Who is as the wise? and who knoweth the explanation of things? A man’s wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face is changed. 2 I say, Keep the king’s commandment, and that on account of the oath of God. 3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight; persist not in an evil thing: for he doeth whatever pleaseth him, 4 because the word of a king is power; and who may say unto him, What doest thou? 5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall know no evil thing; and a wise man’s heart knoweth time and manner. 6 For to every purpose there is time and manner. For the misery of man is great upon him; 7 for he knoweth not that which shall be; for who can tell him how it shall be? 8 There is no man who hath control over the spirit to retain the spirit; and no one hath control over the day of death; and there is no discharge in that war, neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it. 9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time when man ruleth man to his hurt. 10 And I have also seen the wicked buried and going away; and such as had acted rightly went from the holy place, and were forgotten in the city. This also is vanity. 11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the children of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner do evil a hundred times, and prolong his days, yet I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, because they fear before him; 13 but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days as a shadow, because he feareth not before God.
Enduring the Vanity in Life (8:14-17)
14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there are righteous men unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; and there are wicked men to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 And I commended mirth, because there is nothing better for man under the sun than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry; for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God hath given him under the sun. 16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes), 17 then I saw that all is the work of God, and that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because however man may labour to seek it out, yet doth he not find it; and even, if a wise man think to know it, he shall not be able to find it out.
Enduring the Inevitability of Death (9:1-10)
1 For all this I laid to my heart and indeed to investigate all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God; man knoweth neither love nor hatred: all is before them. 2 All things come alike to all: one event to the righteous and to the wicked, to the good, and to the clean, and to the unclean, to him that sacrificeth and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. 3 This is an evil among all that is done under the sun, that one thing befalleth all: yea, also the heart of the children of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live; and after that, they have to go to the dead. 4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love also, and their hatred, and their envy is already perished; neither have they any more for ever a portion in all that is done under the sun. 7 Go, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God hath already accepted thy works. 8 Let thy garments be always white, and let not thy head lack oil. 9 Enjoy life with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity; for that is thy portion in life, and in thy labour wherein thou art labouring under the sun. 10 Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, whither thou goest.
Enduring the Uncertainty of Life (9:11-18)
11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to the intelligent, nor yet favour to men of knowledge; but time and chance happeneth to them all. 12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are taken with the snare, like them are the children of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. 13 This also have I seen as wisdom under the sun, and it was great unto me. 14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and encompassed it, and built great bulwarks against it: 15 and there was found in it a poor wise man, who by his wisdom delivered the city; but no man remembered that poor man. 16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength; but the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. 17 The words of the wise are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one sinner destroyeth much good.