Ecclesiastes 9 – “Reflections on Life and Death”

happycoupleHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Qoheleth implores people to enjoy their lives because there is no existence in death. He also reflects on the arbitrary nature of success, and praises the supreme value of wisdom.

II. Photo
Verse 9 says, “Enjoy life with a woman you love all the fleeting days of life that have been granted to you under the sun — all your fleeting days. For that alone is what you can get out of life and out of the means you acquire under the sun.”

III. Important Verses
vv. 1-2: or all this I noted, and I ascertained all this: that the actions of even the righteous and the wise are determined by God. Even love! Even hate! Man knows none of these in advance — none! For the same fate is in store for all: for the righteous, and for the wicked; for the good and pure, and for the impure; for him who sacrifices, and for him who does not; for him who is pleasing, and for him who is displeasing; and for him who swears, and for him who shuns oaths.
vv. 7-10: Go, eat your bread in gladness, and drink your wine in joy; for your action was long ago approved by God. Let your clothes always be freshly washed, and your head never lack ointment. Enjoy happiness with a woman you love all the fleeting days of life that have been granted to you under the sun — all your fleeting days. For that alone is what you can get out of life and out of the means you acquire under the sun. Whatever it is in your power to do, do with all your might. For there is no action, no reasoning, no learning, no wisdom in Sheol, where you are going.
v. 11: I have further observed under the sun that The race is not won by the swift, Nor the battle by the valiant; Nor is bread won by the wise, Nor wealth by the intelligent, Nor favor by the learned. ¶ For the time of mischance comes to all.
v. 17: Words spoken softly by wise men are heeded sooner than those shouted by a lord in folly.

IV. Outline
1-3. Reflection on life
4-6. Reflection on death
7-10. Exhortation to enjoy life; Reasons
11-12. Reflection on the arbitrary nature of life
13-16. A story about a wise man in a besieged city and its lesson

V. Comment
No comment today. I hope to revisit this chapter at the end of the cycle. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Murphy, Wisdom Literature (Forms of Old Testament Literature)
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