Ecclesiastes (web)


Fear and Obey God

Ecc 12:
12:13 This is the end of the matter. All has been heard.
Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.
12:14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
with every hidden thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.

Enjoy Life as you Prepare for the Judgment

Ecc 11:
11:8 Yes, if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all;
But let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many.
All that comes is vanity.
11:9 Rejoice, young man, in your youth,
And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth,
And walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes;
But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
11:10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart,
And put away evil from your flesh; For youth and the dawn of life are vanity.

Finding Satisfaction in Work

Ecc 5:
5:18 Behold, that which I have seen to be good and proper is for one to eat and to drink,
and to enjoy good in all his labor, in which he labors under the sun,
all the days of his life which God has given him; for this is his portion.
5:19 Every man also to whom God has given riches and wealth,
and has given him power to eat of it, and to take his portion,
and to rejoice in his labor--this is the gift of God.
5:20 For he shall not often reflect on the days of his life;
because God occupies him with the joy of his heart.


Ecc 7:
7:16 Don't be overly righteous, neither make yourself overly wise.
Why should you destroy yourself?
7:17 Don't be too wicked, neither be foolish. Why should you die before your time?
7:18 It is good that you should take hold of this.
Yes, also from that don't withdraw your hand;
for he who fears God will come forth from them all.

4:6 Better is a handful, with quietness, than two handfuls with labor and chasing after wind.

Don't expect perfection from people

7:20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth, who does good and doesn't sin.
7:21 Also don't take heed to all words that are spoken, lest you hear your servant curse you;
7:22 for often your own heart knows that you yourself have likewise cursed others.
9:3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one event to all:
yes also, the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live,
and after that they go to the dead.

The Vanity of Life lived for itself

1:3 What does man gain from all his labor in which he labors under the sun?
2:2 I said of laughter, "It is foolishness;" and of mirth, "What does it accomplish?"
2:3 I searched in my heart how to cheer my flesh with wine,
my heart yet guiding me with wisdom, and how to lay hold of folly,
until I might see what it was good for the sons of men
that they should do under heaven all the days of their lives.

2:10 Whatever my eyes desired, I didn't keep from them.
I didn't withhold my heart from any joy, for my heart rejoiced because of all my labor,
and this was my portion from all my labor.

The Inevitability of Death

2:16 ... the wise man must die just like the fool!
3:11 ...He has also set eternity in their hearts, ...
3:19 For that which happens to the sons of men happens to animals.
Even one thing happens to them. As the one dies, so the other dies.
Yes, they have all one breath; and man has no advantage over the animals: for all is vanity.

Ambition and Achievement
Why Capitalism Works

4:4 Then I saw all the labor and achievement that is the envy of a man's neighbor.
This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Inevitable Justice despite present Injustice

3:16 Moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice,
that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there.
3:17 I said in my heart, "God will judge the righteous and the wicked;
for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work."

8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily,
therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
8:12 Though a sinner commits crimes a hundred times, and lives long,
yet surely I know that it will be better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him.


What is the difference between seeking fulfillment from life and enjoying life?

We enjoy life more if we don't try to derive meaning and purpose from our labor. In fact if we seek fulfillment from our work we end up bitterly disappointed. But if we don't take those aspects of life seriously we are freed up to enjoy life.


The basic message is the same as what we see in the New Testament concerning work. Though work itself is vain, be content and enjoy it if you are doing what God wants you to do. Do good, fear God and keep his commands. Don't idolize work, or money.

New Testament parallels:

The parable of the rich fool
Luke 12:16-21
16  He spoke a parable to them, saying, "The ground of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly.
17  He reasoned within himself, saying, ‘What will I do, because I don’t have room to store my crops?’
18  He said, ‘This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
19  I will tell my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry."‘
20  "But God said to him, ‘You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared—whose will they be?’
21  So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

Vanity of Life
1 Corinthians 15:19  If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable.

Hebrews 13:5  Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said, "I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you."  {Deut. 31:6}

Php 4:
5  Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6  In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

Php 4:
12  I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound.
In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry,
both to abound and to be in need.
13  I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

1Tim 6:
6  But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7  For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly can’t carry anything out.
8  But having food and clothing, we will be content with that.
9  But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction.
10  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Luke 3:14  14  Soldiers also asked him, saying, "What about us? What must we do?" He said to them, "Extort from no one by violence, neither accuse anyone wrongfully. Be content with your wages."

Luke 12:
29  Don’t seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious.
30  For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things.
31  But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you.

Work Heartily
Col 3:23,24
23  And whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord, and not for men,
24  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. .

Ecc 9:10
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might;

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