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1. declare--rather, explore; the result of my exploring is this, that "the righteous, &c., are in the hand of God. No man knoweth either the love or hatred (of God to them) by all that is before them," that is, by what is outwardly seen in His present dealings (Ec 8:14, 17). However, from the sense of the same words, in Ec 9:6, "love and hatred" seem to be the feelings of the wicked towards the righteous, whereby they caused to the latter comfort or sorrow. Translate: "Even the love and hatred" (exhibited towards the righteous, are in God's hand) (Ps 76:10; Pr 16:7). "No man knoweth all that is before them."
2. All things . . . alike--not universally; but as to death.
are made by HOLDEN the objection of a skeptical
sensualist. However, they may be explained as Solomon's language. He
repeats the sentiment already implied in
Ec 2:14; 3:20; 8:14.
3. Translate, "There is an evil above all (evils) that are done,"
&c., namely, that not only "there is one event to all," but "also the
heart of the sons of men" makes this fact a reason for "madly"
persisting in "evil while they live, and after that," &c., sin is
4. For--rather, "Nevertheless." English Version rightly reads as
the Margin, Hebrew, "that is joined," instead of the text, "who
is to be chosen?"
5. know that they shall die--and may thereby be led "so to number
their days, that they may apply their hearts to wisdom"
6. love, and . . . hatred, &c.--(referring to
Not that these cease in a future world absolutely
but as the end of this verse shows, relatively to persons and things in
this world. Man's love and hatred can no longer be exercised for good
or evil in the same way as here; but the fruits of them remain. What he
is at death he remains for ever. "Envy," too, marks the wicked as
referred to, since it was therewith that they assailed the righteous
7. Addressed to the "righteous wise," spoken of in Ec 9:1. Being "in the hand of God," who now accepteth "thy works" in His service, as He has previously accepted thy person (Ge 4:4), thou mayest "eat . . . with a cheerful (not sensually 'merry') heart" (Ec 3:13; 5:18; Ac 2:46).
8. white--in token of joy
Solomon was clad in white (JOSEPHUS,
Antiquities, 8:7,3); hence his attire is compared to the
typical of the spotless righteousness of Jesus Christ, which the
redeemed shall wear
(Re 3:18; 7:14).
9. wife . . . lovest--godly and true love, opposed to the "snares" of the "thousand" concubines (Ec 7:26, 28), "among" whom Solomon could not find the true love which joins one man to one woman (Pr 5:15, 18, 19; 18:22; 19:14).
10. Whatsoever--namely, in the service of God. This and last verse
plainly are the language of Solomon, not of a skeptic, as
HOLDEN would explain it.
11. This verse qualifies the sentiment,
Earthly "enjoyments," however lawful in their place
are to give way when any work to be done for God requires it. Reverting
to the sentiment
we ought, therefore, not only to work God's work "with might"
but also with the feeling that the event is wholly "in God's hand"
12. his time--namely, of death
Hence the danger of delay in doing the work of God, as one knows not
when his opportunity will end
13. Rather, "I have seen wisdom of this kind also," that is, exhibited in the way which is described in what follows [MAURER].
15. poor--as to the temporal advantages of true wisdom, though it often
saves others. It receives little reward from the world, which admires
none save the rich and great.
16. Resuming the sentiment
Pr 21:22; 24:5).
17. The words of wise, &c.--Though generally the poor wise man is not
yet "the words of wise men, when heard in quiet (when calmly given heed
to, as in
are more serviceable than," &c.
18. one sinner, &c.-- (Jos 7:1, 11, 12). Though wisdom excels folly (Ec 9:16; 7:19), yet a "little folly (equivalent to sin) can destroy much good," both in himself (Ec 10:1; Jas 2:10) and in others. "Wisdom" must, from the antithesis to "sinner," mean religion. Thus typically, the "little city" may be applied to the Church (Lu 12:32; Heb 12:22); the great king to Satan (Joh 12:31); the despised poor wise man, Jesus Christ (Isa 53:2, 3; Mr 6:3; 2Co 8:9; Eph 1:7, 8; Col 2:3).