It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Ecclesiastes (3) The pursuit of pleasure

page: 1
7

log in

join
share:

posted on Sep, 18 2020 @ 05:00 PM
link   
The book of Ecclesiastes tends to be neglected.
I must admit that I’ve been neglecting it myself.
So I come to this book with no preconceptions, except that a book found in the Old Testament must be intended to have a spiritual meaning. The people who compiled the canon were not in the business of collecting an anthology of “Hebrew literature”.

Ch2 vv1-11

In the first chapter, the speaker announced his inquiries into the value of what men do and think. His inquiry into what men do is focussed on the search for pleasure, and can be broken down into three parts.

V1; “Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.”
He begins by investigating pleasurable sensation. Specifically, wine. Women and song are not mentioned.


But he does not “lose himself” in the experience. Even as he drinks, his mind remains above the experience, detached and continuing to judge what is happening.
“I searched how to cheer my body with wine… and how to lay hold on folly”, but I searched “with my mind… my mind still guiding me with wisdom.”
He was doing this “till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven for the few days of their life”.

His judgement on the experience; “I said of laughter ‘It is mad’, and of pleasure ‘What use is it?’”
So it is vanity. Not a worthwhile way of spending the “few days”.


Then he investigates the pleasures of ownership. In vv4-8, he lays out a list of ways in which a man with wealth and leisure can spend his money, having tried them all.
Making great works, such as building houses.
Planting vineyards.
Making gardens and parks with all kinds of fruit trees.
Making pools from which to water the trees.
Buying male and female slaves and adding them to the slaves being born within the household.
Owning herds and flocks.
Collecting silver and gold and other forms of treasure.
Acquiring singers and “many concubines, man’s delight”.



His following comments seem to cover both forms of pleasure, but it isn’t difficult to see the limitations of the pleasure of ownership. Possessions and servants can make life more comfortable, but only up to a point. Beyond that point, additional servants and possessions don’t add to the comfort. Once your room is at the right temperature, spending more money is not going to make it more right. You can only eat one meal at a time, even if you stretch it out to a dozen courses like the Edwardians. You can only sleep in one bed at a time. As Imelda Marcos will have discovered, you can only wear one pair of shoes at a time. You can only listen to one song at a time. You can have parks and landscapes laid out by Capability Brown himself, but your feet can only stand in one spot at a time.

A man with vast possessions knows that he owns them and knows that other people know that he owns them, and that’s the real sum of his pleasure.

From v9, he gives his judgement on both forms of pleasure, sensation and ownership.
In ch1 v16, he had said “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me.” He now recalls and echoes that remark by saying “I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me.”

He sums up what he has been doing; “Whatever my eyes desired, I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this [pleasure] was my reward for all my toil.”
As I observed before, “toil” must mean “activity” or “using energy”. He certainly isn’t talking about work.

There is a logical progression in his judgement.
From the beginning, he has been saying that the purposes which men pursue are “vanity”, just empty things.
In ch1 v17, he added the consequence that pursuing these things was no more than “striving after wind”.
Now he brings together “vanity” and “striving after wind” and adds the further consequence that there is “nothing to be gained under the sun” by pursuing these things.




posted on Sep, 18 2020 @ 06:35 PM
link   
Its a great teaching, thank you DISRAELI.



posted on Sep, 18 2020 @ 06:40 PM
link   
a reply to: glend
I'm glad you appreciate it. And all I'm doing is showing people what the text says.





edit on 18-9-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2020 @ 07:02 PM
link   
Sounds like the kind of guy that would give up his riches and follow Jesus if he had the opportunity. Still leaves me wondering what has value in one's life? It's nothing you own, nothing you feel (physically at least), some reward in Heaven then?

A quote from my grandmother, "This life, one more and then what?"



posted on Sep, 18 2020 @ 10:23 PM
link   
It does paint a pretty bleak picture. If we're not to enjoy any part of our lives here only seek God, then at what point does a person come to the conclusion that nothing here has any point and take an active hand in seeking God? Of course, that is a sin because God takes us as He chooses.

So more or less, nothing has value or meaning but we're stuck here until God is done flogging us with that point?

Not sure I like Ecclesiastes so far.



posted on Sep, 18 2020 @ 10:51 PM
link   
The minds will craves for everything
The Fathers will is everything....

"I am the All. Cleave a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up a stone, and You will find Me there."



posted on Sep, 18 2020 @ 11:28 PM
link   

originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: glend
I'm glad you appreciate it. And all I'm doing is showing people what the text says.


You presented a nugget for ponderation. It's nice to have such every now and again. You present so nicely and know your topic.
I am reminded of how much anxiety can come with ownership. One must insure one's possessions to "protect" them as is the habit in our society. I have had only one new car in this life. I did not think much about damage until after the first parking lot scrape (I was so mad sad). Nine years later it looked a sight after having been driven for 45+ miles with a broken snow chain whipping the front quarter panel



posted on Sep, 19 2020 @ 02:31 AM
link   

originally posted by: MichiganSwampBuck
Sounds like the kind of guy that would give up his riches and follow Jesus if he had the opportunity. Still leaves me wondering what has value in one's life? It's nothing you own, nothing you feel (physically at least), some reward in Heaven then?

It does look as though he's moving in that direction.It's the kind of attitude that made mediaeval people enter mknateries, which makes me question the common Christian dismissal of the book.



posted on Sep, 19 2020 @ 02:37 AM
link   

originally posted by: ketsuko
... and take an active hand in seeking God? Of course, that is a sin because God takes us as He chooses.

Why should actively seeking God be a sin? Aren't we encouraged to do it in many Biblical passages? It doesn't conflict with God seeking us, because (thanks to God's unconscious influence on us) it may be the means that God is using.


Not sure I like Ecclesiastes so far.

Since I'm only taking the book step by step myself, I'm not sure how the reasoning finally works out.



posted on Sep, 19 2020 @ 07:09 AM
link   
a reply to: DISRAELI

Sorry I wasn't clear. I meant taking in active hand in meeting God face to face -- suicide. Run down and make people so down on the small things the world has to offer and you start to think nothing here is worthwhile at all. Don't you see how that leads to depression?

To me, the important lesson has always been to keep God at the center while you move through life and not get so wrapped in the things of this world that you lose sight of that.


edit on 19-9-2020 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 19 2020 @ 07:46 AM
link   

originally posted by: ketsuko
To me, the important lesson has always been to keep God at the center while you move through life and not get so wrapped in the things of this world that you lose sight of that.

I think this writer may be heading in exactly the same direction, but we will need to look at the whole picture before this becomes clear.



posted on Sep, 26 2020 @ 09:25 AM
link   
a reply to: DISRAELILook at what is taken away from the verse and what is changed and added in the verse. I at this point just want all to study the differences and see the differences in just "What it says" not what you think it means or teaches.

I will only do one verse because this is enough for all to consider.

Here is the Version you quotes from

V1; “Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.”



Eccl 2:1 ¶ I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.


BTW Disraeli, what version are you quoting from?



posted on Sep, 26 2020 @ 10:13 AM
link   
a reply to: ChesterJohn
As I mentioned on a previous occasion, my standard quoting version is the RSV.



posted on Sep, 27 2020 @ 03:06 PM
link   
a reply to: DISRAELI

The RSV uses only THREE primary text and no more than 45 text in total for their Translation. See the chart below

edit on 9/27/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)




top topics



 
7

log in

join