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Ecclesiastes (5) There is a season

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posted on Oct, 2 2020 @ 05:00 PM
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.

Ch3 vv1-8

This passage is a poem, laid out as such in modern translations. We are told that there is a season for everything, and a time for every purpose [AV] or matter [RSV] under heaven.

We are given a series of fourteen pairs of examples- twice the sacred number, seven;
To live or to die
To plant, or pluck up what is planted.
To kill or to heal.
To break down or build up
To weep or to laugh
To mourn or to dance
To cast away stones or to gather stones together
To embrace or refrain from embracing
To seek or to lose
To keep or to throw away
To rend or to sew.
To keep silence or to speak
To love or to hate
For war or for peace

Evidently all these pairs are polar opposites, beneficial or destructive, positive or negative.
Casting away stones is a good thing if you are a farmer preparing the ground for ploughing.
If “casting away stones” counts as a positive thing, then the “positives” and the “negatives” are the first-mentioned item in the pair seven times each.
This is all very balanced.

In the Sixties, this poem was turned into a folk-song and entered the pop-charts. Not many Bible passages get this kind of treatment. Offhand, I can only think of “the waters of Babylon” and Ezekiel’s “dry bones”. There was also a singing nun, but her song was about saint Dominic.

What does this poem mean? Or, to put it another way, why do such apparent truisms need to be said?

It might be worth taking an indirect approach, first, and asking why the Sixties thought it worth turning into a folk-song. Comparing the two versions, the song has been tweaked a little, but most of the changes are insignificant. A little re-arrangement for the sake of the flow, a couple of omissions (including, surprisingly, speech and silence). The most revealing changes are the two additions.

The added refrain “Turn, turn, turn” draws attention to the fact that most of these pairs, like “weeping and laughing” can be repeating cycles. Life alternates. If the listeners were influenced by eastern philosophies, they would even have thought of “being born and dying” as a repeating cycle.
( I say “they”. I was around at the time, but I was a schoolboy in a country village. I didn’t really experience the Sixties, just watched it on television.)

The other big change comes at the end, where the climax is now;
“A time to love, a time to hate;
A time for peace- I swear it’s not too late.”
In other words, the theme has been co-opted into the Sixties understanding of “peace”. The implication is that people need to live “at one” with the world by accepting its positives and negatives. Though they are not quite whole-hearted about accepting the negatives. The heroes of the protest march are not going to recognise a time for war or a time to keep silent.

The same kind of attitude is implied in the Beatles’ song “Obladi’ Oblada”. That is, “life goes on”. It doesn’t matter if life doesn’t go beyond the repeating cycle of boy meeting girl and getting married and having children, as long as life goes on.

Their version of “acceptance” is something which individuals are supposed to achieve on their own. They are taking this poem in isolation, detaching it from the context of reflecting upon life in God’s world, and turning it into a stand-alone philosophy.

We need to replace it in its context, which means going back to the beginning of the book. We’ve seen one set of repeating cycles in the first chapter, starting with the sun rising and going down. The opening words had declared “All is vanity!”, and that list was part of the explanation. The cycles themselves are not vanity, but it is “vanity” to expect anything “new” beyond them.

The repeating cycles of the first chapter are the cycles of the natural world. The repeating cycles of this poem are their equivalents in human life. The implied moral is much the same. In this case, the list is helping to explain the declaration made at the end of the previous chapter;
“There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil” (ch2 v24).

“Nothing better” in the sense that human ambitions offer nothing better. The clue is in the second half of the verse just quoted; “This is from the hand of God”.

That is the detail that is missing in the folk-song.

edit on 2-10-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 2 2020 @ 08:18 PM
Good thread. Very poignant.

I really like the Byrds version, with Roger McGuinn's signature Rickenbacker 12- string and it's gorgeous tone.

posted on Oct, 3 2020 @ 02:03 AM
a reply to: ColeYounger
I think the Seekers version is the one I was hearing on the radio, so that was the voice I remembered. But thank you for the other lnk.

edit on 3-10-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 9 2020 @ 06:20 AM
edit on 10/9/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 9 2020 @ 06:29 AM
Useless to say anything

ALL Milk no meat

Let us know when you can come up with something a little more original.

edit on 10/9/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 9 2020 @ 07:31 AM

originally posted by: ChesterJohn
Let us know when you can come up with something a little more original.

You've never really understood the purpose of Biblical teaching, have you?
The function of Biblical teaching is not to come up with "something original" (anything "new" in this field is going to be false teaching almost by definition), but to help people to understand what is there.

posted on Oct, 13 2020 @ 05:30 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Try looking at the bible as What God is Saying. Not what God is teaching. Or what you can teach from it. You see teachings can vary and change according to every teachers opinions over the years and from generation to generation. However, what God is saying can only be taken one way, literally.

You see mens words change but God's words are forever

Ps 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
Ps 119:89 ¶ LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Ps 119:152 ¶ Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.
Ps 119:160 ¶ Thy word [is] true [from] the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments [endureth] for ever.
Mt 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

edit on 10/13/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 13 2020 @ 06:01 PM
a reply to: ChesterJohn
Then why were you criticising lack of originality? "Originality" means newness, and we both agree that newness is a bad thing.

posted on Oct, 13 2020 @ 06:09 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Your teaching is not original. I have heard it taught many times over 27 years as a Christian. therefore is in not yours or genuine anyone can copy other peoples work in their own words (it would not be plagiarizing) but it is not original.

Have you seen the Flood in Gen 1:2?

Do you see there are beginnings that pertain to God in the bible that are not of the same time period?

Did you ever consider where and what divers(not diverse) places are? Have you ever consider what divers(not diverse) colors are?

Did you see Jesus talked of people being snatched away on a day where some were sleeping and others working. Showing that the earth had both a night and a day at the same time?

without changing Gods words there are many more things revealed to men and they are his forever. But when you get bibles that change words that is all lost. If you use bibles that comes from only 45 documents it does not make them better but it sure does limit you on what God has revealed.

edit on 10/13/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 13 2020 @ 06:12 PM
a reply to: ChesterJohn
That doesn't answer my point. Why are you looking for otiginality, when we both agree that newness is a bad thing?

I repeat; Not being original is a virtue. WHY are you making a criticism about it?

edit on 13-10-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 13 2020 @ 06:19 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

I am looking to see if a man sees the things God has revealed that are for the one who truly studies and rightly divides God's words.

Anyone can repeat someone else's works in their own words and that does not make it virtuous in any way.

edit on 10/13/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 13 2020 @ 06:25 PM
a reply to: ChesterJohn
But what you are looking for, by your own account, is the exact opposite of "originality". So why do you criticise anyone for not being original?

posted on Oct, 13 2020 @ 06:30 PM

originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: ChesterJohn. . . when we both agree that newness is a bad thing.

I do not think new thing is bad.

Isa 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

When I look to a mans teaching the new things are not new in God's word but many don't see them. They don't study by rightly dividing and comparing scripture with scripture. So we hear the same old teachings that were an=handed down from one bible scholar to the student and again to the next generation of students. They are encourage to look to that which is already taught and not to what God has been teaching that now man sees. Now that would be a new thing but very few there be that do it.

Calvinism and Catholicism are two of the greatest examples one can show that teachings are nothing more than transmission of their traditions and teachings. That does not make them biblical or correct. There are thing revealed to some and not to others. this is why you can reread a scriptures and see something "new".

edit on 10/13/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 13 2020 @ 06:32 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

No I am looking by the account of God's words as found it the Preserved English text of his inspired words as found in the only Bible that has all of his words in it, the Authorized Version.

posted on Oct, 13 2020 @ 06:37 PM
Dis, have you ever listed out every use of a word and defind each of them by the context?

It takes weeks and months to do one word.

If I see the same old teaching in your teaching then I am most sure you got it from Reading the works of others, reading their dictionaries instead of defining words for yourself as they are found in the context of the scriptures. New Translations try and do that for you but then lose all connection God had in his preserved words in English. You go to Greek you go to Hebrew but what you get is someone elses teaching because they are dead languages and no one even as far back as the 1500's even knew how those languages were spoken and most of their material was from others before them.

So when I speak of new it is not of some new thing but rather what is hidden from men who don't study.

posted on Oct, 13 2020 @ 06:38 PM
a reply to: ChesterJohn
Since God's truth never changes, nothing that is true to God is going to be a variation from what he has always said. In that sense, anything that is new is going to be false to God.

My own criticism of your own doctrine would be that you are original only too frequently. That seems to be the major vice of modern American Christianity. Adam and Eve were being original when they decided that the fruit of the tree of knowledge was "good to eat", which was a fresh departure from what God had told them.

posted on Oct, 13 2020 @ 06:55 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

You never really understood the purpose of Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

My criticism of your teaching would be original to ATS too.

You are teaching the Modern American Christian teachings. But it is not modern it has been around for the last 200 years. But what I teach goes back with proof to early church teachers if you were willing to believe what they taught without believing the Roman Catholic critics who called them heretic and killed them off between 500-1500AD. and some old whom they just criticized but if they could they would have killed them too.

I have the mind of Christ which is not rooted in the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

You do believe that the woman, clothed in purple and blue, who is covered in the blood of the saints who hold the faith in Jesus. Who symbol is a gold cup. drinks wine and who is a city that sits on seven mountains is indeed Rome or more specifically the Roman Catholic (cat a holic) Church?

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
Re 17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
Rome is the only city of the day of John that sits on seven mountains.

edit on 10/13/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

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