NOTES AND RUMINATIONS
The fate of men and beasts
Aspects of eternity.
The writer observes that righteousness and wickedness are not judged properly in this world, and infers that God will establish his own judgement at a
He also observes that while men resemble beasts in many ways, there is a possibility, which must not be ignored, of a difference in what happens to
their spirits. Perhaps the human spirit really does go “upward”. Who knows, for certain?
Coveting and isolation
He notes the vexations which are caused by covetousness
“Oppression” is covetousness directed against the less powerful.
“Envy” is covetousness inspired by the more wealthy.
Then there is the miser, who toils to accumulate for his own benefit alone, without giving himself time to enjoy the benefits.
This prompts thoughts on why it is better for men to work in company instead of working alone..
The new gets old
A little parable on the way that a fresh new king, perceived as a welcome replacement for the tired old king, becomes in turn the tired old king who
will be replaced by a welcome new arrival.
We learned even in the first chapter that looking for new things in the world was “vanity”. We now learn not to look for any lasting benefit in
the new thing in the world for other people. In other words, the quest for fame achieves as little as the quest for prosperity.
Men spend too much time talking, when they should be listening to God
The various ways in which our toil is wasted, so that we cannot enjoy the results.
Some of it, by corruption, goes to benefit other people.
Misers are so obsessed with keeping their gain that they will not allow themselves to enjoy the benefits.
Some wealthy people find their wealth dissipated in the cost of keeping their servants.
Others lose their wealth in the accidents of bad fortune.
This brings the writer back to the conclusions reached in the main argument;
“What I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of
his life which God has given him, for this is his lot.”
Further thoughts on this theme.
Some wealthy men have no children to inherit from them.
Others, perhaps because they are misers, may as well have no children.
Such men have no peace in life, no proper burial, no peace after life.
This is where I first noticed a similarity to the complaints in Job.
Don’t argue with God
The previous three passages have shown how our efforts are wasted when we seek for more than what God has given us. Once again, the moral is that we
should be content with what God is giving us.
We need to remember that we are not God. Only God knows the future, and only God can decide how to make things work out for the best.
Remember to die
Ch 7 vv1-12
This passage looks like a collection of proverbs.
The writer has been promoting “enjoyment of life, with reference to God”.
He now begins to stress the importance of being aware of the prospect of death. This is another way of detaching ourselves from the over-active
business of this world and referring ourselves to God. Either way, the patient man submits himself to God, for the sake of the work which God has
given him to do.
The passage ends with a “wisdom is a good thing” statement. Over the next few chapters, the writer seems to insert these almost as “paragraph
markers” between themes.
For better or for worse
The thought running through these verses is that God has put us into a world of mixed experiences, containing things that feel good and things that
feel bad. It is for us to accept both kinds of experience as the gift of God. A prose version of the poem about “there is a season”.
We are deliberately left with gaps in our knowledge, especially in our knowledge of the future. Thus we may understand our subordinate place. We
cannot “master” the universe by knowing it, to show us that we do not master it in any other sense.
The last verse is another “paragraph marker”.
Not one righteous
This passage is dominated by the word “find”. The summit of knowledge which the writer finds in his quest for knowledge is that mankind is not
righteous. God made them upright, but they found many ways to become sinful.
In this case, the paragraph marker is at the beginning of the next chapter.
edit on 9-4-2021 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)