Ecclesiastes 8

Civil cooperation; death for the wicked
 1 ¶ Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.    Boldness There is a right kind of boldness.
  2  I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.
 3  Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.
 4  Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?
 5  Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment.
6 ¶ Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.
 7  For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?
8  There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
   8 - No power to retain the spirit The Hebrew word here means breath. At death we cannot decide to keep breathing.
.9 ¶ All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over -
 10  And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity [futility].
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.
 12  Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:
 13  But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.
   11 - Because ... not executed speedily Why does God delay punishment of evil? To do otherwise would be like forcing good behavior. Obedience is a response to love. Unlike a church-controlled state, God lets us choose freely. What magnificent love!
  12 - Sinner ... hundred See pr1710.
  12 - Days be prolonged Continuation of the thought of the previous verse mala0217. We should rejoice that the Lord is patient at the time of the flood 1pe0320, not willing that any should any should perish 1pe0309. "Days" is supplied by translators.
  13 - Not be well ... wicked See job2004-9, job2215,6.
  13 - Shadow ps10211, ps10923, ps14404.
 14 ¶ There is a vanity [futility] which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.
 15  Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.
  14 - Just men Or "righteous men." (NASB). Job also could not understand jb0922. Compare ec0902,3, ez2103,4.
  14 - Wicked men See jb2107, ps07303, je1201
 16  When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)
 17  Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.
  16 - Applied my heart to see Only God knows everything. This is still true today.
  17 - Work of God What is His work? Perhaps is is best summarized in the Bible's most-quoted verse, jn0316. He works for our salvation. So, in what sense can we not find that work? Human logic is no help. There is no reason that God should save any of us except that He has chosen to love us! See ro1133.


Ecclesiastes home
Commentary home