Ecclesiastes

juantoo3

....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb
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Kindest Regards, all!

Here’s to you, Cage!

I like Ecclesiastes because it is short and straight to the point for the common person. Next to James, and perhaps Hebrews, it is my personal favorite book of the Bible. Now, I had thought to do somewhat of a commentary on the whole book, on the order of what Dauer, Bandit and Poh have done with the Parsha Project, but I can see that would take a great deal of time to do it proper justice. Unfortunately, time is a very precious commodity in my life right now.

So, I am going to have to narrow this done considerably. As time allows, and interest is shown, perhaps we can expand to include the whole book.

I have drawn from Brian’s compilation at the following address for ease of composition, but I noticed that this version does not take into account the grammatical “fixes” that make it easier to read in English. With that in mind, I hope to place in parentheses [ (x) ] what is found in the KJV in italics. This is important to me, because the original collection of authors assembled to compose the KJV used italics to note where they inserted words to make the words flow better in English. The words found in italics in the KJV are not found in the original Hebrew. Modern grammatical convention uses italics for emphasis, and this is a sticking point for interpretation among various denominations, who at times place emphasis on words that are not in the original text. That is why I will use parentheses, which should convey better with modern grammar.

Having said all of this, I will now begin:

http://www.comparative-religion.com...g-james-version/old-testament/ecclesiaste.php

Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every (thing there is) a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Ecclesiastes 3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up (that which is) planted;

Ecclesiastes 3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Ecclesiastes 3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

Ecclesiastes 3:6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

Ecclesiastes 3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

Ecclesiastes 3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

It is hard to discuss Ecclesiastes without taking this wonderful sample into consideration. There is a time and purpose for everything, even if we do not understand it at the time. Yes, I feel it is right, well and good to try to understand. But try as we might, some things in life are beyond our understanding. I understand that my mind is not sufficient to know the totality of G-d’s mind. As smart as I may think I am, and may even well be, I am no match for the Creator of the universe. So I trust that those things I don’t understand are as they should be. I trust that when the time is right, what I am capable of knowing will be revealed to me. I trust that some things I will never know, no matter how hard I apply myself. I can live with this understanding.

Ecclesiastes 3:12 I know that (there is) no good in them, but for (a man) to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

Ecclesiastes 3:13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it (is) the gift of God.

Ecclesiastes 3:22 Wherefore I perceive that (there is) nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that (is) his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

To rejoice, and do good in our life, and to enjoy the good of our labor, is G-d’s gift to us. Our gift to G-d in return is to do these things. See how this parallels Jesus’ command to love G-d and our neighbor? See how this parallels James’ “faith without works is dead?”

Ecclesiastes 5:1 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

Since we were so recently on the subject of sacrifice, I thought it well to note this. This seems to support the comments by Luna and others about the intent and motivation behind the sacrifice. Whether taking the life of a creature, or fasting, or whatever form of sacrifice offered (I might even add charity), if it is done by rote with little mind to what it signifies, it is unacceptable. Only when these things are done in the proper spirit and frame of mind do they become “a pleasing fragrance” to our Heavenly Father.

Ecclesiastes 5:8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for (he that is) higher than the highest regardeth; and (there be) higher than they.
I include this for the benefit of those who rail at “the machine.” Yes, it happens. We must do what we can to prevent it from happening. Sometimes that is not enough. How few successfully stood against Hitler during the time of his power. How few successfully stood against Pharoah before the Exodus. Yet, we can in our own little ways, within the sphere of our influence, do what we can to counteract these “evils” that will come.

Ecclesiastes 5:12 The sleep of a labouring man (is) sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

Ecclesiastes 5:18 Behold (that) which I have seen: (it is) good and comely (for one) to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it (is) his portion.

Ecclesiastes 5:19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this (is) the gift of God.
I love these verses, they speak so deeply to me. Grandpa taught me to live my life in such a manner that I can sleep at night. It took me a long time to figure it out, but some things aren’t worth losing sleep over. The more wealth we have, the bigger target we are, and the more we worry about who will take our wealth from us. Even so, wealth in the proper context is a blessing from G-d, and it is right that we enjoy the fruit of our labor.

Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
I see here a foreshadow of Jesus’ anointing before trial and execution. I also see a parallel with a Native American tradition; “it is a good day to die.”

Ecclesiastes 7:15 All (things) have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just (man) that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked (man) that prolongeth (his life) in his wickedness.

Ecclesiastes 7:16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?

Ecclesiastes 7:17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?

Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
I find these verses to be among the most profound in this book. G-d knows we will not at all times be 100% as He desires us to be. It is on us, to do our best in accord with what we understand, to be the best we can possibly be, for G-d’s sake and for our own.

Ecclesiastes 7:26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart (is) snares and nets, (and) her hands (as) bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
Does this make sense in light of my comments about foolish men being taken advantage of by less-than-scrupulous women?

Ecclesiastes 12:11 The words of the wise (are) as goads, and as nails fastened (by) the masters of assemblies, (which) are given from one shepherd.

Ecclesiastes 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books (there is) no end; and much study (is) a weariness of the flesh.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this (is) the whole (duty) of man. (emphasis mine)

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether (it be) good, or whether (it be) evil.
I would like to draw attention briefly to verse 12. Scholarship is a blessing, but it is also a curse. Knowledge is a heavy burden. Wisdom is far better than knowledge, for without wisdom knowledge is wasted effort. I have known people in my life who were not “book smart,” who were yet wise. And I have known PhD’s who made a living driving a cab. Given the choice, I would rather be wise than smart.

After the preacher gets done telling us of so much that transpires in the world, he advises us simply to “Fear God, and keep his commandments.” Did not Jesus tell us exactly the same thing over a thousand years later? Love G-d with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Indeed, there is a famous Rabbi whose name escapes me just now, who said something to the effect of: “Love G-d, and love your neighbor. All the rest is commentary.”

As always, constructive and polite comments are welcome. :)
 
Tremendous, wonderful, excellent...I love it Juantoo! I don't have any time right now to adequately respond. I'm finishing up the trim-out on the hardwood floor I layed in my house right now. I think you may be thinking of Rabbi Hillel?

Chris
 
Thank you, juantoo3.

I read this book last night a couple times over, and felt a bit foolish for my efforts to understand things, but your commentary puts things in a more clear perpsective for me. (At least for what part you quoted)

Ecclesiastes talks much about 'vain' endeavor. (Chasing after the wind) and almost leads one to simply accept things for what they are, instead of wasting time seeking answers where there may be none to find. All is vanity (under the sun) it even goes more into it and suggests that it is better to mourn than to laugh, and that simple pleasures are useless. Which leads me to question: "What is the point of living"?

I found the book to be a little confusing overall, because I personaly feel my efforts will 'pay off' in the end, (I hate to think I search in vain) but after reading it, I think I may take a less aggressive aproach, and simply let things come to me in time.

I'd like to think that thre are answers, and that I'm not foolish fo seeking them. I don't want to feel like I'm chasing after the wind, but like you said:

I trust that some things I will never know, no matter how hard I apply myself. I can live with this understanding.

I need to learn to do the same! Although, I don't want to sell myself short when it comes to understanding. I question again: "Where is the line which determines vain effort"?

Much Love,

~Cage~
 
Cage said:
Thank you, juantoo3.

I read this book last night a couple times over, and felt a bit foolish for my efforts to understand things, but your commentary puts things in a more clear perpsective for me. (At least for what part you quoted)

Ecclesiastes talks much about 'vain' endeavor. (Chasing after the wind) and almost leads one to simply accept things for what they are, instead of wasting time seeking answers where there may be none to find. All is vanity (under the sun) it even goes more into it and suggests that it is better to mourn than to laugh, and that simple pleasures are useless. Which leads me to question: "What is the point of living"?

I found the book to be a little confusing overall, because I personaly feel my efforts will 'pay off' in the end, (I hate to think I search in vain) but after reading it, I think I may take a less aggressive aproach, and simply let things come to me in time.

I'd like to think that thre are answers, and that I'm not foolish fo seeking them. I don't want to feel like I'm chasing after the wind, but like you said:



I need to learn to do the same! Although, I don't want to sell myself short when it comes to understanding. I question again: "Where is the line which determines vain effort"?

Much Love,

~Cage~

In light of your quest for answers I believe the following may offer you hope and anticipation:

Mat 7:7 "Ask, and it shall be given you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened for you."

Mat 7:8 "For everyone that asks, receives and he that seeks, finds and to him that knocks, it shall be opened."

Not only in the NT, but here in the OT:

Deu 4:29 "But from the moment you seek the Lord you God, you shall find him, and if you seek him with all your hear and with all your soul.

Seems pretty clear Cage, that you will find the answers you seek, if you don't give up.

my 2c

v/r

Q
 
Kindest Regards, Cage!

What Q says is also true, and I would like to add a little,

Ecclesiastes talks much about 'vain' endeavor. (Chasing after the wind) and almost leads one to simply accept things for what they are, instead of wasting time seeking answers where there may be none to find. All is vanity (under the sun) it even goes more into it and suggests that it is better to mourn than to laugh, and that simple pleasures are useless. Which leads me to question: "What is the point of living"?
Yes, a great deal of this book is focused on vanity, that is, how so much of life is vain pursuit. I could probably place nearly half of the book here, and if you wish we can do a little here and a little there, but what I take away from all of this talk of vanity, is that so much of what we do doesn't really matter. If you prefer, there is no profit regarding our inheritance in heaven. There is little or no bearing on our salvation.

We have enjoyments in life, be they hobbies, good friends, food, art, whatever. And it is well that we get to enjoy them while we are here. But we can't take any of these things with us when we die, and they have no bearing on our place in heaven. I believe this is why Solomon calls these things "vanity."

I do find the verses commenting on how mourning is preferable to laughter a bit puzzling. Yet, in the context they are given, it seems to me to relate to the old adage about good friends "through thick and thin." A truly good friend is there for you in your moment(s) of sorrow as well as your moments of joy. Can't speak for anyone else, but that is one way I measure my friends; "who is there for me when I really need them?" Fair weather friends are a dime a dozen, and I often question if such people can truly even be called friends.

I found the book to be a little confusing overall, because I personaly feel my efforts will 'pay off' in the end, (I hate to think I search in vain) but after reading it, I think I may take a less aggressive aproach, and simply let things come to me in time.
I don't want you to think you search in vain. Many, if not most, answers are available to those who sincerely seek. The questions I was suggesting have no answers are things like "why me?, why am I here?, what purpose do I serve in the grand scheme of things?, how did G-d create the universe?, why did He create an adversary?, why doesn't He just do away with the adversary?" It is questions like these that seem to me, no matter how hard we seek, and how many suggested answers are offered, there is yet to be any answer that satisfies the question.

This even flows over into the vanity of knowledge. How much knowledge will get you into heaven? Not much, and it is pretty well summed up as "fear G-d, and keep His commandments." All other knowledge is fun, can be profitable, certainly can be applied in your daily comings and goings, help you in your career and financial position, make you an entertaining friend, help you to win on Jeopardy, and so on. But it isn't going to get you into heaven. Being able to provide a lengthy discourse on the intracacies of reduction theory and being able to cite chapter and verse in the original language is all well and nice in its place, but in the end it matters not a wit toward your salvation. If you were to figure out all of the subtle mysteries of the universe, and still did not love G-d and keep His commandments, it would matter nothing. Herein lies the difference between knowledge and wisdom, and why knowledge is but another vanity.

I don't want to sell myself short when it comes to understanding. I question again: "Where is the line which determines vain effort"?
I don't want you to sell yourself short either, understanding has its place. Vain does not of itself mean "bad" or "evil." I suspect we all endeavor in pursuits that could be classed by Solomon as "vain," yet are necessary to our existence here in this life. But it comes back to whether or not these things are necessary to salvation. I would add that understanding is not solely of knowledge. Understanding comes from wise application of knowledge. How many of us, myself included, have our brains loaded with insignificant factoids that have no real value or use outside of a game of trivial pursuit? When that knowledge can be applied to our (and / or our loved one's) benefit, then it is applying wisdom and developing understanding.

Consider, how does one drive a nail with a hammer? Well, there's a hammer, and there's a nail, and there's a couple of pieces of wood. OK, that, in this context, is knowledge. And any "dummy" can pick up a hammer and start flailing away and think himself a carpenter, and at the end of the day his arm and shoulder are killing him. And he wonders how a carpenter can do this all day long for a living. A carpenter knows, that there are subtle wrist movements developed by practice and proper teaching, that save the muscles in the arm and shoulder. In a short while, with proper skillful teaching, a carpenter can sink a large nail in two or three strikes and move on to the next. That is understanding, through wisdom.

Understanding doesn't come through knowledge, certainly not by knowledge alone. The carpenter could as easily care less that a hammer is called a hammer (although he must call it something, "babe" perhaps?). The perfect angle for the point of the nail or the type of metal used is not of his direct concern. He understands how to hold the nail just right with one hand while swinging the hammer in the correct manner to set the nail and get his hand out of the way before he sinks the nail. "Knowledgeable" people keep smashing their thumbs...but they will tell you all about how they know how to be a carpenter. Those that truly do understand chuckle at these people and go on about the task of doing. There is an old saying that draws offense from some, but it is true: Them that can, do. Them that can't, teach.

Which is why I strive to find teachers to learn from that actually understand what they are teaching. I want to learn from the guy in the rafters, the guy laying floor, the guy hanging sheetrock and the guy laying shingles. The textbook teachers are nice, and have their place, but there comes a time when knowledge must be applied or it is useless.

Useless knowledge is vanity.

To be fair, even the carpenter's understanding is vanity, it will not get him to heaven. But it will provide a living for his family, and that is wisdom.

I hope this helps. :)
 
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All, wasn't Ecclesiastes an excersise in "folly", but in the end the truth held out? I could have sworn in the end the author pointed out that without God, all was folly...

v/r

Q
 
juantoo3 said:
Well, in the spirit of the Parsha Project, what is your interpretation?

Must admit, I am behind in my studies...(sorry Dauer). :eek:
 
Since I suspect there may be some vagueness in interpretation of the word "vanity," I thought I would break out the Strong's Concordance.

Vanity, and vanities, in all examples I noted in the book of Ecclesiastes (I saw no exceptions, if there are someone correct me) were the same Hebrew word:

Hebrew word 1892: hebel (alternatively habel), meaning emptiness or vanity, fig. something transitory or unsatisfactory. An interesting aside, the Strong's notes that capitalized, Hebel, is the proper name of Adam's son - Abel)

Abel's name meant "transitory, emptiness." Considering the loss of a young child, I think this is profound in its meaning.

Vanity is not a bad thing; it is a fleeting thing, a hollow and meaningless thing, something that in the end is not important.

So I guess my guess was as good as any, considering I never looked this up before... :D
 
juantoo3 said:
Since I suspect there may be some vagueness in interpretation of the word "vanity," I thought I would break out the Strong's Concordance.

Vanity, and vanities, in all examples I noted in the book of Ecclesiastes (I saw no exceptions, if there are someone correct me) were the same Hebrew word:

Hebrew word 1892: hebel (alternatively habel), meaning emptiness or vanity, fig. something transitory or unsatisfactory. An interesting aside, the Strong's notes that capitalized, Hebel, is the proper name of Adam's son - Abel)

Abel's name meant "transitory, emptiness." Considering the loss of a young child, I think this is profound in its meaning.

Vanity is not a bad thing; it is a fleeting thing, a hollow and meaningless thing, something that in the end is not important.

So I guess my guess was as good as any, considering I never looked this up before... :D

Self absorbed...
 
Juantoo3 said:
Hebrew word 1892: hebel (alternatively habel), meaning emptiness or vanity, fig. something transitory or unsatisfactory.
...Idolatry? (Veneration of, or devotedly striving after empty things, emphasis on the "devotedly striving" part)
Ecclesiastes 5:10-12 said:
10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver;
Nor he who loves abundance, with increase.
This also is vanity.

11 When goods increase,
They increase who eat them;
So what profit have the owners
Except to see them with their eyes?
12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet,
Whether he eats little or much;
But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.

What is what truly satisfies?
Ecclesiates 6:3-6 said:
3 If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or indeed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he— 4 for it comes in vanity and departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness. 5 Though it has not seen the sun or known anything, this has more rest than that man, 6 even if he lives a thousand years twice—but has not seen goodness. Do not all go to one place?

How is this accomplished?

Ecclesiastes 7:1-8 said:
1 A good name is better than precious ointment,
And the day of death than the day of one’s birth;
2 Better to go to the house of mourning
Than to go to the house of feasting,
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise
Than for a man to hear the song of fools.

6 For like the crackling of thorns under a pot,
So is the laughter of the fool.
This also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason,
And a bribe debases the heart.
8 The end of a thing is better than its beginning;
The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
If we learn from our mistakes, we can grow wiser, as can be demonstrated by the previous quote and by the following:
Ecclesiastes 7:11-12 said:
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
And profitable to those who see the sun.
12 For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense,
But the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it.

And we all make plenty of mistakes, so we have ample opportunity to learn:
Ecclesiastes 7:20 said:
20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good
And does not sin.

While we are living our vain life, we have the opportunity to learn.

The conclusion of the whole matter:
Ecclesiastes 12:9-14 said:
9 And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. 12 And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

This is the only thing that is not vanity--or empty striving, i.e., idolatry.

My two cents worth. :)
 
Kindest Regards, Seattlegal!

A good two cents worth!

Something puzzles me:
12:11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one shepherd.
I find it curious why a shepherd is brought into this...what has a shepherd to do with driving nails?

Let's see what Strong's says:

7462: ra'ah; a prim. root; to tend a flock; i.e. pasture it; intr. to graze (lit. or fig.); gen. to rule; by extens. to associate with (as a friend); -x. break, companion, keep company with, devour, eat up, evil entreat, feed, use as a friend, make friendship with, herdman, keep [sheep] (-er), pastor, + shearing house, shepherd, wander, waste.

Oh my! What have I stumbled into? I see how translating was so difficult. With this many meanings it is difficult to know quite what it was Solomon had in mind. Talk about mixed metaphors!

"The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one shepherd." Given by one who rules? Given by a friend? Given by a pastor? Given by one who tends to those in his / her care?

I am guessing, and I am really not certain, that this "shepherd" who passes wisdom and the word of scholars, does so to those in his / her "flock," those to whom s/he cares about and tends to. As a caring "ruler" looking out for the welfare of those they love.

And then, I may be way off base. :D

I just noticed Seattlegal's quote of Ecclesiastes is a bit different, let's see if there might be anything to clear this up:

12:11 The words of the wise (are) as goads, and as nails fastened (by) the masters of assemblies, (which) are given from one shepherd.
Hmmm, no scholars here, unless there is something further in translation I am missing. I would think a "master of assembly" to be a skilled carpenter, considering the example uses "nails fastened by."

What is a goad, anyway?

1861: dorbown; of uncert. det.; a goad, - goad.

Hmmm, that wasn't much help.

Goad; to prod or urge, to provoke. - Webster's pocket dictionary

OK, this is pretty close to what I was thinking.

The words of the wise (shepherd) prod or provoke those in their care. This seems to make sense.

I do think it interesting, that "shepherd" is mentioned, and if I am guessing correctly "carpenter" in the same verse. Was Solomon alluding to Jesus, or did Jesus make use of the allusion? Hard to see how Jesus had a lot of choice initially to become a carpenter, if as the son of a carpenter he was destined to become one, born into the trade so to speak. And his birth was initially announced to shepherds in the field. Just a random thought.
 
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The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the [true] God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole [obligation] of man. For the [true] God himself will bring every sort of work into the judgment in relation to every hidden thing, as to whether it is good or bad chapter 12 ;13-14
the fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom, and those observing his commandments have good insight.
The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge. Wisdom and discipline are what mere fools have despised. proverbs 1;7
 
I keep reading "Fear God", but why are we to 'fear' him? I thought perfect Love cast out fear...

1 John 4:18
18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Matthew 22:37-38

37. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38. This is the first and great commandment.

This seems a bit contradictory; I don't understand why God would even want us to 'fear' him, if it is possible to keep the first, and great commandment through Love.

~Cage~
 
Cage said:
I keep reading "Fear God", but why are we to 'fear' him? I thought perfect Love cast out fear...

1 John 4:18
18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Matthew 22:37-38

37. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38. This is the first and great commandment.

This seems a bit contradictory; I don't understand why God would even want us to 'fear' him, if it is possible to keep the first, and great commandment through Love.

~Cage~
See Hebrews 10:26-39, for those who knowingly reject God's loving kindness....
 
Cage said:
I keep reading "Fear God", but why are we to 'fear' him? I thought perfect Love cast out fear...

1 John 4:18
18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Matthew 22:37-38

37. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38. This is the first and great commandment.

This seems a bit contradictory; I don't understand why God would even want us to 'fear' him, if it is possible to keep the first, and great commandment through Love.

~Cage~
LOL this is not a morbid fear of God ,but the same sort of fear that we feel towards a loving father , we would not want to displease a loving father by doing things that we know he would not like us to do. so yes ,as the verse you quoted says , we love God by listening to his guidence, and we use our mind to do this. to love God means to be attentive to his instructions, in the bible.
The most beneficial teachings for us now , are those that reflect the wisdom of the "one shepherd," Jehovah God (12:9-12) and Jesus is the one who reflects the teachings of Jehovah God, that is why Jehovah said to listen to him

 
Ecc 1:1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Ecc 1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
Ecc 1:3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
Ecc 1:4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
Ecc 1:5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
Ecc 1:6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
Ecc 1:7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
Ecc 1:8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
Ecc 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Ecc 1:10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
Ecc 1:11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
Ecc 1:12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
Ecc 1:13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
Ecc 1:14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Ecc 1:15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
Ecc 1:16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
Ecc 1:17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
Ecc 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

O.K., so the first interesting thing to me is the narrator. He says he is the son of David and was king of Jerusalem, but he's parodying, or caricaturizing the role of the "preacher." But this is an entirely different kind of preacher than some wild-eyed prophet from the wilderness preaching doom and gloom and apocolyptic consequences.

I imagine the narrator as a late middle-aged man who, having satiated every urge, having lived the good life to its fullest, having indulged every fantasy; ridden all the rides at the fair, so to speak, as many times as he ever wanted, is now bored and wondering what it was all good for. He's seen everything, done everything, persued knowlege and wisdom to their ultimately ends, and now finds that meaning and satisfaction lie in the process not in the achievement because there is no ultimate achievement that can be held in one's hands at the end. It's all just grains of sand that slip through the fingers: vanity.

So what can this "preacher" leave as a legacy of wisdom? Considering the richness of his life experience, what does he have to say for his life that is unique and worthwhile to preserve? This is what he's asking himself.

Chris
 
China Cat Sunflower said:
O.K., so the first interesting thing to me is the narrator. He says he is the son of David and was king of Jerusalem, but he's parodying, or caricaturizing the role of the "preacher." But this is an entirely different kind of preacher than some wild-eyed prophet from the wilderness preaching doom and gloom and apocolyptic consequences.

I imagine the narrator as a late middle-aged man who, having satiated every urge, having lived the good life to its fullest, having indulged every fantasy; ridden all the rides at the fair, so to speak, as many times as he ever wanted, is now bored and wondering what it was all good for. He's seen everything, done everything, persued knowlege and wisdom to their ultimately ends, and now finds that meaning and satisfaction lie in the process not in the achievement because there is no ultimate achievement that can be held in one's hands at the end. It's all just grains of sand that slip through the fingers: vanity.

So what can this "preacher" leave as a legacy of wisdom? Considering the richness of his life experience, what does he have to say for his life that is unique and worthwhile to preserve? This is what he's asking himself.

Chris
i think he is saying,
The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the [true] God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole [obligation] of man.
What shall we conclude, then? Well, what about the conclusion that Solomon reached? He saw, or examined, "all the works that were done under the sun, and, look! everything was vanity and a striving after wind." (Ecclesiastes 1:14) We do not find in the book of Ecclesiastes the words of a cynic or a disgruntled man. They are part of God’s inspired Word and worthy of our consideration.
 
mee said:
i think he is saying,
The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the [true] God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole [obligation] of man.
What shall we conclude, then? Well, what about the conclusion that Solomon reached? He saw, or examined, "all the works that were done under the sun, and, look! everything was vanity and a striving after wind." (Ecclesiastes 1:14) We do not find in the book of Ecclesiastes the words of a cynic or a disgruntled man. They are part of God’s inspired Word and worthy of our consideration.

NO. That is not what is being said. What is being said is that everything under the sun has already been done. Without God, nothing is new, and nothing MATTERS. Here he owns everything, has everything, can do anything he wants, and it isn't enough without God in his life. It is all garbage. That is what the wisest man on earth to be or ever to be is telling us...

Nothing matters without God at our side.

that is all.

Q
 
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