Ecclesiastes Lesson 2 Handout
I. Introduction and Re-cap
II. Read 5:1, 3, 5, and 6.
1 Keep your mouth from being rash and let not your throat be quick to bring forth speech before God. For God is in heaven and you are on earth; that is why your words should be few.
3 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. For He has no pleasure in fools; what you vow, fulfill.
5 Don’t let your mouth bring you into disfavor, and don’t plead before the messenger that it was an error, -but fear God; else God may be angered by your talk and destroy your possessions.
6 For much dreaming leads to futility and to superfluous
If all is futile, why is Solomon challenging the reader to act in one way versus another? What is he teaching?
III. Read 5:7; 7:15-16; and 8:5-7,11-13, 14.
7 Don’t let your mouth bring you into disfavor, and don’t plead before the messenger that it was an error, -but fear God; else God may be angered by your talk and destroy your possessions.
15 In my own brief span of life, I have seen both these things: sometimes a good man perishes in spite of his goodness, and sometimes a wicked one endures in spite of his wickedness.
16 So don’t overdo goodness and don’t act the wise man to excess, or you may be dumfounded.
5 One who obeys orders will not suffer from the dangerous situation. A wise man, however, will bear in mind that there is a time of doom.
6 For there is a time for every experience, including the doom; for a man’s calamity overwhelms him.
7 Indeed, he does not know what is to happen; even when it is on the point of happening, who can tell him?
11 the fact that the sentence imposed for evil deeds is not executed swiftly, which is why men are emboldened to do evil -
12 the fact that a sinner may do evil a hundred times and his [punishment] still be delayed. For although I am aware that “It will be well with those who revere God since they revere Him,
13 and it will not be well with the scoundrel, and he will not live long, because he does not revere God” -
14 here is a frustration that
occurs in the world: sometimes an upright man is requited according to the
conduct of the scoundrel; and sometimes the scoundrel is requited according to
the conduct of the upright. I say all that is frustration.
Here we see what underlies most of the book. Solomon sees things that are wrong or don’t make sense and is asking how we are to deal with it.
First, he saw the futility in the material world. Here he sees injustice and opines on the reality that many evildoers persist in what they do because they think they can get away with it.
What’s Solomon’s conclusion? What’s ours?
IV. Read 7:1; 11-13, 19.
1 A good name is better than fragrant oil, and the day of death than the day of birth.
11 Wisdom is as good as a patrimony, and even better, for those who behold the sun.
12 For to be in the shelter of wisdom is to be also in the shelter of money, and the advantage of intelligence is that wisdom preserves the life of him who possesses it.
13 Consider God’s doing! Who can straighten what He has twisted?
19 Wisdom is more of a stronghold to a wise man than ten
magnates that a city may contain.
Solomon has clear ideas here about things that matter. Has he changed his mind? Explain what he has discovered in the course of this journey?
V. A. Solomon repeats the basis for his (and our) concern in 9:3. What does he say?
3 That is the sad thing about all that goes on under the
sun: that the same fate is in store for all. (Not only that, but men’s hearts
are full of sadness, and their minds of madness, while they live; and then—to
B. Let’s examine key verses in chapters 9, 10, and 11. Solomon gives advice in the spirit of Proverbs, in effect, teaching us much about how to live in the wake of concerns he’s expressed. Explore and explain.
1. Read 9:7-10.
7 Go, eat your bread in gladness, and drink your wine in joy; for your action was long ago approved by God.
8 Let your clothes always be freshly washed, and your head never lack ointment.
9 Enjoy happiness with a woman you love all the fleeting days of life that have been granted to you under the sun—all your fleeting days. For that alone is what you can get out of life and out of the means you acquire under the sun.
10 Whatever it is in your power to do, do with all your might. For there is no action, no reasoning, no learning, no wisdom in Sheol, where you are going.
2. Read 9:13, 16, and 17.
13 This thing too I observed under the sun about wisdom, and it affected me profoundly.
16 So I observed: Wisdom is better than valor; but a poor man’s wisdom is scorned, And his words are not heeded.
17 Words spoken softly by wise men are heeded sooner than
those shouted by a lord in folly.
3. Read 10:10, 11, 12-15-18.
10 If the ax has become dull and he has not whetted the edge, he must exert more strength. Thus the advantage of a skill [depends on the exercise of] prudence.
11 If the snake bites because no spell was uttered, no
advantage is gained by the trained charmer.
12 A wise man’s talk brings him favor, but a fool’s lips are his undoing..
13 His talk begins as silliness and ends as disastrous madness.
14 Yet the fool talks and talks! A man cannot know what will happen; who can tell him what the future holds?
15 A fool’s exertions tire him out, for he doesn’t know how to get to a town.
16 Alas for you, O land whose king is a lackey and whose ministers dine in the morning!
17 Happy are you, O land whose king is a master and whose ministers dine at the proper time—with restraint, not with guzzling!
18 Through slothfulness the ceiling sags, Through lazy
hands the house caves in.
4. Read 11:1-3,6.
1 Send your bread forth upon the waters; for after many days you will find it.
2 Distribute portions to seven or even to eight, for you cannot know what misfortune may occur on earth.
3 If the clouds are filled, they will pour down rain on the earth; and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, the tree will stay where it falls.
6 Sow your seed in the morning, and don’t hold back your
hand in the evening, since you don’t know which is going to succeed, the one or
the other, or if both are equally good.
VI. Conclusion – Solomon offers a profound concluding statement in 12:1 (with an amazing account of aging in the following verses) and 12:11, 13-14.
1 So appreciate your vigor in the days of your youth, before those days of sorrow come and those years arrive of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”;
11 The sayings of the wise are like goads, like nails fixed
in prodding sticks. They were given by one Shepherd.
13 The sum of the matter, when all is said and done: Revere God and observe His commandments! For this applies to all mankind:
14 that God will call every creature to account for everything unknown, be it good or bad. The sum of the matter, when all is said and done: Revere God and observe His commandments! For this applies to all mankind.
Let’s wrap up by reflecting on these verses and the journey that Solomon has taken. Where are we? What have we learned? What do we take away from our study?