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Chapter 9

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1 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.

2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.

9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:

14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:

15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.

16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.

17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.

Commentary for Ecclesiastes 9

Good and bad men fare alike as to this world. (1-3) All men must die, Their portion as to this life. (4-10) Disappointments common. (11,12) Benefits of wisdom. (13-18)1-3 We are not to think our searching into the word or works of God useless, because we cannot explain all difficulties. We may learn many things good for ourselves and useful to others. But man cannot always decide who are objects of God's special love, or under his wrath; and God will certainly put a difference between the precious and the vile, in the other world. The difference as to present happiness, arises from the inward supports and consolations the righteous enjoy, and the benefit they derive from varied trials and mercies. As far as the sons of men are left to themselves, their hearts are full of evil; and prosperity in sin, causes them even to set God at defiance by daring wickedness. Though, on this side death, the righteous and the wicked may often seem to fare alike, on the other side there will be a vast difference between them.

4-10 The most despicable living man's state, is preferable to that of the most noble who have died impenitent. Solomon exhorts the wise and pious to cheerful confidence in God, whatever their condition in life. The meanest morsel, coming from their Father's love, in answer to prayer, will have a peculiar relish. Not that we may set our hearts upon the delights of sense, but what God has given us we may use with wisdom. The joy here described, is the gladness of heart that springs from a sense of the Divine favour. This is the world of service, that to come is the world of recompence. All in their stations, may find some work to do. And above all, sinners have the salvation of their souls to seek after, believers have to prove their faith, adorn the gospel, glorify God, and serve their generation.

11,12 Men's success seldom equals their expectations. We must use means, but not trust to them: if we succeed, we must give God the praise; if crossed, we must submit to his will. Those who put off the great concerns of their souls, are caught in Satan's net, which he baits with some worldly object, for which they reject or neglect the gospel, and go on in sin till they suddenly fall into destruction.

13-18 A man may, by his wisdom, bring to pass that which he could never do by his strength. If God be for us, who can be against us, or stand before us? Solomon observes the power of wisdom, though it may labour under outward disadvantages. How forcible are right words! But wise and good men must often content themselves with the satisfaction of having done good, or, at least, endeavoured to do it, when they cannot do the good they would, nor have the praise they should. How many of the good gifts, both of nature and Providence, does one sinner destroy and make waste! He who destroys his own soul destroys much good. One sinner may draw many into his destroying ways. See who are the friends and enemies of a kingdom or a family, if one saint does much good, and one sinner destroys much good.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Ecclesiastes 9

  • Means that life is not predetermined but everything happens with time and circumstances
  • Godwin Simeon Umoh for verse 15
    Ecclesiates 9:15 If one should look at the characteristic of WISDOM and also the end-product of WISDOM, one will come to understand the fact that one of the products of WISDOM is UPLIFTMENT or PROMOTION.But in this case the writer shouldn 't have ascribed the word WISDOM to the poor man in question. The man was not a man of WISDOM from biblical perspectives.For instance, JUDGES 11:1-11 but was knowledgeabl in that regard. I therefore, do not try to oppos or contradict that biblical illustrations of this story,but rather giving a clearer differentiation between, 1, being KNOWLEDGEABLE, 2, and being fill or full of WISDOM.I do not equally subscribe to or mean that one should try to get his or her rewards through mental or diplomatic manipulation but in most cases we should learn to lean on GOD just as in the case of Mordecai in the book of ESTHER 2:21-23.
  • Asesela
    We are in the last day now. Only God 's Grace that keeps us going. Without God 's Grace we can not achieve great things from God.
  • Z.Blamah Johnson for verse 11
    As a Christian, we should knowledgeable of the fact that God is just,He is not like man that is not stable in his promise.God alone has the power to change any condition of life that is not suitable,but the point is we should be patient and wait on Him.God does not choose a person base on what he had acquired or how smart you are.the final phase of the verse makes God clear in fulfilling His promises to His children that wait on Him.But TIME and CHANCE happen to them all.
  • Godwin Simeon for verse 11
    Ecclesiastes 9:11 The last statement "time chance fall or happen to them all " meaning, not by smartness,not by strenght,not even by human wisdom or understanding,but by GOD 'S grace. It takes grace to be a winner in any race of life,to be victorious in any battle of life, successful in every other aspect or department of life. This is exactly what the writer was trying to picture-out in Ecclesiastes 9:11.
  • Kyuna
    so what I learned about verse 9 is that we have to belive what gods says and we love him

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Bible Trivia

According to the 'Preacher' of Ecclesiastes, a living dog is better than what?
  • A dead lion
  • A lame bird
  • A barren field
  • A sad heart