Chapter 11

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1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.

4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.

5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:

8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.

9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.

Commentary for Ecclesiastes 11

Exhortation to liberality. (1-6) An admonition to prepare for death, and to young persons to be religious. (7-10)1-6 Solomon presses the rich to do good to others. Give freely, though it may seem thrown away and lost. Give to many. Excuse not thyself with the good thou hast done, from the good thou hast further to do. It is not lost, but well laid out. We have reason to expect evil, for we are born to trouble; it is wisdom to do good in the day of prosperity. Riches cannot profit us, if we do not benefit others. Every man must labour to be a blessing to that place where the providence of God casts him. Wherever we are, we may find good work to do, if we have but hearts to do it. If we magnify every little difficulty, start objections, and fancy hardships, we shall never go on, much less go through with our work. Winds and clouds of tribulation are, in God's hands, designed to try us. God's work shall agree with his word, whether we see it or not. And we may well trust God to provide for us, without our anxious, disquieting cares. Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season, in God's time, you shall reap, #Ga 6:9|.

7-10 Life is sweet to bad men, because they have their portion in this life; it is sweet to good men, because it is the time of preparation for a better; it is sweet to all. Here is a caution to think of death, even when life is most sweet. Solomon makes an effecting address to young persons. They would desire opportunity to pursue every pleasure. Then follow your desires, but be assured that God will call you into judgment. How many give loose to every appetite, and rush into every vicious pleasure! But God registers every one of their sinful thoughts and desires, their idle words and wicked words. If they would avoid remorse and terror, if they would have hope and comfort on a dying bed, if they would escape misery here and hereafter, let them remember the vanity of youthful pleasures. That Solomon means to condemn the pleasures of sin is evident. His object is to draw the young to purer and more lasting joys. This is not the language of one grudging youthful pleasures, because he can no longer partake of them; but of one who has, by a miracle of mercy, been brought back in safety. He would persuade the young from trying a course whence so few return. If the young would live a life of true happiness, if they would secure happiness hereafter, let them remember their Creator in the days of their youth.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Ecclesiastes 11

  • Alphonse Anders
    How many days are many days in Ecclesiastes 11:1
  • BSP
    Verse 1~When we first give of ourselves we may not see the immediate results or experience immediate gratitude from others. If we continue to be generous, we will experience the help we need from others when we are in need.
  • Noel JB
    Verse 1:Many times we sow the seeds through normal church divine service , family worship , on the Radio station , TV station , in large evangelism , during visits in the Correctional Centers , Hospitals and other places and expecting the hearers to be converted quickly but our expectations are wrong , the holy spirit got the message into hearers heart and after many days they will come and join
  • BSP
    Verse 6 shows that we should sow our seeds in different places when it comes to the ministry. We can't make the seeds grow, but we can do our part by planting them in as many places as possible.
  • Irene123
    V.1 - refers to 'bread', the word of the Lord, i.e. prayer and 'witnessing'. Your bread will return to you in souls turning to the Lord. Jesus does want us to materially help others, but Matt. 6:33 goes right along with Eccl. 11:1. Many times though, the material need has to come first.
  • Mike
    Verse 1 tells us "cast your bread on the waters" this is helping us to see how we should practice wholehearted generosity
  • Mable Arrington
    What its basically saying i got from it what way GOD moves u don't know what the spirit of lords spirit moves how made them bones in the womb is he made them in the form of GOD but no man knows what the holy spirit moves
  • Gilbert Sebe
    The importance of investment, the reality of uncetainity of the future is recognised by the bible, that means even though we trust in God for supply, we must work hard and do our part, use our skill and knowledge to support our needs, God will make one or all our effort pay off. This book is written by a wisest godly man ever lived on the planet, he was rich and know how to handle his resources

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Bible Trivia

The 'Preacher' of Ecclesiastes says to cast your bread upon the waters for you will find it after many days. What does this mean?
  • The way to catch fish is to throw bread on the water
  • Give without expecting a return
  • Soggy bread is better than no bread
  • None of the above