Ecclesiastes 9-12 Questions and Answers
The book of Ecclesiastes continues with chapters 9-12. The book of Ecclesiastes is about a man who is out of fellowship with God. Although depressing, Solomon imparts much wisdom in this serious book.
If Solomon had more than one wife, why is he saying to live with one wife in Ecclesiastes 9:9? Yes, Solomon had at least 1,000 wives, some of these wives were concubines which are lesser wives, but with all of these women, perhaps he had one favorite? Solomon realized that multiple wives did not bring happiness and that it was ideal to do what God showed in the beginning, one man for one woman for life.
It there evil among all things according to Ecclesiastes 9:3? There is evil in all things because the heart of man is sinful. So even good things done by a sinful man has evil in them.
What do they mean for a living dog is better than a dead lion? A “dog” refers to a very poor, dumb disadvantaged person and a “lion” to a very noble rich type of person. A living person, no matter how bad their life may be, is better off than a rich, great but dead person.
Is vanity different in Ecclesiastes? “Vanity” as used in the book of Ecclesiastes means being worthless or futile.
If your heart is on the right hand is OK but if your heart is on the left it is not good? This is speaking figuratively. In Scripture the right hand symbolizes good, the left had symbolizes evil. The wise man is employed in doing good things but the fool employs himself in doing nonsense.
Is he saying in Ecclesiastes 8:2 that we are supposed to obey the laws of the land? Yes, you are right. This is just one of the verses that God tells us to obey local government.
Are they saying that all fools are bad? A foolish person does things that does not have any profit or just evil things.
In Ecclesiastes 10:20 Solomon is saying not to curse the king. Yes, what he is saying that that when you curse the leaders it will come out publicly.
What do they mean “cast thy bread upon the waters for thou shalt find it after many days” in Ecclesiastes 11:1? Be generous to the poor because God will reward you. Even though it many seems that giving to the poor is just as smart as throwing food into the ocean, God will see that you are rewarded. Also an application is to give the Scripture/Gospel to as many as you can because that too, God will reward even though you may not see the benefit of that right away.
Please explain Ecclesiastes 11:2. When you have goods such as food or even money and you know that someone or someones are poor, give generously to them because you do not know when you will need them to give to you.
What does Ecclesiastes 11:4 mean? A farmer who waits for the perfect weather conditions will not get anything done.
What does Ecclesiastes 11:6 mean? Whenever you have the chance, do well in whatever way you can. God will reward you for your good works. This verse is similar to Galatians 6:9.
What does Ecclesiastes 11:8 mean? If you live and have a good life, consider eternity. If you die without Christ, all of your good days will not profit you in hell, they are vanity – useless.
What does Ecclesiastes 11:10 mean? This is a warning to young people. Childhood and youth will pass away, they are useless – vanity. So when you are young, make sure that you remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh. That is to make sure that you do not do things that will affect you and cause you to be sorrowful when you are older.
What does Ecclesiastes chapter 12 mean?
“keepers of the house shall tremble” – the hands. Many times older people hands shake.
“strong men shall bow themselves” – legs get weak
“grinders cease because they are few” – teeth fall out
“those that look out of the windows be darkened” – eyesight becomes dim
“And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low” – older people go to bed early
“he shall rise up at the voice of the bird” – older people usually get up very early.
“all the daughters of musick shall be brought low” – older people do not have keen hearing.
“ be afraid of that which is high” – fear of falling
“fears shall be in the way” – greater fears than when a person is younger
“the almond tree shall flourish” – white hair
“the grasshopper shall be a burden” – declining strength
“desire shall fail” – loss of sex drive
“man goeth to his long home” – man finally dies
“the mourners go about the streets” – people grieve
“Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.” – references to death
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” This is about death. Man was made from dust and he will return to dust. The God given spirit of life will return to God.
What does it mean in Ecclesiastes 11:1 to “cast they bread upon the waters”? This is a metaphor where the rich king is telling people to be kind and giving to the poor because just as it seems to be wasteful to throw bread into the sea, but he promises that what you give, your bread, will be returned to you perhaps even in more abundance that what you gave, after”many days”.
They knew that there is an end to this world. Yes, he does and he too is looking forward to heaven and even the new heaven and the new earth.
Finished with Ecclesiastes 9-12? Continue learning from Solomon in the Song of Solomon.