Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "OLD TESTAMENT
The Book of Ecclesiastes
Notes on Ecclesiastes: Part 4:
ADVICE FROM THE AGED SOLOMON
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES
Notes on Ecclesiastes: Part 4 - Advice from the Aged Solomon
- Advice from the Aged Solomon, 11:1-12:8
- Generosity is always repaid, 11:1-6
11:6 Whether shall prosper = "which one shall prosper."
- Life is sweet -- but even childhood and youth are vanity, 11:7-10
- In youth remember God ... and death! 12:1-8
(This has usually been understood to be a picture of old age)
v. 2b clouds = clouds of life ... afflictions; as clouds have rain, so
life's afflictions bring tears.
v. 3a keepers ... refer to the arms
v. 3b bow themselves ... legs and back are bent
v. 3c grinders cease ... teeth are lost
v. 4a door shut ... mouth and lips
v. 4c he shall start up at the voice of the bird ... jumpy nerves
v. 4d music ... vocal cords in womanly treble
v. 5a Also when = "Yea"
v. 5a afraid of ... high (places) ... afraid of falling down steps, etc.
v. 5b fears in the way ... fear in the highway
v. 5d grasshopper ... burden ... that which he played with as a boy is now a
burden to him.
v. 6 There are three major areas where failure of function causes death.
This passage refers to them picturesquely as follows:
- Cerebral failure
"silver cord loosed" ... spinal cord
"golden bowl broken" ... head
- Respiratory failure
"pitcher broken at fountain" ... pictures the continual refilling of the
lungs with constancy of a fountain
- Circulatory failure
"wheel broken at the cistern" ... the circulatory system pumping from the
heart mentioned centuries before Harvey's discovery.
v. 7 The body goes back to its original habitat (Gen. 2:7). Of course,
though the spirits of the unsaved do not go immediately into God's presence
... "every one shall give account of himself to God" eventually. So in this
sense of the ultimate, the statement is correct for the spirit as well as
- The conclusion of the search: Even death is vanity, 12:8
12:8 Vanity of vanities. We have already seen that life without God
(including youth and old age) is futile. Now we find that even death is
powerless to deliver us from vanity = emptiness.
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