Understanding The Bible
The Book of Ecclesiastes
Notes on Ecclesiastes: Part 3: THE BETTER FINDINGS OF HUMAN WISDOM


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Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible

Notes on Ecclesiastes: Part 3 - The Better Findings of Human Wisdom

  1. The Better Findings of Human Wisdom 7-10
    1. The seven better things, 7:1-10
    2. Advantages of being wise, 7:11-22
      1. Wisdom is good in itself, 7:11-12
        7:11 Is good with = "is as good as."
        7:12 Giveth life = "preserves life."
      2. Wisdom gives insight to the problems of life, 7:13-22
        7:14 Find nothing = not find out anything that shall be.
    3. Things too puzzling for human wisdom, 7:23-29
      7:25 The wickedness of folly ... and madness: Wickedness is folly, and foolishness is madness.
      7:26 More bitter than death. Verses 26 and 28 contain a bitter reference to Solomon's thousand (heathen) wives, who treacherously led his heart from God (see 1 Ki. 11:1-8).
      7:29 They have sought out many inventions. This speaks of the deceitfulness and perversity of the human heart (see Jer. 17:9). New English Bible says, "man invents endless subtle ties."
    4. The wisdom of obedience to kings, 8
      8:1 Boldness = "hardness."
      8:3 Stand = "persist."
      8:10 Who had come ... had so done: "And they came to the grave; and those who had done right went away from the holy place and were forgotten in the city."
    5. Death is certain, therefore, seek happiness in a quiet home life, 9:1-9
      To declare = "to explore."
      9:1 No man ... is before them. Man does not know whether love or hatred is coming, for all is in the future.
    6. Do your best and leave the mysteries to God, 9:10-13
      9:10 Grave. The word translated grave here is the Hebrew word sheol, which does not mean the grave, but a place of departed spirits. This statement that there is no "knowledge" (etc.) in sheol is the foolish and false reasoning of a man "under the sun" (1:13-14), and is corrected by our Lord Himself in the story He tells in Luke 16:19-31, where there is plainly consciousness and memory in the case of the rich man who is in sheol. (In Lk. 16:23 the word hell is the Greek word hades, which is the exact equal of the Hebrew word sheol.)
    7. A parable of wisdom's value, 9:14-18
      9:15 A poor wise man. He pictures Christ who became poor for us (2 Cor. 8:9) and by His wisdom (the work of His death on the Cross, 1 Cor. 1:18, 21-24) delivered (paid the price of redemption, Col. 1:20) the city (of mankind). But the world at large forgets and ignores what Christ has done for them ("Yet no man remembered"). The great king of v.14 pictures the devil, who comes against the city (of mankind) to destroy it (that is, the souls of men).
    8. Beware of folly, 10
      10:1 Apothecary - one who makes perfume.
      10:1 A little folly him ... wisdom. This may also read: "so doth a little folly outweigh wisdom." What a warning to believers to be careful of their testimony and avoid the very "appearance of evil" (1 Thes. 5:22; Eph. 5:4; Rm. 14:7, 14-15, 21)!
      10:11 The serpent ... without enchantment. "The serpent will bite when it is not charmed, and the slanderer is no better."
      10:14 Is full of words: a man cannot tell. Talks much, but man cannot understand.
      10:20 A bird of the air ... shall tell. Evidently we get our expression "a little bird told me" from this passage.


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