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Bible Commentaries
Ecclesiastes 9

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verse 1

ECCLESIASTES

CHAPTER 9

RIGHTEOUS IN GOD’S CARE

Verse 1 declares Solomon’s observation that the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the care of God; and the treatment they receive at the hands of men, whether good or ill, is not an indication of God’s regard for them, Ecclesiastes 8:14; Deuteronomy 33:3; Psalms 31:15; John 10:29; 2 Corinthians 3:5.

Verse 2

ALL THINGS ALIKE UNDER THE SUN

Verse 2 affirms that all things come alike to men under the sun. Like situations occur to both righteous and wicked. Both David and Nabal were rich. Both Joseph and Haman were favored by the ruling authority. Ahab was killed in battle, so also was the good Josiah. Eventually death is the lot of all, Romans 5:12; Hebrews 9:27.

Verse 3

DIVINE PATIENCE MISINTERPRETED

Verse 3 suggests that the fact of all things alike, to all under the sun, is interpreted’ by the "wicked", as justifying indulgence in the evil and madness that fills their heart while they live, after which they go to the dead. The present and future state of the wicked dead is not dealt with here, but is indicated in Isaiah 66:24; Daniel 12:2; Matthew 13:41-42; Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:22-24; Revelation 21:8. There is also an indication in Proverbs 11:7; Proverbs 14:32 that Solomon understood that death was accompanied by an awareness of loss to the wicked and gain to the righteous. .

Verses 4-6

HOPE IS FOR THE LIVING

Verse 4 declares there is hope for the living which does not exist after death. This is emphasized by the illustration that a living dog, although inferior to the highly regarded lion, has hope that does not exist for the dead lion.

Verses 5-6 suggest that the living consider the certainty of death while they live, recognizing that "earthly" experiences and relationships, including friendships, enmities, and business involvements, end at death (2 Kings 20:1; Job 14:21), and even remembrance by ac­quaintances is soon forgotten, Job 7:8; Isa 26:14.
Verse 5 does not teach that the soul sleeps, or that death ends ail. That which Is visible, under the sun, the body of the dead, knows nothing; but the spirit is not unconscious (Ecclesiastes 3:21; Ecclesiastes 12:7), and there will be a resurrection and a judgment, Ecclesiastes 11:9; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28-29; Revelation 20:11-13. See also references in­cluded in comment on Ecclesiastes 9:3.

Verses 7-10

CONTENTED LIFE

Verse 7 restates the admonition of Ecclesiastes 2:24; (which see) Ecclesiastes 3:13; Ecclesiastes 5:18; Ecclesiastes 8:15. The word for wine in this verse (YAYIN) applies to various, products derived from the grape, and does not in this instance, Indicate use as an Intoxicant, Nehemiah 5:8, Psalms 104:15; Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 21:7; Proverbs 23:30-31.

Verse 8 refers to white garments, symbols of joy and purity; and ointment or perfumed oil, also a symbol of joy, Psalms 45:8; Isaiah 61:3. True joy honors God, and should be manifested, Psalms 9:11; Psalms 67:3.

Verse 9 advocates the divine plan of living joyfully, with one wife for fife, because it is not good for man to be alone, and plural wives is not God’s plan, Genesis 2:18-24; Proverbs 5:18-19.

Verse 10 commends diligence in earthly activity, emphasizing that such cannot be continued beyond this life, Proverbs 10:4; Proverbs 22:29. This does not refer to the spirit of man, see Ecclesiastes 3:21.

Verses 11-12

LIMITATION OF HUMAN EXPERTISE

Verse 11 declares Solomon’s further observations regarding human limitations under the sun. He notes that those considered the most likely to succeed are subject to failure, because they fail to realize that all works of man are in the hands of God and subject to Divine Providence rather than human expertise, Psalms 31:15; Psalms 104:24; Proverbs 3:19; 1 Chronicles 29:12.

Verse 12 explains further that the evils which seek to ensnare man are unpredictable, and will likely confront him suddenly, as the net or snare which entraps unsuspecting fish or birds, Ecclesiastes 8:7; Ecclesiastes 10:14; Proverbs 1:10-18; Proverbs 24:22; Ephesians 6:11-13; 2 Peter 2:18.

Verses 13-15

BENEFITS AND INGRATITUDE

Verses 13-15 present an observation of Solomon attesting to the benefit of wisdom under the sun, and at the same time revealing the ingratitude of those who benefit. He tells of a small city besieged by a superior military force and facing disaster. However, a poor wise man by his wisdom delivered the city. Was the poor man properly rewarded? No! He was quickly forgotten, Genesis 40:23;2 Chronicles 24:22.

Verses 16-18

SOLOMON’S CONCLUSIONS

Verse 16 affirms that wisdom is better than strength or physical might, but when manifest in the poor, is often unappreciated and disregarded Proverbs 3:13; Proverbs 21:22; Proverbs 24:5; Mark 6:2-3.

Verse 17 suggests that words of rulers or persons of authority are usually given more prominence than wise words of men in a lower position, who are restrained or shunted aside to quiet and less numerous listeners. Folly is thus given precedence over that which is more beneficial, Ecclesiastes 4:13; Ecclesiastes 7:5; Ecclesiastes 10:12.

Verse 18 reaffirms the superiority of wisdom (see Vs 16), emphasizing that it is better than military might. The second part contrasts sharply the mischief that can be wrought by the folly of one sinner. For example, see the impact of the evil of Achan, Joshua 7:1-26 and Manasseh, 2 Kings 21:1-17.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 9". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/ecclesiastes-9.html. 1985.
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