Chapter Eight OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To glean wisdom for enduring evil and oppressive governments 2) To note the similarity between the Preacher's conclusion and the book of Job about the inability of man to discern all of the work of God SUMMARY Among the "vanities" in life is living in circumstances over which we have little control. Such as the kind of government ruling the country in which we live. The Preacher observed that evil men are often in positions of power, and offers his counsel for enduring such "vanity." Wisdom is helpful, capable of softening one's countenance (so one is not overly troubled?). Submitting to governing authorities is important, especially in view of the power wielded by those in authority. There will be times when the wicked rule, bringing misery. Be patient, while judgment against such evil may be delayed it will come in its own time and the wicked will soon be forgotten after their demise. In the meantime, it is best to fear God (1-13). Another "vanity" is how the righteous sometimes suffer while the wicked prosper. The Preacher reiterates his conclusion that it is best to seek to enjoy what good God gives in one's labor under the sun. Even the wisest man is unable to discern all that God is doing, no matter how hard he tries. A lesson similar to the one taught in the book of Job (14-17). OUTLINE I. ENDURING THE GOVERNMENTS OF MEN (8:1-13) A. SUBMIT TO AUTHORITIES (1-8) 1. Wisdom has its value, able to change one's countenance 2. Obey the king's command, for God's sake a. Don't be hasty to leave the king's presence b. Don't take your stand for an evil thing c. Respect his power, and you will be unharmed 3. A wise man will understand that judgment will come in it's own time, so don't resort to wickedness (i.e., rebellion) to alleviate misery - cf. Ro 13:1-7; 1Pe 2:11-17 B. ANTICIPATE WICKED RULERS (9-13) 1. There will be times when men rule to their own detriment 2. They will soon be forgotten after their demise 3. Why do some persist in their evil? a. Because their judgment does not occur immediately b. Even so, it is still better to fear God II. ENDURING THE VANITY IN LIFE (8:14-17) A. EXPECT PERPLEXITY (14, 16-17) 1. Sometimes the righteous suffer, and the wicked prosper, which is vanity 2. One cannot always understand why things happen the way they do (remember Job?) B. ENJOY LIFE (15) 1. Delight in the fruits of your own labor a. Eat, drink, and be merry b. As you labor in the days God has given you in life under the sun 2. The advice given throughout this book - 2:24-26; 3:12-13; 5: 18-20 REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Enduring the governments of men (1-13) - Enduring the vanity in life (14-17) 2) What benefit does wisdom have? (1) - It can make the face of a man to shine, softening its sternness 3) Why should one be in submission to the king (i.e., government)? (2-4) - For God's sake - Because of the power which the king has at his disposal 4) Generally speaking, what will one experience who heeds the king's command? (5) - Nothing harmful 5) What will a wise man discern even though misery may increase greatly? (5-7) - There is a time and judgment for every matter 6) What is said of those who are given to wickedness? (8) - Wickedness will not deliver them 7) What had the Preacher observed about the rule of men? (9) - There is a time when a man rules over another to his own hurt 8) What did he observe about the wicked who had come and gone from the place of holiness? (10) - They were soon forgotten after their death 9) Why were the hearts of some men set to do evil? (11) - Because the sentence against evil was not executed speedily 10) What did the Preacher conclude about a sinner whose days are prolonged? (12-13) - It will be well for those who fear God - It will not be well with the wicked 11) What did the Preacher describe as a vanity which occurs on the earth? (14) - There are just men who receive what should be for the wicked - There are wicked men who receive what should be for the righteous 12) In view of such vanity, what does the Preacher commend? Why? (15) - To eat, drink, and be merry (i.e., enjoy life) - For this is what God gives to man as he labors in life under the sun 13) What did the Preacher conclude after diligently observing the business that is done on the earth? (16-17) - That no one can know all of the work of God, even if one is wise
The value of practical wisdom
[Ecc 8:1-17 NKJV] 1 Who [is] like a wise [man]? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man's wisdom makes his face shine, And the sternness of his face is changed.
Obey authorities for God's sake
2 I [say], "Keep the king's commandment for the sake of your oath to God. 3 "Do not be hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand for an evil thing, for he does whatever pleases him." 4 Where the word of a king [is, there is] power; And who may say to him, "What are you doing?" 5 He who keeps his command will experience nothing harmful; And a wise man's heart discerns both time and judgment, 6 Because for every matter there is a time and judgment, Though the misery of man increases greatly. 7 For he does not know what will happen; So who can tell him when it will occur? 8 No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, And no one has power in the day of death. [There is] no release from that war, And wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it. 9 All this I have seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: [There is] a time in which one man rules over another to his own hurt.
Death comes to all
10 Then I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of holiness, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done. This also [is] vanity. 11 Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred [times], and his [days] are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong [his] days, [which are] as a shadow, because he does not fear before God. 14 There is a vanity which occurs on earth, that there are just [men] to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked [men] to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also [is] vanity. 15 So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor [all] the days of his life which God gives him under the sun. 16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that is done on earth, even though one sees no sleep day or night, 17 then I saw all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. For though a man labors to discover [it], yet he will not find [it]; moreover, though a wise [man] attempts to know [it], he will not be able to find [it].