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Ecclesiastes 9

 

Chapter Nine

OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER

1) To reflect upon the inevitability of death, and the uncertainty of
   life

2) To consider how time and chance happens to all

3) To appreciate the importance of a joyful, diligent life, and heeding
   the words of the wise

SUMMARY

The Preacher continues to share counsel gleaned from observations on
life made during his search for meaning.  He noted that all things come
alike to all, it matters not that you are righteous or wicked.  One
thing that certainly happens to all is death, after which one is soon
forgotten and has no share in this life (things done "under the sun"). 
Should one therefore despair?  No, the Preacher again encourages us to
live joyfully, especially with the wife of our youth, and to work
diligently in what time we have in this life.  Once you die, you won't
be able to continue your efforts in the grave.  This is our portion in
life, and God has already accepted our works (1-10).

The Preacher also observed that time and chance happens to all, and that
evil times come suddenly.  The uncertainty of life can be softened with
the aid of wisdom, which the Preacher praises as better than strength
and the weapons of war.  Thus the words of the wise should be heard,
even when spoken softly, or coming from a poor man (11-18).

OUTLINE

I. ENDURING THE INEVITABILITY OF DEATH (9:1-10)

   A. DEATH HAPPENS TO ALL (1-6)
      1. It happens to both the righteous and the wicked
         a. While the righteous are in God's hands
         b. And the sons of men are full of evil
      2. While we live, there is hope; when we die...
         a. We know nothing of what goes on here on earth
         b. Others' memory of us soon fades

   B. ENJOY LIFE (7-10)
      1. While death is inevitable, we should still enjoy life
      2. Live joyfully with the wife God has given you
      3. Work diligently while you are here; you won't be able to do
         anymore after you die

II. ENDURING THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE (9:11-18)

   A. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED (11-12)
      1. Time and chance happens to all
         a. Being swift and strong does not mean you will always win
         b. Being wise, understanding, and skillful does not always
            ensure food, riches, or favor
      2. Sometimes death will come unexpectedly, like animals caught in
         a trap

   B. ESTEEM WISDOM (13-18)
      1. The Preacher saw how wisdom saved a city
         a. Even though found in a poor man
         b. Even though the man was soon forgotten
      2. Therefore he praises the value of wisdom
         a. As better than strength, though a poor man's wisdom is often
            despised
         b. As better than weapons of war, though spoken quietly by the
            wise

REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER

1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Enduring the inevitability of death (1-10)
   - Enduring the uncertainty of life (11-18)

2) What did the Preacher consider about the righteous and the wise? (1)
   - They and their works are in the hand of God

3) What two observations did he make regarding the righteous and the
   wicked? (2-3)
   - All things come alike to all
   - One thing happens to all

4) What one event does he discuss that happens to everyone? (3-5)
   - Death

5) What two things does he see in the hearts of men? What happens to
   them? (3)
   - Evil, madness; they die

6) Who still has hope?  Why? (4-5)
   - Those who are living
   - For they know they will die

7) What is said of the dead? (5-6)
   - They know nothing, they have no more reward
   - The memory of them is forgotten
   - Their love, hatred, and envy have perished
   - They no longer have a share in things done "under the sun"

8) What does the Preacher counsel the living to do? (7-10)
   - Eat and drink your food with joy
   - Adorn yourself with good apparel
   - Live joyfully with the wife of your youth
   - Work diligently

9) What reasons does he give for such counsel? (7-10)
   - God has already accepted your works
   - That is your portion in life
   - There is no work, device, knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave

10) What other observations did the Preacher make about life? (11-12)
   - Time and chance happen to all men, despite their strength, wisdom,
     or skill
   - Evil times often come suddenly upon men

11) What observations did he make about the value of wisdom? (13-18)
   - Wisdom is better than strength
   - A poor man's wisdom is often despised
   - Quiet words of the wise should be heard rather than the shout of a
     ruler of fools
   - Wisdom is better than weapons of war

Ecclesiastes 9

Death comes to all

[Ecc 9:1-18 NKJV] 1 For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works [are] in the hand of God. People know neither love nor hatred [by] anything [they see] before them. 2 All things [come] alike to all: One event [happens] to the righteous and the wicked; To the good, the clean, and the unclean; To him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so [is] the sinner; He who takes an oath as [he] who fears an oath. 3 This [is] an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing [happens] to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness [is] in their hearts while they live, and after that [they go] to the dead. 4 But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun. 7 Go, eat your bread with joy, And drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works. 8 Let your garments always be white, And let your head lack no oil. 9 Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that [is] your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do [it] with your might; for [there is] no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. 11 I returned and saw under the sun that--The race [is] not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all. 12 For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net, Like birds caught in a snare, So the sons of men [are] snared in an evil time, When it falls suddenly upon them.

Wisdom superior to folly

13 This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it [seemed] great to me: 14 [There was] a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it. 15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man. 16 Then I said: "Wisdom [is] better than strength. Nevertheless the poor man's wisdom [is] despised, And his words are not heard. 17 Words of the wise, [spoken] quietly, [should be] heard Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools. 18 Wisdom [is] better than weapons of war; But one sinner destroys much good."

 

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