Chapter 3

3.1-8 the seasons. As the writer looks at the overview of life, he uses fourteen pairs of opposites to show the journey of life as a cycle in itself. This passage is a beautiful poetic piece of timeless prose. Every culture and every epoch of man can relate to this passage. While stating that nothing changes, he inserts the cycle of life that is change within no change. To gather stones and then discard stones is an apt illustration of the cycle of life. To be born, to plant, to kill, to break down, to weep, to mourn, to cast away stones, to embrace, to get, to keep, to rend, to keep silence, to love, and ultimately to war, are the shadow of every man’s progressing life. And then the sunset of every life reflects, to die, to pluck up, to heal, to build up, to laugh, to dance, to gather stones, to refrain from embracing, to lose, to cast away, to sew, to speak, to hate, and finally to have peace. The stages and journey of every life can be summed up by this one poetic passage of eastern wisdom. This is the sum, the paradox, and the essence of life.

3.9-15 the profit. The writer returns to the overview of life. Tangible things will fade in satisfaction, intangible things are temporal, so enjoy the life God gives. This is the gift of life, the gift of joy, and ultimately the gift of God to mankind. There is no profit outside this view of life. If you choose to live in this view of life, everything is beautiful. Life is an amazing discovery without limit. The ultimate is for man to rejoice and to do good in this life. To eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of his labor, it is the gift of God. This is the cycle of life God gives to mankind. For this cause, men should fear before God. This advice to fear God will be repeated a total of six times in this book.

3.16-22 the eternal. The writer would be remiss if he ignored the eternal, so he turns his eye to that horizon. He examines the place of judgment. He affirms God will judge these things. Death is the great conqueror of man and beast, and every living thing. The similarity of death ends at the dust, for the spirit of man ascends, while the spirit of beasts decends. Then the cycle is again affirmed, there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his portion. Who shall bring him to see what shall be after him? The Old Testament says very little about the life after death. Here Solomon openly wonders about it, but hints he believes in it when he speaks of a coming judgment. Ultimately in 12.7, he concludes the spirit of man returns to God. After enjoying this life as the gift of God, there is another life to live for.

Thanks for reading today…