Chapter 9

9.1-6 death. Solomon addresses the hebel of death. Of all the musings and contemplations of Solomon, death is the greatest challenge. Death is unknown and knowledge after death is beyond wisdom to plumb it’s depth. There are none to discuss death who have been there and returned. There is a void and a chasm that cannot be crossed. Death is the truest of all hebels. The only solution Solomon offers is to stay alive. He surmises any life is better than death. Solomon illustrates this by saying a living dog (despised animal), is better than a dead lion (king of beasts). Ultimately the search for understanding of hebel ends with death. As long as there is life, there is new understanding, knowledge and reward. Life offers continued activity on earth. Life on earth is the only arena of opportunity to accomplish and earn rewards. The grave receives more than the natural body. It also receives dreams, love, hatred, and envy (6). These things also die with the physical body. Many noble but intangible things die with death. Death is the truest of hebels. There is no escape or defense from death. It eventually welcomes the righteous, the wise, the wicked, the good, the clean, the unclean, and all other men into it’s gaping mouth.

9.7-10 love. With the wisp of death hanging in the air, Solomon advises to love your wife. While peering into the unknown he is brought back to what he does have now, here. He returns to the God given answer for hebel. Live joyfully (with a raw appetite) with the wife of whom thou lovest. That is the portion, (the smoothness), of this life. Thy labor (worry, wearing effort of body and mind) is smoothed out by living life today. Solomon uses words like life, eat, drink, and live. These are actions every person can do. The gift of life God gave requires no wealth or wisdom. The simple man can do these things as well as the wise. God accepteth (is pleased), with these works (actions). God approves when we enjoy life. White garments and oil on the head speak of a more comfortable life in the torrid Middle East climate. These things symbolize the pure enjoyment of a well lived life, following the guidance of wisdom, and the fear of God.

9.11-18 value of wisdom. The tragedy of life is men are so busy seeking they never see. The value of wisdom is overlooked. Men are as fishes caught in a net, and as birds caught in a snare. The race, the battle, bread, and riches are unpredictable. Our reaction to these is the essence of hebel. We cannot control the variables of our lives, but with wisdom and the fear of God, hebel fades to insignificance. Solomon illustrates that Kings conquering cities is inferior to wisdom’s influence. Wisdom exceeds strength in value. Wisdom is better than weapons of war. The hebel of our life results when wisdom is not heard and followed. Death, love, and war, are battlefields of hebel. God’s victory to these battles is the gift of living life by wisdom, and the fear of God. The vanity of life disappears in the presence of a life of joy and religious celebration. 

Thanks for reading today…