The Book of Ecclesiastes Bible Study Chapter 12 Part 1

On to Eccl 12:1-8

This is a summary chapter. King Solomon (the kohelet/preacher who was set apart to lead the congregation) is going to remind us of his previous mindset (that led him to conclude that all was futile – because he did not have the right perspective of an eternal G-d) and he is going to lead us toward what a right mindset looks like. When our focus is on this world, and we neglect the reality of the Kingdom of G-d and our future hope, then this life will seem futile because the things of this world have no lasting significance. Many people today are living in hopelessness because they are unfaithful in regard to the Kingdom of G-d. 

v1: Remember: This is a commandment. Remembrance is a covenantal word. G-d wants us to remember (call to memory) all of His promises, blessings and what His covenant is supposed to produce in our lives (transforming us into a new creation – 2 Cor 5:17). 

  • Creator: From a Rabbinical standpoint there is a connection between the word Creator and the Kingdom. In the same way that G-d created the earth He is going to create His Kingdom. 
  • Remember your Creator: This is a statement of judgment. We need to remember that we belong to G-d, and He is going to judge His creation (Heb 9:27). We need to prepare ourselves, now, for this judgment to come. This reminder helps to keep us in check. If we remember that we are going to face judgment it is going to impact the way we live, it is going to impact our decisions and change our perspective on things. It is especially important for young people to realise that they are accountable to G-d for all of their actions. For the believer this judgment is not a judgment in regard to salvation, but a judgment in regard to rewards (Roms 2:5-11, Heb 6:9-12)
  • Days of your youth: Referring to those mid to late teenage years. 
  • The difficult days: Problems usually cause us to look to G-d and to become more prayerful.
  • The years draw near: This person has aged. 
  • “I have no pleasure in them”: The life of an old person (from a worldly perspective) appears to be a life bereft of pleasure. They are coming to their end and Solomon sees them as having no future to look forward to. 

v2: Sun…light…moon and the stars…darkened: A day is coming when the lights are going to go out – John 9:4, Matt 24:29. We need to utilise our time properly – work while there is still light, because darkness is coming. 

  • The clouds do not return after the rain: The blessing (rain is synonymous with blessing) has come and gone. 

v3: This verse gives us a graphic image of the difficult times (wars) that are coming.

  • Tremble: They are in shock. The context suggests it is due to the attack of the enemy. 
  • Strong men: Soldiers. 
  • Bow down: They are going to be subdued, brought low. 
  • Grinders: A word written in the feminine speaking of the female workers (ladies who grind the grain at the mill – grain is ground for bread, bread is synonymous with life)
  • They are few: War brings about the death of people. 
  • Windows: This same word is found in Mal 3:10 where it is referring to the tithe and the windows of heaven being opened in blessing. 
  • Grow dim: Dark times are coming – the time of the end of the age…a time of famine and war. In difficult times we remember G-d, but its usually too late. We need to remember Him throughout our lives – in the good and in the bad times. 

v4: The doors are shut in the streets: ‘Streets’ here is referring to the outdoor marketplaces/bazaars. When these markets are closed then we know that the people are going through a bad/difficult time. Businesses are closed down. 

  • The sound of grinding is low: It’s coming to an end. The image that Solomon is giving us is this: We need to remember the L-rd, our Creator, when we are young. We need to make decisions and base our lives upon that, because things are coming to an end. Are we prepared for the end? Have we prepared ourselves for Judgment day?
  • One rises up at the sound of a bird: This speaks of fear. A little sound causes them to wake up, to be alert. 
  • The daughters of music are brought low: They are dismayed or full of despair. 

v5: They are afraid of height and of terrors: There is no place that they can escape to where they feel safe. 

  • When the almond tree blossoms: This is the wrong interpretation for this phrase. The word that is translated ‘blossoms’ is a word that speaks about something contemptible (see ). The almond tree relates to the priesthood – Aaron’s rod that budded with almond blossoms. This is speaking about the fact that at the end there is going to be contempt for the priesthood, for ministry and for the things of G-d.  
  • Man goes to his eternal home: An idiom for death. 

v6: Not only do our lives come to an end, but our possessions (those things we strive and work for) also come to an end (passed on to others, thrown away or given away). 

  • Silver cord is loosed – it frays and loses its value. 
  • Bowl is brokenpitcher (jug) shattered…wheel broken: The things that we hold on to and consider dear are going to wear out and break. We need to have a proper mindset before these things happen. We need to plan for the future – for the time when our bodies and our possessions begin to wear out. The foundational principle for this preparation is to “remember our Creator”. 

v7: Eccl 12:1 – we need to be preparing for our end from the time that we are young. For those of us who are already older – it is not too late for our preparation to begin now. As long as we still have breath in our lungs we can be changed and transformed. We can utilise the time that remains for us. We can remember G-d in everything we do from this time forward.

v8: What was the purpose/responsibility of the preacher/leader? Although Solomon was the king over Israel he didn’t see himself as simply a political figure. He saw himself as an instructor – one who was supposed to guide or lead the people in the proper way. He wanted to impart wisdom to his people. 

  • Vanity of vanities: This is true for those who have no Kingdom hope or who do not believe in G-d, who have not invited Yeshua to be L-rd of their lives. Their lives are lives that have been wasted.

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