We continue with Eccl 6:7-12
v7: Solomon gets even more cynical.
- Labour… is for his mouth: Here Solomon (without a Kingdom perspective) is insinuating that we are no better off than the animals – the only things animals live for is to eat. More and more as we near the end of the end times people are going to become more animalistic in their behaviour – basing their lives upon what their flesh wants, rather than using the intellect that G-d has given to them.
- Soul: Man’s innermost being.
v8: What more: Probably better translated “What advantage…”.
- Wise…fool: Solomon is not necessarily speaking here of divine, Biblical or heavenly wisdom but rather of human intellect (remember, this chapter is written from the perspective of a lack of faith, focusing on the world and not on the Kingdom).
- Poor: This word can also be translated “afflicted” (persecuted). This verse is talking about those who deny themselves (living hermit or monastic style lifestyles etc). Denying ourselves food, music, any joy this world has to offer etc does not produce a better way of life for us.
v9: Sight of the eyes…wandering of desire: Solomon keeps trying to experience things through his senses. He is offering us two different perspectives or ways of life here – pursuing what our eyes can see (what is obtainable and available to us) or following after our dreams (pursuing those things that cannot be seen but which we desire and hope for).
- Vanity…grasping for the wind: Solomon concludes that both these ways of life end in the same way – futile and empty. Whether we live our lives following our dreams or whether we live our lives based in reality they reach the same conclusion (from a worldly point of view). Why? Because these two ways of life are not based upon divine revelation. They are not based on G-d’s purposes, plans, and will.
v10: Named already: Solomon goes back to the idea that there’s nothing really new.
- Contend: We cannot think that based upon knowledge, based upon something new, that we are going to find justice or proper judgment in this world. Justice is not ultimately based on intelligence but on power or authority.
- Mightier than he: There is always someone more powerful than us. Every powerful man is eventually overtaken by someone more powerful than himself. Justice and judgment is not going to be given because of intelligence, but it’s going to be based upon might/power in this world.
Note: Although this verse (in the NKJV) puts ‘Him’ as a capital letter (ie as referring to G-d) it is not clear if this is in fact referring to G-d or simply just speaking of fellow human beings.
v11: Many things…increase vanity: Here King Solomon is teaching us a very significant principle: If we pursue (try to achieve, try to possess) many or abundant things it is going to lead to emptiness or lack. They will leave us unsatisfied. One of the things that the Bible teaches is discernment – we need to know what is permissible and what is forbidden. When we exercise discernment, we’re going to find satisfaction. We need to learn to say “no” to ‘many things’ but learn to say “yes” to the things that G-d has for us. G-d is not going to supply that which is good (those things which have eternal significance), until we utilize discernment (which we get through obedience to the Word of G-d) and reject what is bad (those things which are contrary to His Word and will for our lives).
- How is man the better?: ie How do they benefit us? They don’t!
v12: Who knows what is good for man in life? There is only one answer to this question…G-d. G-d has revealed to us in His Word (He has written it down!) what is good for us.
- Passes like a shadow: A shadow is a distorted representation of the reality. A shadow can be very deceiving – there’s something there but it is difficult to make it out. It’s only when we understand the light of this world (Messiah Yeshua), and have His light shining into our lives, that the shadows flee.
- Who can tell a man what will happen: Only G-d knows our eternal future.
Note: Solomon didn’t know what was good for man. He didn’t know what was going to be the end of man after he leaves this world. He had no expectation, no hope, no understanding of a future beyond this world. Most of the world is in this same predicament today. They are in darkness. We do not need to live in darkness. We have the very Word of G-d available to us – a source of revelation and truth (Roms 10:17-18).