On to Eccl 8:10-17
v10: I saw the wicked buried: Burial is an act of honour. Solomon saw the wicked people receiving honour in their death.
- Come and gone from the place of holiness, and they were forgotten: He also saw righteous people, worshippers, who were forgotten after their deaths. It should be of no concern to us if people will or will not remember us after our death, as eventually this world will remember no one. We should be concerning ourselves with being found pleasing to G-d at His judgment.
- This also is vanity: It is only vanity/seems futile when we are looking at it from a worldly perspective and not from a Kingdom perspective.
v11: The sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily: When evil is done, no law comes quickly against it. We have to wait a long time in order for justice to be served in this world.
- Therefore…fully set…to do evil: When judgment is delayed, people think they are getting away with their evil deeds, so they continue doing them.
v12: His days are prolonged: Solomon saw that many who did evil lived for a long time. This does not seem right or fair.
- It will be well with those who fear G-d, who fear before Him: It is going to be well with those who walk in the fear of the L-rd and demonstrate it.
v13: Although the wicked one may seem to live for a long time, and although he often has wealth and possessions, all of these do not go with him into eternity. All his life in this world will be seen as brief (a shadow) in light of eternity.
v14: Just men: Righteous men.
- It happens according to the work of the wicked: There is always an exception to the rule but on the whole righteous people, in this world, don’t seem to get what they deserve – from a human perspective what they receive in this world appears to be the “reward” of what a wicked person should receive.
- The wicked men…according to the work of the righteous: In contrast, those who are wicked (frequently) seem to receive a “reward” that (for all intents and purposes) appears as if it should be the reward of a righteous person. The rewarding system on earth is topsy turvy.
Note: If we lived in a world where good things only happened to good people and evil things only happened to evil people everyone would behave well – not because of faith or belief, but because people would then begin living for the good reward. In this world there is injustice, but that should not sway how we live.
v15: It is good to work hard (to labour), and it is a blessing to eat and drink – i.e. to praise G-d (Deut 8:10)
v16: When Solomon looks at this world (both the day and the night) and tries to put everything into perspective he doesn’t see peace (sleep) in it (Ps 4:8). Worldly pursuits do not lead to rest. But those who live to please G-d are granted rest (Ps 127:2).
v17: Man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: We cannot perceive/understand this world as it is a world that is clothed in darkness and deceit.
- Labours to discover it: Although people toil/work hard to try to discover the meaning of life etc they will not find it in their own strength or with their own intellect.
- A wise man attempts to know it, he will not be able to find it: The wisdom of G-d does not make us a discerner of the things of this world, because this world is a world of falsehood. The wisdom of G-d is there to help us to become a discerner of truth and how to do His will. Solomon took the wisdom that G-d gave to him (1Kings 3:12) and he misappropriated it by trying to apply it to the things of this world rather than to the things of the Kingdom of G-d. We need to be people who focus on the Kingdom, pursing Kingdom endeavours. It will waste our time to try to understand this world of deceit. Rather, we need to spend our time focussing on a Kingdom of truth. This will lead us to be encouraged rather than frustrated because the character of that Kingdom is the character of G-d. As we engage in Kingdom activities we will grow in our knowledge of G-d. The more we know and experience G-d the more content and satisfied we will be.