Today's Bible Commentary

  ECCLESIASTES Daily Bible Readings
  Commentary, Cross Reference Bible, and Bible Dictionary
Books on Ecclesiastes from Amazon.com  
  SONG OF SOLOMON Daily Bible Readings
  Commentary, Cross Reference Bible, and Bible Dictionary
Books on Song of Solomon from Amazon.com
 

Matthew | Proverbs | ECCLESIASTES | SONG OF SONGS | Mark | Isaiah

DateScripturesDaily devotional commentary
August 25 - September 1: Proverbs
Sep 2:Ecclesiastes 1-5 * Searching for Happiness
Sep 3:Ecclesiastes 6-10 * Will Work and Wealth Equal Happiness?
Sep 4:Ecclesiastes 11-12 * Fear God - Keep His Commandments
Sep 5:SONG OF SOLOMON 1-8* SONG OF SOLOMON 1-8
September 6-12: Mark

Searching for Happiness
Sep 2 reading
Ecclesiastes 1-5
More on Ecclesiastes
Dictionary and Books
* The Theology of Ecclesiastes
M. J. Sawyer
WISDOM: "That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil - this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him." (3:13-14)
Special thanks to guest commendator Donald Stamps, the editor of the Full Life Study Bible

Ecclesiastes studies the meaning of life. The teacher looks at wisdom, pleasure, work, power, riches, religion, and other things. All of these have some value and are useful in the proper time and place, but they have lasting value only if God is at the center of manís life. Without God, the teacher says "everything is meaningless."

According to Jewish tradition, Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes during the last years of his life.

The accumulative effect of Solomonís spiritual decline, idolatry and life of self-indulgence left him at the end disillusioned with pleasure and materialism as a way of happiness. Ecclesiastes records his cynical reflections about futility and emptiness of seeking happiness in life apart from God and his word. He had experienced wealth, power, honor, fame and sensual pleasure --- all in great abundance --- yet they added up in the end to emptiness and disillusionment. "Meaningless! Meaningless! -- everything is meaningless".


Will Work and Wealth Equal Happiness?
Sep 3 reading
Ecclesiastes 6-10
More on Ecclesiastes
Dictionary and Books
* Ecclesiastes
Bandstra
WISDOM: "For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man's misery weighs heavily upon him. Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come? No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it." (8:6-8)
Sometimes the Lord gives a man wealth, possessions, and honor -- all his heart desires -- but doesn't enable him to enjoy them; a stranger gets them to enjoy. No matter how long one lives, if he can't enjoy his prosperity and doesn't get a proper burial, a stillborn child is better off than he. Man has few and meaningless days no matter how long his life. Who knows and can tell him what will happen after he is gone?

Continuing with more proverbs, Solomon sees that death is the destiny of every man, so the living should remember this. Wise men rebuke, and fools laugh. So? Both wisdom and money are shelters, but wisdom preserves one's life. The Lord makes both good times and bad times. Some righteous men die in their righteousness while others live wickedly year after year. Don't be overrighteous, overwise, or a fool. "The man who fears God will avoid all extremes." (7:18b) No righteous man on earth always does right and never sins. Don't pay attention to every word people say. Haven't you said things out of frustration you wouldn't normally say? Of 1000 men, Solomon found 1 upright man, but not 1 upright woman. Solomon believed that "God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes." (7:29b)

Solomon gives procedures for making a request before the king. Don't stand up for a bad cause, and don't use situational ethics. "For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man's misery weighs heavily upon him." (8:6) So much about life doesn't really matter. So what if the wicked receive other men's praise or seem to get away with crimes? "I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God." (8:12b) No matter how the life of a wicked man appears, their eternal life will not go well and not be lengthened. What about righteous men who are treated like the wicked, and vice versa? Meaningless! Enjoy life and do your work. No one can understand why things happen the way they do. Even wise Solomon tried but couldn't understand everything under the sun.

"The righteous and the wise - and what they do - are in God's hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits him. All share a common destiny..." One only has hope while he is alive. After death it's too late for further reward. So life is meaningless and unfair. Deal with it by enjoying life with your spouse and doing the work you do for a living with all your might. Time and chance - not logic - happen to everyone, and no one knows when evil times will fall on them. "The race is NOT to the swift or the battle to the strong..." (9:11a) Wisdom may not make you famous, but still can save lives.

Solomon continues laying out his conclusions with proverbs. "Calmness can lay great errors to rest." (10:4b) He contrasts the wise with fools. If the leader of your land is noble, he hasn't put fools in high places, and he and his family and advisors eat together for strength, not to get drunk, your land is blessed. The lazy put off maintaining their own house. Don't talk against your king or the rich even in your thoughts - your room may be "bugged".


Fear God - Keep His Commandments
Sep 4 reading
Ecclesiastes 11-12
More on Ecclesiastes
Dictionary and Books
* Commentary on Ecclesiastes,
Gregory of Nyssa
WISDOM: "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.
Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land." (11:1-2)
"Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come... (12:1a)
Share food. You never know when a disaster will come upon you yourself. There is so much you don't know - can't know. Do you know where the wind will go? Do you know how the body is formed in the womb of a woman with child? You cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Work on various projects since you don't know which one or ones will succeed. Don't be idle. Enjoy the years of your life and remember that dark days also will come. If you follow your heart in all you do when you're young, God will bring you judgment. "So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless."

"Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come..." (12:1a) - before you die. Remember - get habitually involved with - the Lord before trouble comes and before your body is slowing down toward death. "Much study wearies the body." (12:12b) "Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." (12:13b-14)


Pure Love
Sep 5 reading
Song of Solomon 1-8
More on Song of Solomon
Dictionary and Books
* Keys to the Song of Solomon, Dolphin
* Song of Songs, Cole
"My lover has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies. I am my lover's and my lover is mine/ he browses among the lilies." (6:2-3)
Special thanks to guest commendator Donald Stamps, the editor of the Full Life Study Bible

The content of Song of Songs is not easily analyzed. Rather than moving in a methodical and logical manner from the first chapter to the last, it moves in a series of interlocking circles revolving around a central theme of love. As a song, it has six stanzas or poems, each one dealing with some aspect of the courtship and wedded love of Solomon and his bride.

God wants us to know that love can be pure, wholesome and beautiful. Song of Songs, therefore, provides a corrective model between two extremes in history:

(1) the abandonment of married love for sexual perversion (i.e. homosexual or lesbian relationships) and fleeting unmarried heterosexual encounters, and

(2) an asceticism, often mistaken as the Christian view of sex, that denies the goodness of physical love in the marriage relationship.

Tomorrow's reading (September 6) Mark 1-3

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