Dave Burnette's Commentary

Ecclesiastes Chapter 4

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Solomon
Date Penned: (935 BC)
Overview: Wisdom's Lessons from Experience (c 1-12)
Theme: Solomon's General Observation (c 3-5)
Message: Oppression and Sadness in Life (v 1-16)

Ecclesiastes 4 Commentary 

(4:4-6) Working Hard - Some people are lazy while others are workaholics. Lazy people, seeing the futility of dashing about for success, idle away their time and hurt both themselves and those who depend on them. Workaholics are often driven by envy, greed, and a constant desire to stay ahead of everyone else. Both extremes are foolish and irresponsible. The answer is to work hard but with moderation. Take time to enjoy the other gifts God has given you, and realize that it is God who gives out the assignments and the rewards, not us. 

(4:9-12) Cooperation -  Cooperating with others has advantages. Life is designed for companionship, not isolation--for intimacy, not loneliness. Some people prefer isolation, thinking they cannot trust anyone. We are here on earth not to serve ourselves, however, but to serve God and others. Don't isolate yourself and try to go it alone. Seek out others and be a team member. 

(4:13-16) Accomplishment - Advancement-getting to the top--is meaningless. Position, popularity, and prestige are poor goals for a life's work. Although many people pursue them, they are shadows without substance. Many people seek human recognition for their accomplishments, but people are fickle, changing quickly and easily. How much better to seek God's approval. His love never changes.

Dave Burnette's Life Application


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today, we start the Book of Ecclesiastes with Chapter 4. In our text today, we look at the misery of oppression as we see the results of a life spent seeking its own pleasure. In applying, we see the exact cause and effect of seeking after worldly gain. We reap what we sow, and a life spent seeking worldly gain will gain this oppression spoken of by Solomon. How about you? Do you see this oppression? Let us learn from our text today to see that seeking worldly gain can lead to oppression.


Ecclesiastes 4

Ecclesiastes 4

 1So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

 2Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.

 3Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

 4Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

 5The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.

 6Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.

 7Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.

 8There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.

 9Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

 10For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

 11Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?

 12And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

 13Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.

 14For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.

 15I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.

 16There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.