Dave Burnette's Commentary

Ecclesiastes Chapter 9

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Solomon
Date Penned: (935 BC)
Overview: Wisdom's Lessons from Experience (c 1-12)
Theme: Solomon's Practical Counsel (c 9-12)
Message: Solomon's Final Conclusion (v 1-18)

Ecclesiastes 9 Commentary 

(9:2) Death - "All things come alike to all" means that everyone will eventually die. 

(9:5,10) Life's End - When Solomon says the dead know nothing and that there is no work, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in death, he is not contrasting life with afterlife, but life with death. After we die, we can't change what we have done; we can't suddenly plan to become better people. Resurrection to a new life after death was a vague concept for Old Testament believers. This reality and hope was only made clear after Jesus rose from the dead. 

(9:7-10) Enjoying Life - Considering the uncertainties of the future and the certainty of death, Solomon recommended enjoying life as God's gift. He may have been criticizing those who put off all present pleasures in order to accumulate wealth, much like those who get caught up in today's rat race. Solomon was asking, "What is your wealth really worth, anyway?" Because the future is so uncertain, we should enjoy God's gifts while we are able. 

(9:9) Marriage - Solomon also wrote a proverb about marriage: "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD" (Proverbs 18:22). If you are married, God intends for you to appreciate and enjoy your spouse as one of his good gifts in this life. 

(9:10-11) Sins Affect - It isn't difficult to think of cases where the swiftest and the strongest don't win, the wise are poor and go hungry, and the skillful and intelligent are never rewarded with wealth or honor. Some people see such examples and call life unfair. They are right. The world is finite, and sin has twisted life, making it what God did not intend. Solomon is trying to reduce our expectations. The book of Proverbs emphasizes how life would go if everyone acted fairly; Ecclesiastes explains what usually happens in our sinful and imperfect world where they do not. We must keep our perspective. Don't let the inequities of life keep you from earnest, dedicated work. We serve God, not people (see Colossians 3:23). 

(9:13-18) Success and Wisdom - Our society honors wealth, attractiveness, and success above wisdom. Yet wisdom is a far greater asset than strength or beauty, though it is often overlooked by the masses (especially when wise people are also poor). Despite its effectiveness, wisdom is not always heard. From this parable we can learn to be receptive to wisdom, regardless of its source.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Our Common Destiny

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 continue in the Book of Ecclesiastes with Chapter 9. In our text today, we see Solomon's conclusion that Everyone has a common destiny: death. Once we die, we will face the judgment to live eternity in Heaven or Hell, but Solomon comments on how we cannot change the past. Our testimony will, in essence, preach our funeral. In making an application, we see that how we live will be how we are remembered, so we must live each day to the Honor and Glory of God. How about you? What will people say about you at your funeral? Let us learn from our text today to remember that we have a shared destiny, which is death, and how we live will preach our funeral, so as we live, let us learn to do all for the glory of God.


Ecclesiastes 9

Ecclesiastes 9

 1For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.

 2All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

 3This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

 4For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

 5For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

 6Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

 7Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

 8Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.

 9Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

 10Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

 11I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

 12For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

 13This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:

 14There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:

 15Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.

 16Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.

 17The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

 18Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.