Dave Burnette's Commentary

Ecclesiastes Chapter 12

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: Remember Your Creator (v 1-14)

Ecclesiastes 12 Commentary 

(12:1) A Godless Life - A life without God can produce bitterness, loneliness, and hopelessness in old age. A life centered around God is fulfilling and can be richer and more bearable than one without him if we are faced with disabilities, sickness, or handicaps. Being young is exciting. But the excitement of youth can become a barrier to closeness with God if it makes young people focus on passing pleasures instead of eternal values. Make your strength available to God when it is still yours--during your youthful years. Don't waste it on evil or meaningless activities that become bad habits and make you callous. Seek God now. 

(12:6-8) A Fragile Life - The silver cord, golden bowl, pitcher, and wheel symbolize life's fragility. How easily death comes to us; how swiftly and unexpectedly we return to the dust from which we came. Therefore, we should recognize life as a precious resource to be used wisely and not squandered frivolously. 

(12:7-8) Dust to Dust - Stripped of the life-giving spirit breathed into us by God, our bodies return to dust. Stripped of God's purpose, our work is in vain. Stripped of God's love, our service is futile. We must put God first over all we do and in all we do because without him we have nothing. Knowing that life is futile without God motivates a wise person to seek God first. 

(12:11) A Goad - A goad (also called an oxgoad) was a wooden rod with a sharp metal tip, which was used to keep cattle moving. Like an oxgoad, wise words or important truths might be unpleasant when first heard and applied but can be essential for moving us in God's direction. 

(12:12) Philosophy - Opinions about life and philosophies about how we should live could be read and studied forever. It is not wrong to study these opinions, but we should spend most of our time feeding on the truth of God's Word and putting the wisdom we gain into action. Wise students of the Bible will understand and do what they are taught. Because our time on earth is so short, we should use it to learn the truths that affect not only this life but also eternity. 

(12:13-14) Lacking Purpose - In his conclusion, Solomon presents his antidotes for the two main ailments presented in this book. Those who lack purpose and direction in life should fear God and obey his commands. Those who think life is unfair should remember that God will review every person's life to determine how he or she has responded to him, and he will judge every deed. Have you committed your life-your present and your future--to God? Does your life measure up to his standards? 

(12:13-14) Standing Before God - The book of Ecclesiastes cannot be interpreted correctly without reading these final verses. No matter what the mysteries and apparent contradictions of life are, we must work toward the single purpose of knowing God. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon shows us that we should enjoy life but that this does not exempt us from obeying God's commands. We should search for purpose and meaning in life, but these cannot be found in human endeavors. We should acknowledge the evil, foolishness, and injustice in life yet maintain a positive attitude and strong faith in God. All people will have to stand before God and be judged for what they did in this life. We will not be able to use life's inconsistencies as an excuse for failing to live as God wants. To live as God wants, we need to (1) recognize that human effort apart from God is futile; (2) put God first--now; (3) receive every good thing as a gift from God; (4) realize that God will judge both evil and good; and (5) know that God will judge the quality of every person's life. How strange that people spend their lives striving for the very enjoyment

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 continue in the Book of Ecclesiastes with Chapter 12. In our text today, we see the preacher advise us on remembering our Creator, who we are, where we came from, and where we are going as we obey His Word. In making an application, we see that we, too, should remember where we have come from and how the Lord has delivered us from our sins. Remember where we are going and who we are in Christ to live the Christian life. How about you? Do you see who you are in Christ Jesus? Let us learn from our text today to remember where we came from and our eternal home, Heaven, as we allow the Lord to live His life in and through us as believers in Him.


Ecclesiastes 12

Ecclesiastes 12

 1Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

 2While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

 3In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,

 4And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;

 5Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

 6Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

 7Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

 8Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

 9And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.

 10The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.

 11The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

 12And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

 13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

 14For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.