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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Ecclesiastes 6

 

 

Verses 1-12

CHAPTER 6 Disheartening Contradictions

1. Riches--Inability to enjoy them (Ecclesiastes 6:1-2)

2. Having All--Yet no fill of the soul (Ecclesiastes 6:3-9)

3. The sad ending wail (Ecclesiastes 6:10-12)

Ecclesiastes 6:1-2. The first evil the wise searcher sees as a discouraging contradiction is, that God giveth a man riches, wealth, and honor so that he does not lack in anything whatever. But God does not give him the power to enjoy it, a stranger instead eats thereof. This makes impossible what he stated in the closing verses of the preceding chapter. The cherished desires of man have found no fulfilment. And if he has seen this evil, so do we still see it also. Where then is “the good and comely” of chapter 5:18? This is vanity and it is an evil disease, he confesseth.

Ecclesiastes 6:3-9. But here is more of life’s bitterness. If one should beget a hundred children and live to a very ripe old age, so old he becomes that it seems as if there is to be no burial for him at all, yet his soul is not filled with good--what then? “I say that an untimely birth is better than he, for it cometh in vanity and departeth in darkness, and the name thereof is covered with darkness; moreover it has not seen the sun nor known it; this hath rest rather than the other: yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, and yet enjoy no good; do not all go to one place?” It is a sad, sorrowful picture, yet every word of it is true as to man’s existence. With all his long life and all it brings, riches and power, his soul has not the fill it needs, that which satisfies. His life ends at last and then there is the one place--the region of the unknown, the Sheol, where they all go. And about that one place there is no light; it is felt existence after death but of what nature? All is darkness! Better, far better off, is the untimely birth.

In Ecclesiastes 6:7 he comes back again to the labor that man does. It is for the mouth, yet it does not satisfy--the appetite is not filled. The hunger returns, and man must labor to satisfy it and yet it is never filled. The fool and the wise make the same experience. The wise has no advantage over the fool; and the poor man who has something to eat in sight is far better off than the rich, whose desires wander, seeking that which gratifies. Vanity and vexation of spirit! We may all sum it up in a brief sentence: Man under the sun, whatever he does, all his labors, all his riches, all his seeking for good, all his achievements cannot satisfy him, it cannot give that which the soul of man craves and needs. Nor can it ever be discovered by the searcher, the wise man, the philosopher, the scientist. What man needs is not anything “under the sun” but that which is “from above the sun.”

Ecclesiastes 6:10-12. Who knoweth what is good for man in this life that is--what is it that can satisfy the heart and soul of man? He spendeth all the days of his vain life as a shadow. For who can tell a man who shall be after him under the sun? It is the wail of darkness and despair. Who knoweth? Not the natural man. But the question which man cannot answer, God has graciously, blessedly and eternally answered in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. With Peter we too cry out, “Lord to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” John 6:68.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1913-1922.

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