Bible Study

ECCLESIASTES 9

OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER

1) To reflect upon the inevitability of death, and the uncertainty of life.

2) To consider how time and chance happens to all

3) To appreciate the importance of a joyful, diligent life, and heeding the words of the wise.

The writer continues to share counsel gleaned from observations on life made during his search for meaning.  He noted that all things come alike to all, it matters not that you are righteous or wicked.  One thing that certainly happens to all is death, after which one is soon forgotten and has no share in this life (things done “under the sun”).

Should one therefore despair?  No, the Preacher again encourages us to live joyfully, especially with the wife of our youth, and to work diligently in what time we have in this life.  Once you die, you won’t be able to continue your efforts in the grave.  This is our portion in life, and God has already accepted our works (1-10).

The writer also observed that time and chance happens to all, and that evil times come suddenly.  The uncertainty of life can be softened with the aid of wisdom, which the Preacher praises as better than strength and the weapons of war.  Thus the words of the wise should be heard, even when spoken softly, or coming from a poor man (11-18).

OUTLINE

I. ENDURING THE INEVITABILITY OF DEATH (9:1-10)

A. DEATH HAPPENS TO ALL (1-6)

      1. It happens to both the righteous and the wicked

         a. While the righteous are in God’s hands

         b. And the sons of men are full of evil

      2. While we live, there is hope; when we die…

         a. We know nothing of what goes on here on earth

         b. Others’ memory of us soon fades

B. ENJOY LIFE (7-10)

      1. While death is inevitable, we should still enjoy life

      2. Live joyfully with the wife God has given you

      3. Work diligently while you are here; you won’t be able to do anymore after you die

II. ENDURING THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE (9:11-18)

A. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED (11-12)

      1. Time and chance happens to all

         a. Being swift and strong does not mean you will always win

         b. Being wise, understanding, and skillful does not always ensure food, riches, or favor

      2. Sometimes death will come unexpectedly, like animals caught in a trap

B. ESTEEM WISDOM (13-18)

      1. The Preacher saw how wisdom saved a city

         a. Even though found in a poor man

         b. Even though the man was soon forgotten

      2. Therefore he praises the value of wisdom

         a. As better than strength, though a poor man’s wisdom is often despised

         b. As better than weapons of war, though spoken quietly by the wise