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THE SECOND PARTICULAR ASPECT OF THE WISE ORDERING OF LIFE: PREPARATION FOR EVILS: ECCLESIASTES 8:6-8

 

            Solomon proceeds from the problem of danger which arises from a (capricious) king to the danger which flows from an apparently capricious or powerful world.  If we are going to survive in such a place, we need to plan for the evil which will inevitably take place in a fallen, cursed world.  In these verses, Solomon gives a series of three illustrations to demonstrate his point.

 

TEXT:

Ecclesiastes: 8:6-8:  Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.  For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?  There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

 

COMMENTARY

 

            Heedful prevention and preparation for evils which may come upon us, we know not when nor how soon69.  This fruit of wisdom is illustrated:

 

            First Illustration

            By the common misery of man that lies upon him by reason of his ignorance of things present, and to come: which plunges him into may errors and dangers.  The misery of man is great upon him.  Why?  Because there is a time and judgment for all things, which for the most part men are ignorant of; for he knows not that which shall be, he is ignorant of himself, and has none that can instruct him, for who can tell him when it shall be?  Verses 6, 7.

 

            Second Illustration

            By instance of man’s weakness to help himself in the greatest of dangers, viz.  Death, against which wisdom affords us resultion and patience, other help there is not: No man hath power over the restrain the spirit, none hath command of his own life, to live and die when he lists ]desires[ Neither had he power in the day of death, viz.,  to save himself alive, neither is there discharge in the war70, viz, with death, against which there is no protection, no shifting, or, nor is there deliverance in battle, viz., by a man’s own strength or policy, verse 8.

 

            Third Illustration

            By the opposite of man’s wickedness in devising and using ungodly means and unlawful shifts for the effecting of his safety in avoiding such evils as he fears will fall upon him; which endeavors are to no purpose.  Neither shall wickedness deliver those are are given to it, לְרַעלֹו, when man for want of true wisdom have run themselves into errors and danger, they seek out foolish and unwarrantable counsels to rid themselves free, but become so much the faster entangled, verse 8.

 


69  Doeg’s obedience, and that of Saul’s servants.  1 Sam. 22. –?? 1 Chron. 31.3.   @ sam. 19.5,6.

70  Or weapon, missle, מִשְלַחַת to defend ourselves against death.