Ecclesiastes 8:  Time and Judgment

Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.  Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him.  But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God. Ecclesiastes 8:11-13

8:11-13 Avoid crime.  Even if some get away with crime, it will still “not go well with them.”  There’s always the risk of punishment.

 

 

8:1 The idiom “to cause one’s face to shine” (see also the Levitical blessing of Num. 6:25) is an image of a person who is stable.  Out of the depths of experience and understanding that person is able to enjoy life and build up others.

1  Who is like a wise man? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man’s wisdom makes his face shine, And the sternness of his face is changed

8:6 time and judgment:  The phrase means an “appropriate time of judgment.”  God will judge everyone; every matter, including judgment, has its set time (12:14).

6  Because for every matter there is a time and judgment, Though the misery of man increases greatly.

8:8 Since the word spirit is paralleled by the “day of death,” the term spirit in this context means “life force.”

8  No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, And no one has power in the day of death. There is no release from that war, And wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it.

8:15 In contrast to the mad search for the meaning of all things is the contentment that a wise, loving God gives to those who will receive His gifts of enjoyment.  Here is one of the central themes of Ecclesiastes.  Eat, drink, and be merry:  The Preacher marks the end of the third major section of his book with this refrain.  The wicked person (the fool) decides that the best thing to do is to “eat, drink, and be merry” with no thought given to the living God.  But the righteous person (the wise) can enjoy life while thinking of God and His good gifts.

15  So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.

** Time and judgment happen to us all.  We have time now but we don’t know when our time will be up and face judgment.  We should be wise just for ourselves but for those who are perishing although they don’t know it.


 

8 1  Who is like a wise man? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man’s wisdom makes his face shine, And the sternness of his face is changed. 2  I say, “Keep the king’s commandment for the sake of your oath to God. 3  Do not be hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand for an evil thing, for he does whatever pleases him.” 4  Where the word of a king is, there is power; And who may say to him, “What are you doing?” 5  He who keeps his command will experience nothing harmful; And a wise man’s heart discerns both time and judgment,

6  Because for every matter there is a time and judgment, Though the misery of man increases greatly. 7  For he does not know what will happen; So who can tell him when it will occur? 8  No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, And no one has power in the day of death. There is no release from that war, And wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it.

9  All this I have seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: There is a time in which one man rules over another to his own hurt.

The Inequalities of Life

10  Then I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of holiness, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done. This also is vanity. 11  Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12  Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. 13  But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God.

14  There is a vanity which occurs on earth, that there are just men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15  So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun. 16  When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that is done on earth, even though one sees no sleep day or night, 17  then I saw all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. For though a man labors to discover it, yet he will not find it; moreover, though a wise man attempts to know it, he will not be able to find it.