A fool according to the Bible is a person who refuses God’s teaching. A fool may be a knowledgeable and intelligent person and yet be a fool according to the Bible.
Since the general nature of a fool is to reject God and his teaching they tend to speak words about things they refuse to understand from God. They are consumed by their own words (12). A fool starts out by talking foolishness and ends up saying crazy things that are dangerous to themselves and others (13).
A fool rejects God’s wisdom as proclaimed in this book. The conclusion of Ecclesiastes is that we fear God and keep his commandments for this is the duty of man. It continues that thought with the truth that we should enjoy the labors of our hard work under the sun; stop, take time to enjoy the gifts of God, and be good to others. A fool rejects this. Instead, they work until they are so weary they cannot even find their way to their home (in those days all lived in villages, towns, and cities.)
A wise person who obeys God speaks gracious words (12). They may not know what is specifically coming (14). However, they know that it is good to trust God and his teachings. When asked why they believe this they tell others that it is good to have faith in God’s good intentions for their life.
When I was a young man I had several interests that I wanted to pursue; art, music, engineering, and horticulture. Preparing food came later. I was inspired and full of wonder at the masters of these life pursuits. I soon enough discovered that the master’s skill was much harder to match than their final products appeared to have been achieved. The spirit was willing, but the skill was weak.
I was a dull ax, its edge unsharpened (10). I was an uncharmed snake; killing results before I was charmed (11). I learned that skill will bring success (10). I needed skills to be happy and pleased by success. Skill would bring the profit of a job well done.
When I pursued an education in my heart’s desires I learned that refined skills required the determined pursuit of two things. I needed to learn and imitate the masters. And more than this I needed to practice, practice, practice. Continued use of these two can only be maintained by love, will, desire, and patience.
Since this is true when pursuing my heart’s desires I shouldn’t be surprised that it also applies to my character. How can I follow my Master expecting an immediate change of character? How can I follow my Master without applying these two principles to my life? I cannot. Since I want a good character I need to learn from the Master Jesus and practice, practice, and practice his way.
The simplest takeaway from verses 8 and 9 is that accidents happen and I may be the cause of the accident. When unintentional disasters and misfortunes happen I need to admit and accept my part in the cause. When I fall into a pit I dug, then admit and accept that I was the cause (8.). When I am bitten by a snake behind a wall that I brought through, then admit and accept that I was the cause (8). When stones fall on me that I broke free from a quarry wall, then admit and accept that I was the cause (9). When a splinter from a log I am splitting gets into my mouth or eye, then admit and accept that I was the cause (9).
Applying the principle of “self-causes result from self-effects” should be applied to all life decisions. The road to recovery, healing, and forgiveness of sins starts with admitting my guilt.
“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13) “When anyone is guilty in any of these ways, he must confess in what way he has sinned.” (Leviticus 5:5) “Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds.” (Acts 19:18) “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
A ruler can make wise decisions and foolish decisions. A ruler can be wise and foolish. These two simple truths often have little correlation. A wise leader can make foolish decisions and visa-versa. A ruler’s emotional and spiritual stability is more inclined to influence his or her decisions than these two. The same can be said of me.
The author of Ecclesiastes points out an evil under the sun, the sort that arises from a ruler. I have seen this too. A person in a position of leadership posts people under them to manage affairs for one of two reasons. Many leaders place in high positions those who are loyal to them regardless of their skill and capability. The result is that “fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones.” While other leaders look for skill and ability.
Most rich people in those days were people who had an ability and skill, made so by God. Today we call these people self-made and people with business sense. I like the author has witnessed good companies fall apart because those who rise in management were promoted because someone was building a silo of selfish power. I have also witnessed the opposite; people build companies because they recognize and promote people based on their skill, ability, and mental stability.
I learn to examine my motives. Why do I have the friends and partners that I have? Why am I choosing to spend the rest of my life in a commitment of marriage with someone? The answer to these questions will heavily influence my future success and happiness.
The human heart is a bit of a mysterious thing. The existence of the human heart cannot be denied. The human heart is the center of our being; our emotions, thoughts, and will. The heart is the home of the personal life. Heart and soul are sometimes interchanged.
“The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.” The human heart is me and drives me.
To what extent can I control my heart? With discipline, a person may control thoughts, emotions, and will. Yet a person can only work with what they have. Make wine from spoiled grapes and the wine will be rotten.
I need not despair at the condition of my heart. “What is impossible with man, is possible with God,” Jesus taught. The Lord transforms that which is impure. He changes anything. Jesus changes water into wine. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Wisdom and honor are compared to perfume. Folly is compared to a dead fly. In my life, I may live in the wisest and most honorable decisions. Yet one foolish decision will tarnish my wisdom and honor enough to become useless and revolting.
“As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.” Knowing this truth I need to have vigilance of the heart.
Yet, what is folly? What are wisdom and honor? Are my understanding and practice correct? Folly and humor are not the same. Biblical wisdom refers to practical skills associated with understanding and living a successful life. These range from the ability to create highly skilled works to the intellectual capacity required to make choices that result in favorable outcomes and avoid troubles. Wisdom is associated with trust in and fear of God.
The book of Proverbs, the next book for BDBD has many references to folly and wisdom.
Emotions can lead us to wonderful moments. Emotions can also lead to dreadful moments. Emotional words can bring light or darkness; life and death; words of healing and words of destruction.
During emotionally charged arguments quiet words are spoken by the wise and shouts are spoken by fools (17). The capability to control emotions (and thus words) is a muscle that is in all humans. Every aspect of the physical body needs activity and drills to mature; muscles, mind, emotions, etc. An emotionally mature person has learned to control their emotions through determined repetition of control. Control of my emotions leads to controlling the words I speak.
Likewise, controlling the words I speak leads to controlling a heated moment. Wise words are better than weapons of war for they do not kill, they heal (18). Yet one dark word destroys much good (18).
I can learn to control my emotions before it turns my tongue into a weapon to harm me and those I am speaking to. I first need to sense a powerful emotion rising in my heart. Then I need to exercise restraint; stop, think about it, breathe, harness the emotion, and force my self-preservation to head to selfless wise words.
Some people practice so they can be sarcastic. They learn control of emotions, yet speak unhealthy words. I can practice so I can be kind. I can learn to control of emotions so as to speak healthy words.
Jesus is the poor wise man whose wisdom is despised and his words are no longer heeded. Several of his followers have lived this way too. Their wisdom saves the city from the wrath of God. Yet nobody remembers them.
“The race is not to the swift.” Just ask Aesop’s tortuous and hare. “The battle does not belong to the strong.” USA revolutionary war against Britain, the world power at that time proves this.
“Food does not come to the wise.” Just ask the sage walking down from his mountain retreat to obtain food. “Wealth does not belong to the brilliant.” Just ask the professor expelled for indecent conduct with a student. “Favor and success do not belong to the skillful and learned.” Just ask the undiscovered starving artist.
“Time and chance (unpredictable events) happen to them all.” Predominantly who we are and the decisions we make affect our future. However, nothing is guaranteed. No one can predict that which is unpredictable. Who predicted the pandemic? Yet, it had more impact on everyone than most of the decisions we made, are making, and have made.
Those who trust in and believe in themselves grow weary and/or despair when stuff happens. Those who trust in and believe in God find comfort and rest when all doesn’t go their way. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” says Jesus. (Matthew 11:28)
Consider this: death awaits you and you do not know when it will come. Consider this: you do not know what will happen in the future; whether good or bad, whether love or hate; whether sickness or health, whether wealth or poverty.
The righteous, wicked, good, bad, clean, unclean, those who are religious, and those who are not will experience death. The righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits them.
Admit it or not the hearts of all contain evil and we do not know where it hides (3). In a dungeon we falsely think is well fortified lingers madness that always is ready to escape (3). Like cancer that is in everyone is benign today, tomorrow it may start to grow and consume other cells.
Considering these “go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun— all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” What awaits is judgment for the decisions made under the sun.
The ways of the human heart and mind are many under every and all circumstances. Multiply that by many people. Try to comprehend the meaning of all that is done on earth. See all that God has done and comprehend it. Comprehension is impossible. That is what the Teacher, the author of this book is saying in these verses.
Deut. 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all his words.” This is similar to the Teacher’s conclusion in chapter 12.
Why then stop all work and leisure to consider the word of God? Why get up extra early in the morning to comprehend something from the Bible? These words are life. Where else can I go to find life? I will not comprehend the meaning of all and everything and that is fine with me. For what I seek is to spend time with me Father and receive from him life.
Some people believe to one degree or another that if a person does bad or evil eventually they will be punished. They also believe that if we do what is right then goodness will follow us all the days of our lives. However, in life on earth (under the sun) sometimes righteous people may get what the wicked deserve, and wicked people may get what the righteous deserve (14).
Take for example Joseph who did nothing wrong and was sold into slavery merely because his brothers were jealous. He remailed in slavery and even went to jail for perhaps 20 or more years. Meanwhile, Saul remained king for over twenty years while David lived as an outcast in caves and deserts. Though it is true that Joseph became the second in power in Egypt and David became king of Israel. That doesn’t mean much when sitting and sleeping year after year in a dark damp prison and cave.
Solomon considered the uncertainty of those who live righteously or wickedly. He recommended the enjoyment of life because nothing is better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad (15). Enjoying life is a choice that does not depend on how much wealth or power we have. Enjoying life does not mean we engage in sensual pleasures that weary the body and soul. Enjoying life means making the simple things link eating and drinking joyful.
Making the daily decision to enjoy each moment no matter how simple is assurance that joy will accompany us in our work all the days of the life God has given us under the sun (15). Jesus lived in a poor back-water Roman-occupied territory. His short three-year ministry was not without obstacles and challenges. Still, he lived a life of joy that attracted thousands of people who wanted to have what he had.
Everyone wants to live, not die. Occasionally we may consider committing suicide and a few go thru with it when they lose all hope. Still, for the majority of our lives, we want to live as long as possible. The fear of death is part of living under the sun. The fear of death is a base compelling emotion.
Dealing with the fear of death is subjective to our life perspective. A person with a wicked heart will commit many crimes believing they are extending their life (12). A person with the fear of God will refrain from sin though it may shorten their life. A good person will even lay down their life instead of sinning and/or lengthen someone else’s life.
Death of the physical body is not the end of existence. After death, each person will be judged by God. The motivation of our actions will be justly reviewed. “God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil.” (Romans 2:6-9)
“Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God. Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.”
The heart of all people is the same from generation to generation. The people who have decided that either God does not exist or if there is some kind of God he/she does not care for humanity and/or themselves, their sense of morality is self-defined. Personally defined codes of ethics shift, swirl, and fade away like clouds in the sky.
When it is discovered that crimes go unpunished we humans begin to seek a way to get what is wanted even though it may be illegal in our society (11). The heart of mankind can easily become filled with schemes to do wrong.
The basic principle applies to any social group including congregations and families. When a toddler discovers they got away with eating a cookie and some candy they will go back for more until they are caught. A tweenager will sneak out a window late at night once and then many times that follow if they get away with it the first time. When a man or woman cheats on their commitment to their spouse once they soon find themselves in another’s bed many times after that until it is discovered.
The compulsion to do that which is unwise, unhealthy, socially harmful and evil is strong. Even when we want to do right, doing so can be hard to resist doing wrong. A remedy exists. Allie with God and his strength will enable us to do what is good and right for ourselves and others.
Reading Ecclesiastes and one can become cynical and bitter for it points out some social truths that occur generation after generation. Some have the authority to hurt others (9). Wicked people get an honorable burial (10). They went to church and remained wicked (10). These wicked people received praise in the city where they did all this (10). Perpetual social injustice is meaningless (10).
I have seen all these things and more. Those who are hurt rise to power and do the hurting. The oppress rise in power and oppress others. The bullied become the bullies. The human heart celebrates anything sooner or later. What is praised today becomes the subject of revulsion tomorrow. The meaningless of human life under the sun.
Yet the author has a point in reminding me of the cynical and bitter truth. A lifestyle, a way of living exists that makes life to the full possible. Yesterday I experienced at the end of the day subdued anger when walking in the hot summer evening followed by quiet rest floating in a cool pool all by myself.
Four truths about mankind are stated in these two verses.
No man knows the future (7).
No man has power over the wind to contain (restrain) it (8).
No one has power over the day of his death (8).
No one is discharged in time of war (8).
Jesus knew the future. Several times he told his disciples how, where, when, and why he would be betrayed, arrested, tried, crucified, and most importantly rise from the dead three days later. He also very specifically told his disciples, especially Peter that they would all leave him when this happened. He also told them how they would feel and act when he was crucified.
Jesus had power over the wind. Twice he restrained a strong wind blowing on Lake Galilee to his disciple’s astonishment asking, “Who is this that even commands and controls the wind?” Jesus had power over the wind.
Jesus had power over the day of his death. Jesus knew all the details of his death. He knew he was the Messiah from birth; especially at his baptism. The Old Testament revealed the entire life and death of the Messiah. Jesus knew all the details of his death including the year, day, and hour. Yet the disciples noticed that on his last trip to Jerusalem he was determined to go there. Even as he prayed on the Mount of Olives just before he was arrested he could have run away. He did not. Even when he was arrested the soldiers fell at his word, “I am he.” Jesus had power over the day of his death.
Since Jesus knew his future, had power over the wind and had power over his death he was no man. He was a very man and very God. Jesus was God in the flesh; Immanuel.
So what of the fourth truth? “As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.” A loose translation is, “There is no way to avoid the war (no furlough against death). Wickedness will not save wicked people from dying.”
Death tried to defeat Jesus. Yet Jesus rose from the dead. Death had no power over Jesus. “Where oh death is your victory? Where is your sting?” Why? Jesus was not wicked. Jesus had not sinned; not once.
Solomon begins to conclude his thoughts. Chapter 8 starts out once again addressing the subject of wisdom; this time its good value. Wisdom is stated as the cause of a change in a person’s countenance from sadness to a smile (1). Learn something new and understand something that puzzles and usually the immediate reaction is relief and a sense of accomplishment. However, wisdom is more than knowing facts; wisdom is understanding the cause and reaction to events as well as why something is the way it is. When a parent understands that their children’s nature is to use gas (guilt, attitude, silence) to manipulate them then they are happy for they have gained a tool.
Verse 2-5 gives the wisdom to obey the king because his word is final and unchallenged. The New Testament expands this to obey the law so that we will not always be looking over our shoulders.
Verses 6-8 expand on obeying an authority that can make life miserable to knowing procedures and timing and God who is the ultimate authority. Obeying human authority that is evil and corrupt in very difficult. When to speak up and when to shut up takes wisdom. The interaction between children and parents expounds upon this. A society that has broken families eventually fails.
The modern terms toxic relationship and codependence are similar to verse 26. Codependence in sociology is a theory that attempts to explain imbalanced relationships where one person enables another person’s self-destructive tendencies and/or undermines the other person’s relationship. Solomon called such a person, “a snare whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. (26)”
I recently learned of two young women who were lifelong friends. They came into relationships with two men and married. The one young woman used the weakness of her friend to lead her into an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Both of them were then subdued by a drug dealer who selfishly manipulates them. Looking into the drained sad eyes of these ladies I realized that the young woman who lead her lifelong friend into a destructive path ended up trapping herself.
Considering the two young ladies’ husbands who know of their wives’ activities, the drug dealer who manipulates the four, the proud mother of the drug dealer who reveals their life, and the city leaders and area wealthy (who I learned from a former law informant) profit from the drug sales; I have searched and sadly face the truth of verses 27 and 28, “one upright man in a thousand, not one upright woman among them.”
The saddest realization is, “God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes (29).” I met these five young people and an elderly mother who has such an amazing chance at being alive, living life to the full, and being a good influence waste away in their self-destructive schemes. They were made upright and chose to destroy themself and those they know. They can be made upright again through faith in Jesus.
What can I do to help these six people come to salvation of life, body, soul, and spirit through Jesus? Lord Jesus rescue these people I have personally met. Here are my five loaves and two fish. Feed them.
Even the person who masters a subject will admit to themselves (and perhaps another) that they are not the master of the subject. Rather the subject is their master.
The painter who with persistence seeks to perfect technique, dedicating every aspect of self to stroke and media, will look at the skill of another devoted aficionado, seeing something new and unknown that they must master. The ever pursuit of perfection turns them into a slave of inner demands.
The entrepreneur who with gall and effrontery seeks to dominate an industry, dedicating every aspect of self to dominance and control, will look at the prowess of another business and sees something demanding acquisition. Every pursuit of dominance turns them into a slave of inner demands.
The wise who is determined to excel in knowledge and understanding, dedicating every thought to wisdom, will find new information demands new perspective and intelligence. The ever pursuit of wisdom they will eventually admit is beyond them. If they do not admit, “Whatever wisdom may be, it is far off and most profound, who can discover it?” (23-24) they will be buried in a hole of despair.
Solomon the wise who descended into this valley miffed with waning strength, “I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things, and to understand the stupidity of wickedness, and the madness of folly… Meaningless, utterly meaningless.” (25)
Solomon sought to understand the human soul, what drives a person living under heaven discovered the truth that many who believe in life apart from God is chasing after the wind. He discovered that he was chasing after the wind. His life had been meaningless. He had discounted the truth of God and accepted a lie.
Who can rescue the human soul? Thanks be to Jesus and the power of salvation he rings.
“There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” (20) A fundamental truth that is repeated elsewhere in the Bible. Responses to this vary depending on the mood and situation we are in.
First, we completely deny the truth that we are not righteous. We believe we never do wrong or that there is no such thing as moral and ethical right and wrong.
Second, we justify ourselves by believing that our circumstances allow for a variance from moral and ethical perfection.
Third, we accept an error only briefly. Then brush it off and forget about it (or at least try).
Fourth, we acknowledge we did not do what is right, then compare ourselves to someone else or a fictional person saying, “At least I am not as bad as that person.”
Fifth, we know we are sinful and accept having little control over ourselves. Then we respond by dropping all inhibition and control. We purposefully and deceptively are evil.
Sixth, we accept, acknowledge, and confess to God and another that we have sinned and are not rightious. We are heartfully sorrowful for our actions and desire to sin no more. We ask God for forgiveness and the strength and courage to live a life that is right with Him and others.
The last one is freedom from the drudge of sin. The last is the beginning of living life to the full. The last is only possible because of Jesus the Christ.
The sum of these verses is, “The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.” Moderation was a common life practice of past generations. Solomon and I witnessed that some righteous and some wicked go to extremes to their ruin (15-17). He and I also witnessed that some wise people become so book-headed that they are useless and empty, just as some fools become so much so that they live in utter poverty or the insane institution.
How does fear of God help a person to live a balanced lifestyle? These verses guarantee that if I fear God I will not be legalistic religious and not evil; both of which destroy self. What is fear of God? Fearing God is similar to loving God. In fact, one cannot truly exist without the other. These two are part of a life of moderation; fear God and love God.
Fearing God is deeply understanding that he can control everything; God is in charge. Fearing God means I know he knows the motivation of my actions. (2 Cor. 5:11) God knows my inner thoughts and feelings. Fearing God has the knowledge and belief that he judges every action, feeling, and thought.
Thus, the person who fears God will avoid all extremes.
God’s work cannot be undone or changed (13). Consider God’s work carefully. Solomon was not fatalistic when he states, “Who can straighten what God has made crooked?” Rather, he wants me to consider what God has done.
Human nature considered God weak and unproductive in the world until something happens that we do not like. Then we are unhappy, upset, and even angry at God. When good things happen in our life perhaps some will thank him; a few may even worship him. Yet we usually do not acknowledge that God brings the good and the bad (14). God is sadly too often removed from our hearts and minds.
“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made he one as well as the other. (14)” Reverence and fear of the Lord can be born from this truth. Some don’t want to believe that God made bad times and others don’t want to accept that he is responsible for the good, not them.
I can write so much on this topic (and have). Yet, my heart says, “Wake up oh sleeping soul. Consider God. Consider your life. You do not know what will happen tomorrow or in one hour. Turn your heart over to Jesus. Eat him into your soul and you will be able to feast on his love and strength.”
Great and marvelous are your deeds,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the ages.
4Who will not fear you, O Lord,
and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Revelation 15:3–4)
“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” Simple enough verse that leaves many questions to consider.
Why do people ask open-ended questions? No one expects this question to be answered. Even when they receive an exact answer it is not what they want to hear. In fact, this open-ended question is not meant to be answered.
No one who asks, “Why were the old days better than these?” really wants this question answered. Rather, they are expressing two points; the old days were better and they are not happy with their life. The first point “the old days were better” does not really matter to them.
So then self-examination questions that need to be asked and answered are:
Were the old days really better? What do you miss about the past? Why are you unhappy? What changes can and should you do? Why remain a stick in the mud? Is the problem really external or is it in you?
Solomon says that it is not wise to ask, “Why were the old days better than these?” because living in the past is unhealthy and unwise. “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) Make a decision right now to change your attitude and perspective.
The Teacher of Ecclesiastes has repeatedly stated, “Everyone can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work (toilsome labor) under the sun during the few days of life God has given him. This is from the hand of God, a gift. Then joy will accompany him in his work. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (2:24, 3:12-13, 5:18-20, 8:15, 9:7, 12:13-14).
The approach to life under heaven, in the Teacher’s view, is to find satisfaction in work. Yet he also states that work is toilsome. Toilsome labor can bring frustration, disgruntlement, anger, and even hate. So how to have satisfaction in toilsome labor?
The first direction to enabling the best that life can be made into is to have endurance (8). “The end of a matter is better than its beginning…” When either I set my will to do something or when something is thrust on me I need to keep the goal and prize at the end of the task in mind. Surely life under the sun since Adam and Eve were forced out of the garden setbacks and disappointments will come. The greater the task, the more toil is needed. By keeping my eye on the goal I will be able to continue and in even start the task over.
The second direction is related to the first. I need to be patient (8). When setting a goal and keeping my will set on the goal impatience creeps into my heart. I want the goal now. So I am tempted to take shortcuts and accept mediocre results as the labor continues. This brings setbacks and diminishes to gift of satisfaction of a work well done when the job is finished. “By standing firm, you will gain life.” (Luke 21:11)
The third direction to the approach to a task and a job is to be slow to anger (9). “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit to anger…” Often, if not always when in the middle of the strive to reach a goal there will be people and events that will cause even the calmest to be provoked into anger. The ability to control anger is gained and matured through continual execution of it. One of the unrecognized gifts of toilsome labor is that it presents times to improve the resistance to be quickly moved to an angry reaction.
When Jesus was teaching in the temple he saw the evil conducting of business in the temple courts that interfered with praying and his teaching. At that time he was not quick to anger. He surveyed the religious crime and left the temple in the evening. He prayed and returned the next day. This is when he upset the exchange tables and chasted out the business activities in the temple. (Mark 10:11-20)
So then, three important tools for gaining satisfaction in work are to have patience and endurance, to be patient, and to not be quickly provoked in my spirit to anger.
Knowing and accepting that the life I now live under the sun is just the beginning. Knowing and accepting now that the choices I make now will affect how I live the next stage of life under eternity. Knowing these makes verses like these completely understandable and wise.
Why makes my face sad (3)? Why does my heart get down? Sometimes I do not know the reason. Sometimes it is a dream I had just before I awoke and got out of bed. Always sadness is my response to events I didn’t want nor like to happen. Sadness should always be followed with reflection on the reason for the state I am in and strengthening my will to focus on better things happening right now. Sadness can and should have me focus on Christ. “You will have trouble in this world. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Happy times generally teach me less than hard times (4). Knowing this makes me appreciate the hard times better. A day will come when I will thank God for allowing me time to mourn. In this life, I thank God for the times of pleasure often and the times of mourning practically never. In the next life, I will thank him for the times of mourning that I experience now because they will have lead to a good life in the next. Mourning is a part of the road of salvation.
Today the response to a rebuke is personally attacking the wise rebuker. Yet, a wise man’s rebuke will lead to a closer walk with God (5). David’s response to the prophet’s rebuke was a much better response than Saul’s response to the prophet’s rebuke.
Thorns burning make a lot of sounds but produce no heat (6). Thus thorns are not a fuel to use to cook dinner. The laughter of fools is usually generated by alcohol, sarcasm, and sadistic jokes. Such laughter does not help the soul. Being happy is subject to the environment. Joy is subject to the presence of God’s Spirit. The gift of God is love, joy, and peace. These are good for the soul.
A good name is better than a fine perfume (1). A good name is when people speak well about you when you are not around to hear them. Two ways exist for a person to have a good name. One is to advertise causing others to speak about someone they really don’t know. The second is to do kind acts for others, treating them with love and respect. The selfless person is the fragrant aroma of a flower garden in the barnyard of many people’s lives.
The day of death is better than the day of birth. The Christian has ample reasons to say this (2 Cor. 5:1-10; Phil. 1:21-23). However, the Teacher’s point is valid, as expounded upon in verses 2 thru 6.
“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting. (2)” The house of mourning is the funeral home. The house of feasting is most likely a wedding banquet. His point here is that the hard times teach us more than happy times. This is not to say we cannot learn during happy times. Just that we are not likely to choose to seek the growing potential in the house of feasting. Show me a couple who remained lovingly loyal to each other when they went through hard times and I will see a deeply mature relationship.
Lastly, “Death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. (2)” I have seen a building go up that the owners did not plan well. When it can time to move in and use it it was deemed unfit for occupation and torn down. Life under the sun is the time to consider death and prepare. First, make wise health, emotional, social, and economic choices when young and maintain them. Most importantly make a sound religious choice. Chose God so that it will go well with you when you stand before Him at the judgment seat.
These three verses consider God and humans. God has already named everything that has ever and will ever exist (10). God knows everything about every one of us (10). He knows who we are and why we do what we do; past, present, and future. Nothing takes God by surprise.
Humans individually and collectively are not stronger than God (10). No one can resist God. Yet God does not force himself on anyone. He lets us choose him or reject him. He lets us choose a life of his love or a life of hard frustration and meaningless; a chasing after the wind. The former has great rewards. The latter means death.
Us humans speak so much to God and about God. The more words, the less the meaning (11). Some people chatter on and on. Jesus said, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for our Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8) Many words do not prophet mortals (11).
A famous writer once said in his latter years, “I spent most of my life making plans that never happened.” A musician said something similar, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I do not know my future (12). God does. God seldom tells a person the events of the day as they awake. Better yet he gives me sound advice. “Love me and love my neighbor.”
The way we interact with others is important. Every society, social group, and personal socializing has rules of conduct. The boundaries are sometimes good and other times evil. These boundaries are known yet often overstepped for a variety of reasons; some reasons are good, other reasons are evil. Most human societies place a higher value on the wise and wealthy. Though many foolish and poor people know how to conduct themselves before others they are usually overlooked and thus gain little if nothing in social settings (8,9). Solomon considered the complicity of these debatable and elusive rewards in life.
Often our fallen human nature deals with debatable and elusive rewards in human society with uncontrollable impulses and addictions. One such addiction is eating disorders (10). Many respond to social interactions by refusing to eat and by eating either too much or unhealthy foods. This has a devastating effect on the body that only exasperates the disorder. Solomon concludes, “This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Recognizing the trap of an eating disorder and the love, justice, and power of God can an eating disorder be overcome.
God gives people gifts so that we can thank him and enjoy them. If all a person does is work hard labor to obtain more and thus does not enjoy the gifts of God and thank him, then it would be better if that person had not been born. Even if rich people live many years without experiencing anything good, don’t they die worse than a stillborn who at least was in peace? This is the sum of verses 3 thru 6.
Yet what are gifts of God? Do we just work to eat? Everything we work hard for goes into our mouths and yet we are not satisfied (7). There are many short-lived rewards of life such as this. Satisfying the seven senses is ever-increasing labor when it is a person’s sole goal. For the senses can never satisfy the soul with a dead spirit. The brain demands the senses to seek for more as it searches to awaken the dead spirit that its senses, yet does not comprehend. Short-lived rewards are not our chief end, though they are meant to be gifts.
“The gift (fruit) of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–25).
What is it you want and desire? Why do you want and desire that? Search to the core. The fundamentals of all desires and wants are love, joy, peace, satisfaction, happiness, and contentment. So then, will that want and desire provide these fundamental core human needs?
Solomon has been considering wealth as a means to obtain the fundamental core human needs throughout the book of Ecclesiastes. A known truth is that the more wealth a person has the more access to the things of this world they have. Solomon had more wealth than any of his neighbors, peers, and generations before and after. Yet in the latter years of his life, he was left with hard questions to answer as he search the core of his soul. The wisest man of his time can to some shocking realizations.
One realization is classified as evil (1) for it is a heavy weight on many souls. God gives many wealth, possessions, and honor. Yet, God does not let these have the power for people who obtained them to enjoy them. God does not allow nor give many people the power to enjoy the wealth, possessions, and honor he gives them. Instead, someone else enjoys the wealth, possession, and honor they were given (2). Solomon declares the conclusion, “This is pointless and a painful tragedy.” It is a grievous evil.
Consider carefully what you want and desire. Will it satisfy core fundamental human needs? The ability to enjoy God’s worldly blessings is a bonus, a gift of God, not a right or guarantee. God calls the person with wealth and possessions a fool if they haven’t found the truth of how to be rich toward God.
Jesus said that God says too many, “‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21)
The theme of this book is repeated here a second time. Yet in each place, it is stated in a slightly different way (2:24-25; 3:12-13, 22; 5:18-20; 8:15; 9:7). Each person has a choice; accept that God exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Life without God is meaningless toil to build wealth because we believe that will bring peace, satisfaction, and happiness. Yet no matter how much we obtain we die to find it was all chasing after the wind, meaning it is never obtained (16). The person who chooses to deny God eats (spends life) in darkness with great frustration, affliction, and anger (17).
Life with God is good and proper. We eat and drink, and find satisfaction in our toilsome labor (18). We know that when God gives wealth and possessions and enables us to enjoy them it is his gift (19). Such people won’t give much thought to their brief lives because God keeps them occupied with the joy in their hearts (20).
Yes, it is possible to go through life with toilsome labor and yet have joy. “How much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” (Roman 5:17) Through Jesus, the gift of God is more than the wealth of physical possession. The gifts of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, forbearance, goodness, and self-control.
Wealth; most want it, most believe they don’t have enough, most toil endlessly to obtain it, many fear losing it, and some hoard it to the harm of its owner (13). Scroodge comes to mind when thinking of this kind of person. Yet, what about my actions? How much and to what extent does obtaining wealth affect my feelings, thoughts, and actions?
Jesus taught, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
Jesus also said, “What good is it if a man gain’s the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” God is not impressed with my wealth and my possessions so much so that when I die I won’t take any of them with me (16).
I am examining my room and the place where I live to see what I have chosen to own. I have consumed more than I know. Some of what I own has a purpose; a chair, a stove, a bed, and a shower. Yet much that is hanging and laying around is for ambiance; a picture, a statue, a hanging ceiling, and plants. Much of what is laying and hanging around is merely to look at (11).
It does not matter how much I have, when I move I realize that I have much more than what I had realized (11). Two years ago I accepted that much that I owned I hadn’t looked at for a while. I have moved several times only to find I was lugging around things I really didn’t need and no longer wanted. So I either gave them away, threw them away, or sold them at ridiculously low prices. As my goods increased and became financially acquirable, so I consumed them only later to throw them away.
What is better? Buy many flower beds or work the ground, plant seeds and plants, to nurture them and admire the results of the labor? Which makes a person content and happy when they sleep? The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep (12). A rich man worries about not having enough and losing what they have.
Human society under the sun is made and maintained by flawed humans. The people who govern society obtain money and wealth from those they are meant to govern. The more layers of hierarchy the more finances are required and often demanded (8,9).
When the poor are oppressed, and justice and rights are denied we should not be surprised because this has been going on in every human society to one degree or another for thousands of years (8). The government style and how people come to power do not suddenly change selfish human nature.
We believe that wealth will bring total peace, deep satisfaction, and contentment. When these do not come we do not suddenly realize that our belief in the healing powers of wealth is flawed. Rather we believe we have not achieved the goal of total peace, deep satisfaction, and contentment because we do not have enough wealth. Whoever loves money, therefore, never has money enough. Whoever loves wealth, therefore, is never satisfied with his income. They keep seeking more because “just a little bit more” surely will bring total peace, deep satisfaction, and contentment.
Many have unconditional love for wealth. Even though it never satisfies they want more of it.
The concept of making a vow and promise often means little when living a life under the sun. We say, “I promise…”, “By God, I am going to…”, and “I vow that I will…” to assure and strengthen our resolve and will. And we say vows and promises to assure and comfort someone. And sometimes we say the as a sware. Yet, most of the time we have so little control of ourselves and the world that we really don’t know if we can keep promises and vows.
The Bible does not forbid vows and promises. In fact, it has a lot to say about them (Num. 9:6, Deut. 23:21-23, Eccl. 5:4-7, Matt. 5:33-37). A fool in God’s eyes is not someone who is not educated, cannot learn, or not intelligent. God says a fool is a person who does not learn, refuses to acknowledge the truth, has no moral or ethical integrity, and who makes a vow and does not or will not make every effort to keep the vow (4).
God says, “It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.” (5) One of the often overlooked parts of the human soul is our will. Personal will is a desire and motivation within emotions and mind that I am going to do something. My will can lead to simple-to-achieve acts such as getting out of bed, eating, and walking. My will can lead to hard-to-achieve acts like winning an Olympic gold medal, creating something new and amazing, and raising accomplished and successful children.
A vow is verbalizing or writing our will. Words spoken have power over me and will lead to consequences. God warns, “Do not let your mouth lead you into sin.” (6) If my will is totally set on accomplishing something, and I make a vow I lock it in my soul and forever sets consequences. Words spoken and written are eternally accountable. Never take them lightly.
What happens when I make a vow and for whatever reason, I did not keep it? I cannot make excuses as Saul did to Samuel the prophet and messenger of the temple (6). For when Saul did not keep his vow to Samuel he had an excuse and not a confession of sin. His life work was destroyed and the kingdom of Israel was taken from him and his descendants forever.
“Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of and fear God.”
Superficial religion is a substitute for fear and love of God for the self-justified while living under the sun. This is the theme in the first 7 verses of chapter 5. I need to guard and watch my actions before God (1). I need to think about what I do and say and examine my heart.
A foolish person puts on a shell of religion. Their heart and mind are not in it. They do not know what they are doing. They do not know that shell religion is evil in the eyes of God. They do not listen nor obey God (1).
The tongue can be more powerful than a ship’s rutter. The tongue can be more destructive than a termite behind walls. I should not be in a hurry to speak before God (2). When I pray my words are to be precise and to the point. Jesus said, “Let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no. I need to listen to God more than speak to him. Prayerful and grateful meditation is wise.
Dreams are mysterious and descriptive. A starving person will dream of a banquet. A thirsty person will dream of swimming in pools. A person of worry dreams often and their dreams are of endlessly trying to solve something they have little or no control over and also of bliss. Similar is the speech of a fool with many words. Rash words are spoken by fools (3).
Here is a story of a young lad who was wise but poor (13). His beginning is a bit of a mystery. Some believe he was in prison. Others believe he was born in poverty. Still, others believed both (14). The wise young man’s beginning was not important to his few followers. Yet this wise young lad was shunned because of his poverty. His wealth of knowledge was untapped by the masses.
The king reigning in the young man’s kingdom was old, foolish, and either no longer cared to take counsel and warnings, or he became too complacent and lacked concern for those in his kingdom to heed to advice (14). No matter what those who were living under his rule suffered and they knew it was the king to blame.
The king has a son, also a young lad. He was like his father, his grandfather, and the long line of his ancestors who reigned before him. The horde of people in the kingdom lived without fear or love of God. They lived under the sun like their aged king. They followed the king’s son who would be his successor (15,16). The lad’s generation will not rejoice in the successor’s rule.
The moral of the story of the wise young lad is that a kingdom whose people live without God is chasing after the wind. They live in prejudice and same old, same old. They do not follow God. They do not seek his will and counsel. They live meaningless lives in misery and toil.
Solomon, who was old and turned to foreign idols when he wrote this must have seen that his son who would be king, Rehoboam was a fool who would not follow wise advice. He was following the Godless lifestyle of his aged father. Instead, of seeking the Lord, Rehoboam tried to rule the Israelites cruelly and in the process destroyed Israel. From his own life and rule, Solomon saw that living under the sun was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Outside of Christ, the loaner has a meaningless and difficult life (7,8). He toils to build wealth, forgoing enjoyment, and has forsaken a legacy to pass it onto. He does not make the effort to find friends nor take the risk to find a companion of the opposite sex to love and be loved.
Even a believer if alone has no one to support and heal them (9-12). Some chose to be monks in a community. This is not them. These verses are talking about the individual that chooses to remain alone. They forgo to the gift of having a friend to help them up when down (10) or work together with someone to make a better life (11).
Jesus brought this one step further by making it a command. He said, “
I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:9) Wealth here is not just money. The great commission includes friendship-making (Matthew 28:19).
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” is an old saying. Invention is the twin sibling of achievement. Verse 4 reveals the father of necessity and achievement. “All labor and all achievement spring from envy (jealousy) of his neighbor.” Covet is a half-sibling of envy.
What then are jealousy and envy? Jealousy is an emotion and mood; apparently, a powerful one to result is so much chasing after the wind.
Two main definitions of jealousy are “resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself,” and “mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims.”
The conscience battlefield finds want and needs standing off against each other. Do I want that? Or do I need that? Do I envy my neighbor or rival? Or do I celebrate success with a friend and colleague?
A mantra of advertising is, “Create a need so that desire gives birth to profit.” Another mantra is, “Awake envy so that a fashion statement gives birth to more profit.”
So a need requires money and envy requires even more money. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind (4). Doing nothing is the failure of many fools (5). And toiling hard just to impress a rival is just as destructive and meaningless (6). In the end both never satisfy, bring peace and contentment, and both are just as destructive.
Jesus declared, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30).
Life under the sun is full of hard toil that really does not amount to much in the end. Meaningless is the conclusion of life under heaven; life between birth and death for the person who does not love nor fear God.
Life under the sun also includes oppression, lots of oppression (1). Some ask, “Why does God allow suffering and oppression?”
“Humans,” begins an answer, “are more inclined to oppress their neighbor than comfort them. Why do we inflict oppression? And why do we allow suffering and oppression? Why does a crowd watch a bully oppress another rather than help the oppressed?”
Everyone is subject to oppression. Everyone oppresses another sometime in their life. We excuse ourselves by saying we were justified. Yet, the truth remains.
Death often is more appealing than life under the sun (2). The unborn who have not seen the evil is better than life under the sun (3).
Better than these is to accept Jesus into the heart. He promises hope, peace, and love while living under the sun.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35–39).
God has an eternal plan with a holy destination that we do not know about other than what is told us in the Scriptures (given by the Spirit) and told to us by the one who came from the destination, the Son of God. Yet that picture is like looking from a foggy seashore to find a boat on the horizon and its destination beyond. Even when the fog thins, the ship may be found, but the image of the destination is curved below the horizon. The destination remains hidden. The eternal plan remains a mystery.
Mankind individually perceives eternity and infinite existence. And we know that absolute holiness and perfect love exists. We experience these and yet we cannot grasp their meaning or their entirety. We cannot grasp them and yet we contemplate their existence. We react similarly to the perception of God’s existence. God has placed in the core of our being the awareness that He exists. Yet because we cannot grasp the entirety of his being we question his existence. God’s nature remains a mystery.
Mankind’s inadequacy to comprehend eternity, the infinite, absolute holiness, perfect love, and God’s character was not always a part of our being. Nor does our inadequacy need to remain. To regain the ability to know (dwell in wholeness) of the mystery of God is possible. We cannot only see the destination, but we can exist in it. Until then we need to step from the foggy shore onto the boat headed to the horizon and beyond the final destiny.
Till the destination is reached God tests us (18). The tests are refinements of the soul (mind, heart, and will). The initial state of mankind when born is incapable of reaching the destination beyond the horizon. Refinements via test are needed. The result of one type of test is designed to help us accept that we are like animals. The end result of the unprepared and unchanged soul is death (19). Like animals, we come from dust, and dust our body returns (20). The reality of our mortality must be established and accepted. Fear of death and that it is orchestrated by God is the beginning of wisdom.
Then the forever-nagging reality of eternity, the infinite, absolute holiness, perfect love, and God’s character leads us to the question, “Who can bring me to see what will happen after I die?” (21) “Can I experience even a little bit of the destination now?” I am here to say, “Yes. God has made a way for us to experience him for he is the all-encompassing destination that awaits.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” (John 14:9–11).
Jesus continued, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:16–20)
Solomon was the king of Israel. He had complete authority. Israel had a court system. He was the supreme court of Israel. When he looked at the justices under him he saw wickedness. Where there should have been fair and righteous judgment and justice there was only wickedness (16).
Solomon must have been sad and outraged at the injustice of his time. His council was that God will bring judgment on all the injustice and wickedness (17). Yet he knew that not only the wicked would be judged. The righteous will also have their time before God’s judgment (18). God will listen to the account of every deed.
Social injustice is a common outcry to this day. Every generation experiences injustice. This is nothing new under the sun.
I can sit here and think of an injustice court system. However, when I do that I become a judge. In fact, when I honestly think about it I judge others often. The New Testament points out, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” (Romans 2:1–3). And it also says, “So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? (Romans 2:3).
Rather than point fingers at others, I need to point one at myself. Jesus taught, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:4, Luke 6:42)
1:9 "What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun."
3:15 "Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account."
God is in charge. There is so much we cannot control. I cannot stop the sun from rising and setting in the sky. I cannot stop the moon and stars in their course in the sky. I cannot stop the four seasons coming and going in their cycle. Verses 1 thru 8 speak of the cycles of activity under heaven. They come and go and I cannot stop them. Generation after generation experiences them all.
Something else I cannot resist, stop, nor avoid. God will call the decisions I make into account (15). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
Some believe that those who have put their faith in Christ will not stand before Jesus. If that were so then why did Jesus tell his disciples, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words before men, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:28, Luke 9:26) This can only apply to someone who had already put their faith in Jesus.
I need to be prepared every morning. I do not know what trials I may be subject to today. I need to review my thoughts, emotions, and actions. I will need to confess my errors and work on the soul imperfections that God was working on during the day. I would be devastated if Jesus was ashamed of me at the Bema seat. I cannot be self-confident. I need to be Spirit confident.
Living under the sun (existing in the belief God does not exist or is absent) is so meaningless that it is absurdly and irritatingly frustrating. The atheists’ and agnostics’ illusions cannot avoid a nagging deploy that God has placed in our hearts (10). God has set eternity in our hearts, and yet we are unable to fathom what God has done from beginning to end (11). We cannot discover it. We cannot understand it. We cannot grasp it. We know there is a reason, but the human mind is incapable of processing all the information. We cannot come to a reasonable and true answer. How frustrating this is!
We ask, “Why? What is the meaning of life? What do I gain from all this toil? (9)” Being godless and still having eternity set in the heart leaves a person neither satisfied with what they are nor with their answers that try to understand God’s purpose in all this. The material rationalist cannot rationally answer the questions of life. This is a great source of frustration!
The person that capitulates to the lovingly unrelenting God discovers the solution, and in that finds peace. The frustration goes away, vanishing like steam in the air and rain soaking in the earth. The believer in Jesus learns that “there is nothing better than to rejoice and be happy and do good while they live. They learn God’s gift is also that we find satisfaction and joy in all the good that comes from our toil. We accept God’s gifts. (12,13)” The answers to life’s whys are no longer relevant to those who love and fear God.
C.S. Lewis in all his education and wisdom eventually capitulated after a long frustrating search for the why’s. He listened to and slowly accepted the words of his friends J. R. R. Tolkien, Nevill Coghill, Lord David Cecil, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, and his brother Warren Lewis. He began calling himself “The Most Reluctant Convert”. I suggest watching the recent movie “C.S. Lewis, the Most Reluctant Convert.”
Everybody’s life is an enigma existence. A moment’s choice for me now is later a contradiction of ethics, morality, and reason by a new choice made under the same situation. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (1). My reason for doing something now will be the reason I do the opposite tomorrow.
Though time is mentioned 15 times in these verses it is not the subject. Time is the device I use to explain, reason, and justify conflicting decisions and actions. Everyone is capable of every righteous and evil act ever implemented by those before in the time we have been allotted to live “under heaven”.
The person who lives “under heaven”, that is apart from God and his ways makes their own moral anchors. They give themselves ethical guidelines to help themselves in decision-making.
One person’s ethical mantra will be to acquire wealth while another’s will be to do everything for family and/or children. The first person will plant only if the profit justifies the risk, whereas the second will plant if the family and children are hungry (1).
One person’s ethical mantra will be to stay sober while another’s will be to receive the acclaim and adoration of everyone. The first person may kill if someone continually manipulates them back into their addiction, whereas the second will kill if somone is about to reveal a dark secret that will bring disgrace and public shame (3).
The principle here can be applied to all fourteen conflicting life events listed in these verses.
Here then are two enigmas of human existence; a decision and action complimented today will need to be self-justified when repeated later, and moral rules made “under heaven” will find a reason to do anything given the right circumstances.
Quoting Elijah, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21) And quoting Joshua, “Choses for yourself who you will serve this day… As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) Make your own life rules or follow the Holy Spirit.
Every early morning before I get out of bed I set my will to the same decision and then say a short routine prayer. I have never been a morning person so that is a small miracle; the will to set a morning habit and the will to keep it. Then I write BDBD and meditate before I begin work. That too is a miracle for my morning body moves much more quickly than my morning brain.
Every evening when I get into bed I try to examine the day to find satisfaction in whatever I accomplished, set a few simple plans for tomorrow, and pray. The start and finish of the day in this way probably seems foolish to the person who does not love or fear God. Yet I have found that a person can do no better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This is from the hand of God for without him who can eat and find enjoyment (24,25)?
Solomon, as a lad started out life seeking God and his will. He finished the temple, married and started having children, became financially successful, and built a palace for himself and one for his wife. Then in mid-life, he decided to investigate the essence of life without fear and love of God. He indulged himself in everything mankind believes brings ultimate pleasure, continual fulfillment, and ever-increasing happiness. After years of living this way, he hated life because the work that is done “under the sun” was grievous to him (17). He hated all the things he had toiled for “under the sun” (18). His heart began to despair over all his toilsome labor “under the sun” (20).
I have been to many places and countries in the world. Some are well off and some are the poorest in the world. Most would say that I live in the most prosperous country in the world. Though that is true for some, for others it makes no impact on their existence. Whether well off or in need all seek to find how to escape troubles and live contented and happy. The worldly way takes hard work and sacrifices.
“What does a person get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor “under the sun” (22)? “All their days their work is pain and grief; even at night, their mind does not rest. This is meaningless (23).” For when “enough” is achieved death soon comes and all that was obtained to bring peace goes to another. “This too is meaningless and a great misfortune (21).”
A simple routine rooted in Christ is good. Jesus said at the last supper, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
“The wise have eyes in his head while the fool walks in the darkness.” (14) Honest routine self-examination with prayer guided by the Holy Spirit is eyes in the head. Several forms of Spirit-guided meditation exist. The ancient Christian meditation adopted and transformed by Ignatian is popular. The five steps are:
Review the day with gratitude. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead your thoughts.
Become aware of God’s presence as you look back on the events of the day.
Pay attention to your emotions and thoughts during events.
What was your motivation during the event? You may be shown and remember some ways that you fell short.
Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
Look toward tomorrow and thank God.
Whether wise with eyes in the head to lighten the soul or fool in the dark both have the same fate; death (15). Contemplate the common denominator, “Like the fool, the wise man too must die!” The person who lives under the sun, without acknowledgment of God either cares not to contemplate the unavoidable destiny or lies when they say, “I do not fear death.”
Iam conducting a self-imposed psychological examination so that I may personally understand the author’s conclusion. What if I had endless wealth, unchallenged power, vast knowledge, clever wisdom, perfect health, unquestioned admiration, and was exceedingly attractive? What would I do if I had all this and was accountable only to myself; no heaven above, only sky, and no hell below? I would seek anything that would bring me pleasure (1). I would seek that which was worthwhile to do during the few days I had to live (3).
My not so hard to imagine realm would have a most glorious place to dwell in (4). Pleasant surroundings offer a touch of goodness and pleasure. Gardens and parks with flowering fruit trees and lawns carpeted with flowers and shrubs along waterfalls and lakes in vastly varying terranes occupied by all forms of animals and insects (5,6). My dwelling would include a mansion with glorious decore, pools, recreation rooms, and views of mountains, seashores, lush valleys, and exotic plants out of every large window.
My domain would include performing arts; music, dance, and acting (8). I would create, perform, and listen to sounds and melodies to please the ear and excite emotion.
I would own and command male and female slaves who would maintain, design, build and perform (7,8). I would have a harem of beautiful and alluring women to provide and share the delights of the heart and body (8).
I would deny myself nothing my eyes desired (10). I would refuse my heart no pleasure. I would live without restraint; my mind still guiding me with wisdom (3). I would undertake work that gave a full reward, pride, and satisfaction from well done (10).
Solomon lived the life I have only imagined. So have a few others. What is their life end conclusion? Everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind, nothing was gained from a life without heaven above and no hell below; a world where God is kept out of (11). “Laughter is foolish. and what does pleasure accomplish (2)?”
Knowledge is knowing facts. The human brain learns new facts in one of four ways; visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic. A person may learn how to repair a car by watching someone else repairing a car. Another person can learn by listening to a teacher explain the law of physics. Others read about finance and write out their thoughts. Still, others learn by practicing how to play the guitar and piano. All can learn in any of these ways but we all are more prone to retain what we learn in one way more than the other three.
Wisdom is understanding how things relate to each other and practically applying the knowledge. The wise person who learned how to repair cars by watching someone will eventually make modifications and new automobile designs. The wise person who learned physics through a mentor will eventually come up with new innovations in science and technology. The wise financer will understand the market and apply their knowledge to make wise investments. The wise person who learned how to play a musical instrument will eventually write popular and long-lasting melodies.
Solomon considered knowledge, wisdom, madness, and folly (17). He concluded that they are chasing after the wind. Chasing after the wind means no matter how much we apply ourselves we will never be able to capture and retain that which we seek, need, and desire. Knowing everything there is to know, discovering all there is in the universe, and applying it in incredible ways will not end up in a higher plane of existence. They will not reach bliss, peace, contentment, and wholeness.
The wise and learned people who do not acknowledge, love, and fear God come to an ever-evident truth; God does exist, created, and is very active in that which he created. The learned and wise atheist and agnostic have sorrow and grief (18). The evidence of God is made evident to them yet they still refuse to acknowledge his existence.
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for (idols).” (Romans 1:18-23)
What is left for a person who decides, “There is no God,” or “If God exists he, she, or it doesn’t or cannot care about me?” That person needs to find a way to improve their existence and keep things and people from taking away from that which they obtained. A godless life seeks contentment, peace, happiness, and meaning from that which they can be obtained.
People have been seeking a way to exist contently without fear or love of God for longer than history records. Mankind has developed means for godless living to the point that whatever a person may try someone already tried it (9,10). We may not be able to research their unique attempt at godless living, yet we can be sure any way to live godlessly has already been tried. They lived godlessly and died. They and their attempt at godless living were forgotten (11).
God gave Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes more wisdom than anyone before or since him (12,13). He examined and applied life pursuits of those who neither love nor fear God. His conclusion is, “What a heavy burden God has laid on men!”
Is laying a heavy burden on mankind righteous? Why would a loving God make the pursuit of contentment, peace, security, and joy without him a heavy burden?
Does love compel a person to remain idle as another pursues that which is obtainable through means that will not obtain it and only keep oneself from it? If you had all the wisdom, power, and means to make it easy for someone to obtain contentment, peace, security, and joy wouldn’t you find a way to present it to them? Then if they reject it and seek to find it themselves in ways that will not provide it wouldn’t you make it a heavy burden for them to seek such foolishness?
Life pursuits that reject God have no meaning or purpose in the end for the ultimate pursuit is never obtained. When it appears to have been obtained it is not kept for long. For that which can only be straightened by only one means will not be kept straightened without that one means (15). That which is not there cannot be counted. If it is always missing how can we know what it is and how much it weighs?
A relationship with God is the only means to the ultimate pursuit. If he is not there, then we can never figure a way to obtain what only he can bring. He is the only way to straighten life. Love and fear of God are the only means. All other pursuits are heavy burdens. If there is only one path to a city, then taking any other path is meaningless.
“Under the sun” means a life without a relationship with God, a life with a heart and mind set on this world, a life with selfish priorities, a life where love for God is kept at a distance and love for others is second to love of self. “Under the sun” is full of excuses for making wrong decisions. What is gained from all our labors from which we toil when living “under the sun”?Time is relentless. No one who has ever lived nor will live can control time. We cannot stop time, slow it down, reverse time, nor go back in time. Time has one destiny for all death. After death there is judgement for which time has no control or power.
The sun rises and set paying no attention to us. Who can stop the world from spinning? Time moves on payingno attention to us. The air moves here and there. Winds come. Winds go. Who can stop the atmosphere from spinning? Time moves on paying not attention to us. Water moves here and there. Rain and snow comes then goes. Who can stop the hydro cycle? Time moves on paying no attention to us.
All things are wearisome. If you disagree then why do you still age? We do not want to admit that life in general and specific makes us weary till we look in the mirror. “Where did that wrinkle come from? Why do marks appear? Weary, worry, anxiety, and concern. All things are wearisome more than we want to say.
More, more, more. I need more. That which I aquire and experience is not enough under the sun. I need more. What I gain is not enough under the sun. What is gained from all labors of roil under the sun? Not enough.
The book of Ecclesiastes is written to teach us about life in this world. The title “Ecclesiastes” is taken from the Greek word in the ancient Greek translation of the Bible called the Septuagint. Ecclesiastes in English is translated as teacher, preacher, and spokesman.
The author is the son of David and a king in Jerusalem in his later years of life. Most believe it is Solomon though the author’s name does not appear in the text. Solomon surely is the most likely person to have been able to make the claims found in the book.
A synopsis is stated at the beginning of the treatises.
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.”
35 times “meaningless” is repeated in the book. Life “under the sun” meaning “with ourselves as the center instead of God” is worthless, absurd, empty, futile, vanity, and pointless. A godless life is inconsequential and insignificant. Between physical birth and death, our existence is full of enigmas, the greatest of which is how we choose to live.
The author goes into detail in the rest of the book. He shows us the logical reason he came to this understanding. His desire is for those who are able will accept his conclusion, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (12:13-14)
IS his conclusion and advice correct? In the next few weeks, we will see.
The king and queen exchange final serenades as the curtains close and happily ever after awaits. The maiden had beckoned her lover to travel the garden that is she (7:11-12) from village to village. The quixotic couple traveled the countryside in a passion extravaganza. All felt their love and rejoiced as the pleasant couple paraded by. The king calls to them, “Let me hear your voice as you call to one another the testimony of our love; my queen and I.”
The queen forever invites her master and lover to come away with her, to forever be a gazelle, a young stag on her the spice-laden mountains.
A husband and wife are devoted to each other as partners, companions, lovers, and friends. They are inamorato and innamorata; duke and dutches; lover and beloved.
The maiden replied to their friend’s question about their adolescent sister. She presents herself as an example. She was a wall; quiet, reserved, and shy (10). She had low body pride. When she came of age the king noticed her beauty. Her breasts grew like tall towers (10). He viewed her as one who would bring great peace and contentment; one who would bring great delight (10).
King Solomon was a businessman. He owned a vineyard and hired men to take care of it (11). The king expected each tenant to produce a prophet of 1,000 shekels of silver. As the owner, he had the right to expect such a yield.
The maiden is the king’s wife. She is his possession as he is her possession. She has a vineyard. Her vineyard is her body (12). She is the tenant of her body. As a tenant, she keeps her body up in prime appearance for her owner. As the tenants of Baal Hamon give the thousand shekels, so the maiden gives the thousand from her vineyard to her master (12). Solomon gets the owner’s portion.
Each person is given the gift of a body by God. It is my responsibility to keep and give my body. Though some can bruise, abuse, harm, and enslave me against my will. The body is still mine to take care of and give. A bonding commitment to a person of the opposite sex before God includes the fact that I will keep my body the best that I am able a present to them the owner’s portion.
The friends of the newly married king and queen saw the love and romance experienced by the royal couple. They were happy for them. Then they thought about their young sister (8.) She was too young to marry. Unlike the maiden, her breasts were not yet grown. If she had children she could not nurse them.
The friends wanted their sister to be married to a handsome, capable, and mature man who loved and feared God such as the king. In their society marriage was often contracted at an early age (8.). They wanted to know what they should do to ensure she is ready.
The years of puberty always have the risk of maturing into improper and unwise decisions. Curiosity quickly leads to passion and often poor life decisions. The older brothers were determined to defend and keep the virtue of their younger sisters (9). They were also determined to do all they could to prepare her for the right young man.
“If she is a wall” meaning if she keeps her emotions in check and inside because she is shy, then they will adorn her with silver jewelry (9). “If she is a door” meaning she is outgoing and emotionally expressive and open, then they will protect her from any young man who takes personal advantage of her character.
2) Love’s intense devotion (jealousy) is as unyielding (overpowering) as the grave.
3) Love burns like a blazing fire. Love is the most invincible force in human existence.
The maiden asked her king Lover to place her like a seal over his heart (6). The reason for this is because she knew that love is the most invulnerable and indomitable emotion humans can have.
The love between a woman and a man when they are bonded by the Spirit of God cannot be broken. Though other emotions and selfishness interfere with the way we can express love, the emotion itself is the most intense force spiritually bonded spouses can ever experience in this life.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) “Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (John 4:21)
Love is a noun and a verb. Love is real and is expressed. Love cannot be contained in the heart. Love is always expressed in positive, righteousness, and good.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:4–8)
Love is perfect. (1 Corinthians 13:10). Love is holy for God, the source of love is holy, holy, holy. Love does not corrode, spoil, or fade.
The problem for fallen mankind and expressing love is that we are not holy until God makes us holy through Jesus. The first installment is change comes from faith in what he did on the cross and love for him. The final installment will be when he comes again.
The Beloved asks, “Place me like a seal over your heart.” The final and always to be repeated act.
The Lover and the Beloved slowly stroll in a desert made lush by the spring rains (5). The king is adorned with a finely woven sleek cloth. The maiden is adorned with a sheer long brightly colored dress. She is leaning against her man with her head resting on his shoulder. His left arm is wrapped around her back as his hand rests on her hip. Their friends spot the heartthrobs and happily ask, “Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover?”
The maiden was in a mental and emotional desert. Now she is experiencing new life.
The maiden answers with a pleasant confession in a soft voice to her lover. She addresses her lord reflecting on their sensual samba. “I aroused you under the apple tree (5).” She is elated that her king strongly responded to her. The place under the apple tree is known for copulation. They are starting a family there as his mother conceived him there. He has come to life.
Romantic love is a gift that naturally leads to sexual love. A man and a woman make a commitment before God that includes keeping the romance alive. A lasting pleasing relationship does not require money, riches, nor exotic vacations spots. Romantic love is loving self-sacrifice and submission.
The maiden eagerly offers to give herself to her Lover, the king (2). She brings him to her house, her mother’s house. Her mother has taught her how to respect others. Her mother taught her to respect her husband. The Egyptian barrenness watched as her mother served her house and her husband. She learned how to please her king.
When the Beloved first saw the king Solomon and exchanged complimentary words with him she fantasized about him holding her in his arms (2:6). Now after now after sharing compliments, kisses, hugs, and delights she finds her fantasy has come true. “His left arm is under her head and his right arm embraces her.” (3) Her master is caressing her. His arm slides gently down her curvy figure. He drinks the nectar of her pomegranates (2).
The Beloved repeats “Do not arouse and awaken love until it so desires.” Love is a gift of God planted in the soul. Love is sleeping in everyone. We have the power to awaken love if we so desire.
Love is a gift we give; an act, a word, a part of us that is tender and powerful. Awakening love can be a risky and fearful action. Love needs the wisdom to conduct it, to form it into a beautiful endowment to another. Giving love does not guarantee it will be reciprocated in the way we desire. That is why love should not be awakened until it so desires.
Love is often a shower of rain and sun drops then enable a hard seed to be changed into a plant that blooms. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:12–14)
The princess relishes the time she spends with her king. Often she finds herself driven by an impulsive passion to kiss her Lover. When they are at the market, she desires to kiss him. When they are on the street, she desires to kiss him. When they are at a restaurant, she desires to kiss him (8).
However, unwritten rules for social conduct and prejudice press her to restraint (1). It is not as though no one kisses in public. Two family members, perhaps siblings may greet each other with a friendly kiss. She whispers to her master, “If only you were to me as a brother. Then, if I found you outside, I would kiss you, and no one would despise me.” (2) He chuckles.
Human impulses and passions often need to be held in check for various reasons, sometimes for good reasons and others not so good reasons. When confronted with social demands some chose to abide by them, and others reject them to the point of being disruptive.
Jesus confronted some religious and social unwritten rules for conduct and prejudice to the point of being disruptive. He overturned money changer tables in the temple. He healed on the Sabbath. He changed the procedure and meaning of Passover. He claimed he was the Messiah. He accepted and forgave the gentiles, tax collectors, and social outcasts.
Jesus peacefully overturned social injustices. Then Jesus taught the way to love God and others. His guidelines for proper loving were harmonious with justice and righteousness. Many happily accepted them. Others arrested and crucified him.
The maiden’s rhetoric considered, “If only there was a sociable way for me to express my love for you with a public passionate kiss like I was your little sister greeting you in the street with a kiss.” “If only…”
The Beloved invited her Lover to kiss him. He had compared her mouth to the best wine (9). She responds by stating the wine will go straight to her lover. They kiss. They embrace. Their bodies press together. The wine warms their heart and spins their mind. The couple’s body instinctively reacts to the gentle touch of lips. Unique awakes female and male bonding into one.
“I belong to my lover,” she wisps (10). Her breathing sporadic sighs. She cuddles a joyous thought, “His desire is for me.”
The maiden presents to the lover an elope to the country villages, spending all night together exploring every door (11). She will open them so they can explore new rooms together.
The duchess offers herself completely to her master. She desires them to go to the vineyards to see if the budding blossoms have opened (12). “I will give you my love.”
The virgin as a mandrake sends out her fragrance (13). She lays before her lord every delicacy. Every delight the beloved has for her lover from her garden, both already given and yet to be given is his. She has stored up for her lover. Come lover, come.
The king agrees that the maiden is his girl, saying she is the Shulammite (the feminine form of “Solomon”). He asks them what they hope to see when they look at her. Then he describes his duchess from her feet to her head.
His Beloved feet are beautiful (1). Her graceful curved long legs are crafted jewels shaped by a cunning artist’s hands. Her naval is the center of tight abs forming a goblet. A garland of lilies is the only adornment on her firm rolling waist.
The baroness’ breasts are as firm as fawns; tender, delicate,, and beautiful, promising full growth (3). The countess’ neck is a strong ivory tower; in eloquent strength and complexion. Her eyes are deep hidden oasis pools reflecting serenity, gentleness, and passion (4). Her nose is straight and stately.
The contessa’s head is her crown with hair a royal tapestry; shaped only as queen. The king is held captive by its tresses. Her hair is flowing locks (5).
The maiden’s breasts are like clusters of fruit; his delights. The king will climb her as a palm tree and take hold of her fruit (8). Her nipples are like the clusters of the vine he will take hold of.
Her mouth the best wine (9). He will drink and never have his fill of her. Her kisses are sweet and tangy. He indulges in his Shulammite. He will have his fill of her delights (6).
Waltzing thru a mature walnut grove is a delightful experience to digest. The trunks are thick, straight, and soaring; penetrating the expanded sky filled with pillow clouds. The treetops expand into verdant foliage. Nuts falling leaves a penetrating sting. Continued promenades through a flat terrain bring emotions of shaded peace.
The king leaves the maiden in the morning (10) to traverse the walnut grow to look at the blossoms in the valley (11). The tender young shoots present peddles for the king to inspect. The sweet fragrance of lilies, roses, lavender, and lilac tantalizes the senses. The king steps into thoughts of love, passion, and efficacy his maiden shared.
Curiosity pulls the king close to the vines he desires to be in bloom and flourishing (11). They strongly wrap around the rail pulling them close together. The vine’s flower opens presenting a soft pink bouquet. The king inhales sweet perfume.
Curiosity pulls the king close to the pomegranates he desires to be in bloom and flourishing (11). Their round sculpted form is supported by red flowers, presenting themselves to the king so he may sample their sweet juice. The king’s eyes widen as his mouth pulls in their pleasing form.
Time is lost in the king’s waltz through grooves and fields. He is lost in conscious comfort, peace, and joy. He was not aware that his heart set him in the chariot of his noble people. He was amongst the pleasure chariot Amminadab, “give freely”; Amminadab, ancestor of his father David (Ruth 6:23) and head of a family of Levites who carried the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem (1 Chron. 15:10-29). He has been made like the chariot of giving freely.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28) “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor. 5:10)
The friends of the king and maiden enjoy the warmth of a dancing fire thru the early morning hours into a transcendent cockcrow morning. The heavens transpose into a dynamic polychromatic sonnet. The pleasing couple has been experiencing God blending two into one all night.
“Who is this that appears like the dawn?” they inquire. The fair moon and bright sun share the vault of the heavens. The friends are the majestic stars in procession. Dawn’s canopy is the majesty’s sensual plunge.
The king and the queen appear like the dawn. She is the fair moon. He is the bright sun. The friends are the majestic stars in procession, meeting the couple appearing from night’s bed of lilies.
The king responds to his beautiful darling (4). He repeats his praise of her (from chapter 4). The monarch does not stop. He does not give up on her. He knows her. He understands her. She is as mysterious and magical as a caterpillar transcending into a butterfly; as splendid as the intense revealing of tender wings.
“Turn your eyes from me; they overwhelm me” (5). The intense spirit emanating from her light of life is as majestic as troops with banners (5). Her eyes are efflorescence of piercing life.
The master’s madonna in the prism of excellence; hair, teeth, temples, eyes. The pinnacle of femininity is contained in her body and soul. She is unique (9).
Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number; yet the Beloved is his perfect one (9). The maidens saw her and called her blessed. She is divinely and supremely favored. The queens and concubines praised her. They weep in joy and gratitude.
The Lover king and his Beloved maiden are together in intimacy delight. She is his garden of lilies (2). He has gone down to his garden. She is his garden of spices. He is experiencing the princess’s sensuous attractions.
The master is browsing in the gardens and gathering lilies. He is a graceful gazelle nibling from lily to lily in undisturbed enjoyment of exotic delicacies. She is drawn into another world of love, bliss, peace, and contentment.
The duchess Beloved is his (3). She willingly and happily submits to him. She opens her soul and body as he gathers her lilies.
The king Lover is hers (3). He willingly and happily commands and dominates her. He opens his soul and body as he gathers her lilies.
The Spirit binds them. They are dancing cord of three. They are not easily broken. Stretch and twist bind them tighter together. They are one. She is her lover’s and her lover is hers (3). They are one flesh.
“But for man no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:20–24)
The Beloved maiden finishes her praise of her Lover king with one final thought. His mouth is sweetness itself (16). Not only are his lips and teeth of perfect proportion and color; but his smile projects warmth, compassion, and deep maturity. From the king’s mouth flows wise loving truth. They are sweeter than choice fruit and more sustaining than meat and potatoes. She willfully sits at his feet and listens to him.
The countess willfully sits at his feet and listens to him. She grows faint when he speaks to her. Her heart warms. She surrenders to his articulate tongue.
The master is altogether lovely. From head to toes he is a delight. The enchanted lady’s confession is that her lord is her lover and her friend. No one knows her as he does. She gives her whole being; her heart and body to him.
“‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,’ Simon Peter answered Jesus.” (John 6:68)
“In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” (Rev. 1:16)” “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12). “These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.” (Rev. 2:12)
The Lover describes her Lover to the daughters of Jerusalem for they had asked, “How is your beloved better than others…” (9)
The King is radiant (dazzling; sunny-bright) and ruddy (rosy; flush) (10). When he is in a very large crowd, ten thousand or more he stands out as the best; distinguished, dominant, and excellent. His face is aglow with brilliance, warmth, and love.
The Monarch’s head is the purest gold (11). His head is holy and refined. The sovereign’s hair is wavy and black as a raven. The contrast between his radiant face and dark hair is like an x-ray film lit up from behind. Her heart’s eyes are drawing and fixated on his facial magnificent brilliance.
The Emperor’s eyes are a wonder. They are as peaceful and gentle as doves by water streams flowing from springs (12). They are pure white. His eyes are like jewels mounted. His pupils are like jewels mounted. His eyes are washed in milk.
The Potentate’s cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume (12). The fragrance tickles the nose and awakens the sinuses. His checks are a garden that produces scented herbs. The King’s lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh. His lips sweetly heal and soothe.
The Sovereign’s arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite (13). His arms are strong and incorruptible. They will never stain, fade, or tarnish. They are like a gem that radiates and reflects brilliant light. The King’s torso is like polished ivory. His chest and belly are pure smooth tan-white, a carved masterpiece of manhood decorated with sapphires.
The Lover’s legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold (15). His lower limbs are eternal brilliance carved from calcite crystals eternally locked together in dazzling puzzle pieces. They are alabaster monuments on incorruptible feet.
All together the King’s appearance is the highest majesty. He splendidly towers overall like Lebanon, choice as its cedars (15) capturing the gaze of all.
“On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:10–18)
Passages and books of the Bible often have at least 3 layers of meaning and application. The first is the surface meaning; that is the theme apparent. The second is personal and/or social practical and constructive corporeal application. The third is a spiritual meaning. The spiritual is the revelation of truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, God’s interactions with mankind, and spiritual truths about mankind.
The Song of Songs is a magnificent, ingenious, and artful construction of the three layers.
The first layer, the surface and theme apparent layer is a poetic masterpiece that presents a romantic and sexual matinee between a man and woman in love.
The secondlayer, the corporeal application is life lessons about the best ways a man and woman should interact together when they first meet, get to know one another, court, and become engaged.
The third layer, the spiritual has been stated to be either the relationship between Jesus and those who have fallen in love with him (his congregation, his church). Jesus often referred to himself as the bridegroom in parables and his second coming as a wedding ceremony.
Verse 9 first layer are two questions from the daughters of Jerusalem directed at the Beloved, the maiden. They ask how is her beloved better than others? Then they ask it a second time. The first time they clearly state that she is the most beautiful of women. The second time they ask for a reason why she is giving them commands, especially since she is a foreigner. The friends’ question provides an opportunity for the beloved to describe the beauty of her lover – which she does only here in the following verses.
The second layer, the corporeal application is how a woman should talk publically about the one they love (whether a boyfriend, a fiancee, or a husband) and why they are in a romantic relationship with him. They should be ready to give positive and supportive reasons why they are in a relationship with a man and how to describe their man for such questions will come.
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (1 Peter 3:15-16)
The maiden arose to open it so her lord could enter (5). Love’s eager imagination lavishly lotioned her body. Passion’s hand dripped with myrrh. Excitement’s fingers flowed with myrrh. Myrrh on the handles of the bolt on the lock.
The Beloved expecting excitement opened for her Lover. She had asked if she should put on her rob (3). He had not answered. She had not put on her rob. “I opened for my lover, but my lover had left.” He was gone.
The pounding heart of the princess sank at his departure (6). Darkness closed the room to loathsomeness. Her heart had gone out to him. She presented to her king too late. He had gone.
The duchess anxiously sought her king. She called for him and called for him. He did not answer. She looked for him and looked for him. She could not find him.
The Lover spoke to the daughters of Jerusalem, “I charge you if you find my lover, what will you tell him?” The maiden is ashamed. Her soul discretion is that she is faint with love. “Tell him I am lovesick.”
“All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away.” (Ps 38:9–11)
“My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:9)
The Beloved is laying in her bed alone. The Lover is laying in his bed alone. The passionate king and ardent maiden are alone in the middle of the night. She lays in bed unable to enter deep sleep for her heart is awake (2). Her heart listens between pulses. In the silence between throbbing the princess listens for her master.
Thump. Thump. Thump. “Listen! My lover is knocking.” (2) The lone beating of her heart is aroused and heated by her lord’s thumping. The king wants to come into her room. Her Lover is coming to her chamber.
The king commands his darling, “Open to me.” She hears him call her his darling, his dove, and his flawless one. “The Crowned Head is drenched with dew,” he explains. Her sovereign’s hair is damp with the moisture of the night. The king has been up all night with his soul fixated on his soul mate.
The Beloved is all aflutter and instinctive reactions persuade an unwanted impulse. A foolish complaint overrules her passionate lust and wantonness. “I am naked. Should I put on my robe?” (3)
The Lover thrust his hand into the latch-opening. (4) He has entered her chamber, but not as ambition craves. The king fingers the lock. The contessa’s heart pounds hard for him. She yearns for her gentleman to succeed in opening her door.
“An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” (Proverbs 24:26). The young maiden spoke to her lover. She was not silent as before (chapter 2). However, her protest was not sincere. She did not speak her mind. She was not respectful. For a man and woman united as one it is wise to “keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.” (Psalm 34:13)
The king and the maiden have had their great times, good times, hard times, breakups, and reunions. They have declared their love. They have practiced love. They have shown respect and submission. They have made their commitment to each other. They have proven their commitment. They maintain affection and kindness. They compliment and praise each other.
The king and the maiden have had an erotic passion since the beginning. They have intentionally kept the passion alive. They embrace their God-given sexuality. They keep it solely for their union. They ensure and display to each other that they desire and lust for their lover.
The Lover fanned into flame his Beloved’s desire with sincere compliments and praises (4:1-15). The Beloved spread abroad her alluring charisma till is surrounded and brought her Lover to a boil (4:16).
The king claimed she was his garden of feminine delights. He came into his garden, his sister, his bride (1). The Lover enjoys his Beloved’s delights. He gathered his myrrh. He enjoyed his honey. He sipped his wine. He drank his milk. She is his honey and milk.
“Haven’t you read,” Jesus replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthey 19:4–6; Mark 10:6-9)
The Beloved commands the north wind and the south wind to blow on her garden (16). She is a garden; full of exotic plants, urbs, spices, and fruit. Her body and soul are the essence of her garden.
Sweet and pleasing smells are the natural product of her garden. She desires that her aroma may emanate from her to her lover. She wants the fragrance of her charms to be wafted about to draw her Lover to her.
The maiden wants the king to taste her choice fruit. She is his and his alone. She yields herself to him. She fully submits to her lover.
When a woman wants her man she must let him know. Her submission is his excitement. When a man wants her woman he must go to her. His dominance is her excitement.
The Lover; the king and bridegroom continues his poetic assessment and praise of his Beloved; the madonna and bride. The Beloved has stolen his heart with one glance of her eyes (9). Merely one precious enchanting element of her elegance is enough for affection’s spark to ignite. The king’s being is transposed by the jewel of the princess’ eyes.
The Beloved searches for expressions that mark his possession of his Lover. She is HIS sister and HIS bride (10) She belongs to no other. Likewise, the young lady owns his heart (10). His heart belongs solely to her. A person’s heart is their soul; their identity. He owns her alone and she owns him alone. The two have become one, bound in a new spiritually interlaced thread.
The maiden’s love is more pleasing than wine (10). She affects all his senses; his body and conscience. The radiance of her soul is a fragrant perfume more so than a spice. Spice is an imported luxury as she is to his life. Spices are fragrances in holy anointing oil and for the fragrant incense.
The Egyptian baroness’ red lips drip with the sweetness of the honeycomb. The bride’s tongue tantalizes like milk and honey (11).
The king’s peeress is a garden locked up (12). His bride is a spring enclosed. She is a sealed fountain. Her delights are protected and safe. She is for him alone. Her southing and refreshing sensual and sexual delights are experienced only by the bridegroom.
When anyone finds a treasure, a pot of gold, a precious jewel, a lot of cash, or an invaluable piece of art they do not give it away. A spouse and a betrothed are more valuable than these whether known or yet to be discovered. When a suitable helpmate is had they are to be made exclusive. Only a fool would share with another.
“She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.” (Proverbs 3:15)
The king had ensured his Beloved, the young mademoiselle that she is beautiful in his eyes (1-7). He had come calling her at her antechamber the early morning prior asking to spend a wonderful spring day together. She refused to leave her sanctuary of self-pity. She did not answer her master. (chapter 3)
The couple worked through the problem individually and then as a couple. All was resolved. The love affair blossomed like a cherry tree in the spring.
Once again the master, the lover came calling his bride to spend not only a day together as before but now bonded for the rest of their lives (8). She had been distant. She had removed herself from her lord. To him, it was like she was on a high mountain. The young lady was as far as the mountains of Lebanon.
Mount Hermon separating Lebanon from Israel is called Senir (or Sanir) by the Sidonians (Phoenicians). Hermon means “devoted mountain”. Senir means “breastplate” because of its rounded snow-covered twin peaks.
The king commanded her to remove herself from the lions’ dens and the haunts of the leopards. The king called her down from her solitude. The bride was ordered to flee her haunts and enjoy life with her Lover.
An important part of healing is when stuck in a mental self-loathing thought and image of ourselves we need to see and be reminded of all the good things too. We need to accept the love of a friend and a spouse.
When a loved one shuts themselves down and retreats into a mountain of thoughts we can help them see the positive and show them out love and acceptance.
The king is a gentleman; passionate, erotic, and romantic. He sincerely and gleefully compliments his beloved woman. He affectionately addresses her as his darling (1). He leaves no room for doubt in the way he sees her beauty.
The eyes are the window to the soul (Matt 6:22). The maiden’s eyes were where he started his praise. They were pure, bright, and clear as a dove.
A woman’s long hair is her glory and her crown (1 Cor. 11:15). The maiden’s hair moved and bounced around like a flock of goats on the move. Her hair flowed as it exemplified the fun and fancy life of his maiden.
Teeth are revealed when a person’s heart is happy and joyful. The duchess’ teeth showed white as sheep freshly washed as she bashfully smiled at her lover (2).
Lips are tender to soft touches. The young lady’s lips were scarlet red; a ribbon and bow on a present (3).
A strong and sure neck supports a confident head. The neck that is like a tower portrays elegance. The neck of the countess of Egypt supported a bright neckless such as a thousand shields of warriors on the tower of David (4).
The king’s acclaim of his darling started at her head and moved down. Now for the first time, he speaks of her breasts. A fawn is a young dear; soft, firm, and pleasant to the touch and eyes. His beloved’s breasts were like twine fawns that browse on a field of lilies. The chest of his love was perfect (5).
Metaphors of the lovers’ intimacy view a full night’s delight (6). The lover’s dominance and passion for his beloved is fragrance. There is confident beauty in his “I will”.
The king is a perfect example of a man when he leaves no doubt in his queen’s mind that she is the perfection of womanhood. A man is best when he see the beauty of his wife and praises her.
The king is coming in splendor for his bride. He approaches through fields made green from the spring rains. The desert is abloom with color (6). The king’s aroma is myrrh and incense. The bride’s heart rejoices and giggles with affection, “Look!”
The king is not alone. Sixty noble warriors are with him (7). Their dress is exceptional, ready to battle; strong, sturdy, and handsome. Their swords strapped by their side, they are skilled in battle (8.). No night terror can remain when the king glides in with his warriors. Doubt, worry, and self-pity flee. The night is passed. The king has arrived.
The king rides in grandeur on a rickshaw, an ornate carriage made for a special occasion. Two silver poles rest on the shoulders of warriors. Silver posts support a purple canopy. The base is gold. The interior is lovingly inlaid by the delicate hands of pure maidens (10).
The king wears a crown made by his mother (11). She approves of his marriage to the Beloved. The king is coming for his bride. His heart rejoices.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” (Matthew 25:31-33)
“For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Matthew 24:27-31)
The king called his lover at dawn to enjoy the spring day with him. However, the Beloved did not respond. She kept to herself, too ashamed of her appearance, especially her sun-weathered face. The Lover eventually left her window. The sun rose to mid-day heat, followed by late evening cool, and sunset sigh. The maiden is alone in the darkness of night laying in a bed of self-pity (1). The moon peeks occasionally from clouds to reveal the maiden’s restless night. The king does love her. He is committed to her. He will protect and provide for her. He risks himself to ride her of family members force her to work in their vineyards and neglect her vineyard. He wants the best for her and him.
Love springs desire. Doubt morphs into a passion.
The noblewoman arises from loathsome’s canopied bed, compelled to find her steed. She looked for the one her heart loves but did not find him (1). The long shadows of morning’s light did not reveal him in the city streets and squares (2).
Fervor’s desire rises with the heat of the sun; heart pounding in search of its love (2). She will not rest though she does not find him. She is like the love bird’s morning sound calling to her mate. She is like the early morning merchant march.
The princess stops the watchmen from making their early morning rounds (3). Their duty will become her feminine quest for her gazelle. He must enjoy his vineyard. “Have you seen the one my heart loves?” “No.”
The panting doe ventures to the city gate. The world had never experienced joy as she for the duchess found the man her heart loves (4).
The Beloved held the king, not letting him go. She had decided to give herself to him. She submits to the king of her heart and body. She will marry him.
The contessa pulls him hurriedly to her mother’s house (4). She brings him into the room of the one who conceived her. The queen consents to her daughter’s union with such a brisk young man.
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.” (John 17:6) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give ou rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
The king is speaking thru a window’s lattice separated from the Egyptian mademoiselle by a wall (9). Twice he commands her, “Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” She remains hidden behind a dark wall, in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding place where shadows rule (14). Embarrassment is holding her captive. She heeds not his commands though he states, “Your face is lovely.” (14)
The king’s plead to his beloved continues. He calls her his dove; equating her to a brilliant white-feathered, pure, and holy gentlewoman. “Show me your face, let me hear your voice.” Why does she not answer? Why doesn’t she obey? He knows why. Her self-doubt shames her. She is embarrassed by her complexion. She cannot show her master a sun-weathered face. She cannot answer her lord.
Will the king of the land abandon his hope? Will the people’s master flee into the arms of another? Is this the end of the Egyptian sonnet? Will he seek the face and voice of another princess? Will he prance into another field of lilies?
The king trumpets an order, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” (15)
The brothers of the maiden, the foxes that steal will suffer for their cruelty. They forced his lover into the fields. They kept her toiling in the vineyard through mid-day sweltering heat. When they oppressed her, they oppressed “us”. The king is committed to protecting his “us”. Harm her, they harm him, they oppress “us”.
The Beloved is moved by her commander’s loyalty. He has not given up on her, on them. Her lover is hers and she is his (16). They are committed though the “little foxes” remain (but not much longer). She imagines the king browsing in her field of lilies (16). All night he is with her imagination. She desires her young stag to traverse her rugged hills.
Her lover is like the morning sun. His presence moves the darkness away. Even the shadows flee when his love enters (17).
“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. ” (Psalm 103:8–10) “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” (Psalm145:8–9).
“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:3–5) “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.” (Genesis 1:3–5)
A new scene begins. The morning virgin sun gently changes the night sky with a warm breath of mint. The luxurious sultana is a profusion of allure as she prepares herself in her chamber for a day of enchantment with her king. A few companions are with her aflush with life.
A gentle sound enters her female exclusive parlor. “Listen!” she hushes them (8). “My lover! Look!” The king approaches a window, separated from her by a lattice and a wall (9). He maintains dignity. He does not gaze upon his beloved as she prepares for the day. She appreciates his vigor, speed, alertness, and fortitude as that of a gazelle or a young stage (8,9).
The nobleman addresses his beloved. He is anxious for a day with his beautiful one, eager to break through the gate at the start of the race (10). She needs no more care for her appearance. She is the aptitude for grandeur. She is ordered to “Arise… Come with me.”
The king appeals to her intellect. “The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.” (11) He desires to experience spring with her. Their love has blossomed in limitless youthful life just as the earth in springtime after an early morning shower.
Flowers bloom blanketing the ground to the horizon (12). Songbirds fill the air with harmonious ballets and sonnets as they call to their mate. Doves coo an enticement to a potential mate (12). They too wish to share the moment.
Fig trees present green fruit to ripen (13). Fragrant vines blossom sending a pleasing aroma. The whole world is presenting its best for them to experience romance.
The king is eager for his lover. “Arise,” he orders again, “My darling, my beautiful one, come with me.” Wise King Solomon perhaps reflecting on this day later confessed, “There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden.” (Proverbs 30:18–19).
God’s first blessing and order is, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.” His reason for making us two, man and woman is to “be united” and to “become one flesh” as he and the Father and Spirit are one. The Lord God planted a garden, a home, and a sanctuary for them to explore and experience life, to become one. A wise man will always find ways to enjoy life and love with his lover. “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
The young lady describes her lover. As a fruit tree is desired over other forest trees, so her king is desired over other young men (3).
Such a tree is a cool refuge from the piercing hot sunlight. She rests in peace and comfort. Such a tree has sweet fruit to satisfy the body and soul. Eating its apples tingles the tongue. Its juice is sweet textured sugar. The taste inhales a pleasured sigh. So pleasing is the taste of her king.
When her master takes her to the banquet hall all can see his love for her (4). His love is displayed as if a banner over her says love. He treats her like the lady she is.
The thought and presence of her lord weaken her. She is faint. She asks for raisins and apples to strengthen her. The beloved is dizzy with love (5).
The maiden is alone with her lover. Their only company are gazelles and does of the field (7). She is laying with her king on a bed of nature’s delight. Her overlord’s left arm supports and upholds her head. His right arm is embracing her, firmly against her lower back (6). Their eyes are locked in love’s gaze. They swim in each other’s souls.
The maiden lives in the moment of romantic blending. She is not aware of the world around her; only her lover exists. She is one with her master. Now she experiences love; emotion, passion, romance, bonding, and blending of souls (7). She encourages her friends, the daughters of Jerusalem, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it desires.” (7)
Romantic love is not to be commanded or induced. Love comes from above. Love is a small seed; nourishing and caring for it will allow it to take shape, grow, and produce fruit in and out of season. Love is a seed in Jesus’ parable of four souls. “A farmer went out to sow his seed (Matt 13:1; Mark 4:13) “And when sown, it comes up and grows taller than all the vegetables, and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky can nest in its shade.” (Mark 4:32) “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth… you are God’s field…” (1 Cor. 3:7,9)