ECCLESIASTES

Chapter 2

"Great Works, Pleasure Sought and Hated, Then Judged."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription/ location
is provided by
http://www.theseason.org/ 

 

Ecclesiastes 2:1 "I said in mine heart, `Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure:' and, behold, this also is vanity."

"I said in my mind." I told myself that I would have a good time, and just play, and even that play got old. There was nothing in it, and it brought me nothing but emptiness.

Ecclesiastes 2:2 "I said of laughter, `It is mad:' and of mirth, `What doeth it?' "

In other words, if you lose your self control, and just laugh, it is mad. Why? Man in the flesh finds very little satisfaction in just having a good time. There is no fulfillment in just playing all the time.

Ecclesiastes 2:3 "I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life."

I concentrated in my mind that I would try to have a good time by drinking of wine, and at the same time I would try to concentrate on wisdom. This way I can also feel good while in my thinking process, because I will have alcohol in me. I will then try to take care of my business, as the flesh man do all the days of their lives.

King Solomon is going to try to conduct business in the same manner that many business men do today. They settle the deal after they have drunk to the point where common sense has left them, and the mind in softened to the point where there is no reason, and ability to understand. In many businesses this is the normal way of doing business. Seal the deal over a drink.

Do you think that king Solomon had a good time operating in this fashion? Of course not.

Ecclesiastes 2:4 "I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:"

As far as I could see, I had it all. Everything I desired, I had.

Ecclesiastes 2:5 "I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:"

"Gardens" in the Hebrew means "paradise". I tried to build myself a paradise. Flesh just can't build it's own paradise. This would be like the botanical and zoological parks of the ancient Assyria of 1120 B.C., and stocked it with all sorts of animals, birds and wild life.

"Orchards" would be like our parks and pleasure grounds of today.

Ecclesiastes 2:6 "I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:"

Solomon tried to set up irrigated fields to bring forth forests.

Ecclesiastes 2:7 "I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:"

I had more than any man that had ever lived before me, and I should have been happy.

Ecclesiastes 2:8 "I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts."

"Gathered" in the Hebrew (kanas) means "amassed". King Solomon amassed shiploads of gold and silver, grater that all the other kings treasuries combined. Solomon had his own band, and orchestra, and singers and choir, he had everything.Ecclesiastes 2:9 "So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me."

Solomon not only was wealthier than any other king that had ever existed, but he also was wiser then any. The son of David was blessed by God, but did he find peace of mind there in all his wealth and abundance? This is a good place to understand a little more about Solomon, and what he was looking for. To find out what is at the bottom of Solomon's heart (mind) lets go to I Kings 3.

I Kings 3:5 "In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, "Ask what I shall give thee."

God wanted to give something to Solomon, to bless him. If God appeared to you and asked the same question, what would you ask for?

I Kings 3:6 "And Solomon said, "Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before Thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with Thee; and Thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that Thou has given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day."

That son of David that is on the throne is Solomon.

I Kings 3:7 "And now, O Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in."

Solomon is telling God that he is just a young man, inexperienced like his father David was. This is not a child as you think of a child today. Solomon did not know anything about the responsibilities that has come upon Solomon, as he took over the throne in Jerusalem. Now Solomon is trying to figure out just what he should ask for.

I Kings 3:8 "And Thy servant is in the midst of Thy People which Thou hast chosen, a great People, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude."

I Kings 3:9 "Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy People, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this Thy so great a People?"

This is what king Solomon asked for when God gave him the choice of anything he desired. Remember Solomon was still a very young man, and he had just taken over the throne from his father David. Solomon is not trying to con God, but he is talking as a humble servant taking over a position that he knows very little about. Solomon wants God an understanding heart to judge the people that God has placed him over.

Solomon did not ask for the gold and silver, the armies and servants, the singers and orchestra, nor the other wealth and gifts that he had amassed, that came later, as we read in Ecclesiastes. He didn't ask for any of it, he asked for an understanding heart to do his job, and judge God's people.

I Kings 3:10 "And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing."

I Kings 3:11 "And God said unto him, "Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast but asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thy self understanding to discern judgment:"

Solomon didn't ask for any riches, or even that God would kill a bunch of people on his behalf; Solomon asked only for the ability to have an understanding mind that could rule fairly over God's people.

I Kings 3:12 "Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee."

You can understand a lot about not only Solomon here, but also a lot about God. Solomon's concern was for the well being of God's people, and their betterment came before any enrichment of his own life. Because of this concern, God fulfilled Solomon's wish which was within God's will. Aside from Jesus Christ Himself, Solomon was the wisest man that walked on the face of the earth. Why? He was humble before God. Solomon cared for God's children.

The reason we should know this man is that it is his advise that we are taking in the book of Ecclesiastes, give to the man that walks under the sun, in the flesh body. Solomon is a man that would not try to cheat you, and deceive you, because in writing the book of Ecclesiastes he was trying to help the children of God. He was using the wisdom that God gave to him, that you could understand how to walk under the sun in these flesh bodies. Even to this day, there is nothing new under the sun, because God never changes. He is the same today as He was yesterday, and he will be that same way tomorrow.

Solomon's wisdom is innocent and God given, and a divine intervention into true wisdom in our every thought. The book of Ecclesiastes is our guide book of learning how to be happy and peaceful while we are living in our flesh bodies.

I Kings 3:13 "And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days."

There was never a king that lived in the flesh that has ever been like king Solomon.

I Kings 3:14 "And if thou wilt walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days."

When we listen to our heavenly Father, and follow his instruction that is written in His Word, God will bless you. God gave us Solomon with these credentials; honesty, love, and caring about those that are of God. Solomon asked for advise on how to advise you, and in return God gave him everything flesh man could ever hope for, including a long life.

I Kings 3:15 "And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants."

Solomon didn't run to the treasury to see if the gold was there, he went to the house of God, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. You talk about faith, Solomon thanked God before he ever received one ounce of silver from the promise, he thanked God for what he was about to receive.

Even at this time of offering up the offerings to the Lord, he made a feast to all his servants, and not to himself. Try to see the compassion that Solomon had for others, and the love and understanding that he gave out to God's people.

Solomon mentions his mind, or heart very often, and it is important to know the type of mind that he had.

Ecclesiastes 2:10 "And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour."

Solomon took pride within himself for the labor that he did, and what he accomplished, for he knew it was from God.

Ecclesiastes 2:11 "Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun."

Solomon observed that as hard as he worked to accomplish something, and work, and with all the pride that he took in what he did, as soon as it came, it vanished, and left an emptiness with is flesh body. Man cannot find peace of mind in property, grain, gold, and being a good time playboy. All it does is give us a temporary relief from the load that we can get under in this flesh body. It is definitely not long lasting, it lasts only temporarily, then it vanishes. Weariness is only there when it is observed through the eyes of the flesh, and not through the inner eyes of your soul [self]. The inner self that Solomon spoke through, when he spoke to God about the cares of his people.

When Solomon looked at all the works that had been accomplished, and wealth that had been accomplished, he saw that it did not profit him with peace of mind, for all those things in the end, still left an emptiness within himself. Without the heavenly Father, there can be no peace of mind.

Ecclesiastes 2:12 "And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done."

Solomon then turned from the wealth that he amassed, and all the labor and thing that had been accomplished, and turn his mind to wisdom, and relate wisdom to madness and folly. Solomon had all this wealth, and if he had tried to find peace of mind in it, and if could not do this being gifted from God, there certainly is no man that cometh after me that can find peace also.

Ecclesiastes 2:13 "Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness."

The wisdom was better than the folly. The man that walks in darkness may have eyes, but in the darkness he cannot see. Solomon is comparing the wisdom to the folly that man seeks, and compares it to one seeing in the day, as to one trying to see in the darkness of the night. You are better when you use wisdom, and plan ahead for it makes you successful. We are talking here about business, the household, and earthly things. If you have wisdom, you look ahead and plan for the times and seasons, the ups and the downs, and it is not like the folly of the world that lives only for the moment.

Solomon is saying that wisdom is a lot better that the folly, but it still will not bring you peace of mind.

Ecclesiastes 2:14 "The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I mayself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all."

The wise man uses the eyes that are in his head, or the wisdom that is in his mind. But the fool is one that doesn't have the ability to look ahead to plan for the future. He is in darkness and just doesn't care where he is, because the only thing that matters is the space that he occupies at that moment in time.

The event that is spoken of here, is the death of the flesh body. Remember that this whole book is dealing only with the flesh body, and our life that we live while in that flesh body. Solomon is saying that I know that I am going to die, and I also know that the fool is going to die. That is folly also, and that looking for death can not bring peace of mind, for it bring the soul right back to the Father that gave it. Though I live in wisdom, I live a little better, but both I and the fool will die. This is not in reference to spiritual matters, but only to the flesh body, and finding peace of mind through the flesh.

Ecclesiastes 2:15 "Then said I in my heart, `As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise?" Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity."

Heart is translated mind. I thought this to myself when I look at my wisdom and the folly of the fool, and I see that both the fool and I will end up the same, in death, then I saw that both had only vanity [emptiness] to offer. Neither could bring me peace of mind. Solomon is trying to evaluate the priorities that you should place on your life, as far as the flesh is concerned.

Ecclesiastes 2:16 "For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man: as the fool."

There are many wise men that we will never forget, such as Solomon, Daniel, and others, but in everyday life there are very few people that can remember back four or five generations in their family, and know the things of wisdom or folly that they did. Most people don't even know the name of the grandmother back five generation, or where they came from. You don't know anything about them, nor do you care anything of their trials and folly that befell them. You have you own life and children to worry about, and that is enough to concern you, and most people could care less.

What Solomon is saying here is the remembrance of the past, whether wisdom or folly is not in the flesh, The flesh cares only for itself and the moment, it has no concern for immortality and the condition of the soul. The two natures are separate from each other, and the flesh cares only for itself. Paul wrote of this in Romans, where he talked about the fight between the two natures, when we have repented of our sins, and believe on Jesus Christ. The flesh and it's nature is the same whether it be in wisdom or folly, and it seeks only the well being of the flesh. In the end they both go back to the dust of the earth, as is discussed in later chapters.

Ecclesiastes 2:17 "Therefore I hated life; Because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit."

Solomon says that when you look at the shortness of the flesh life, it disturbs you. Why? Because no matter what you do, it just doesn't bring peace of mind. What ever is done either in wisdom or in folly seems to end the same, in the grave and with emptiness and depression. Nothing in the flesh gives peace of mind or eternal life, and is worth only what is taken to the grave, nothing. In the end there is no pleasure in the accumulation of anything this flesh has amassed.

Peace of mind is the understanding and faith or hope that we have in God, eternity, the future, and the things of heavenly nature, and without that every thing is like a puff of vapor in the wind.

When you die and and are covered over, in five generation your family will not have even a picture of you, or know your name. Think of it, what did your grandparents look like five generations ago, and what was even one good or bad thing in their life. Remembrance is buried with them in the flesh, is what Solomon is trying to relate to us. There is no hope in the flesh, or to the flesh.

Solomon is working up to the point that the wise know that the longevity of anyone is in the spirit, and not in the flesh. There is no life in the flesh, except for a very short period of time. It is also better that the flesh use wisdom and be successful in all matters, but that has nothing to do with eternal life. If all your wealth is based on fleshly gains, then it has gained your soul nothing in the eternity. Solomon hated the enjoyment that he received from it, because it wasn't complete.

Ecclesiastes 2:18 "Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because should leave it unto the man that shall be after me."

Solomon hated the thought that when he died, those things that he had worked so hard for would be turned over to someone else.

Ecclesiastes 2:19 "And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity."

When I am dead and in the grave, then this one that takes over all the wealth that I have amassed will do with it as he sees fit, whether it be wise or as a fool. I worked hard in wisdom to manage what I have, and if I turn it over to someone that isn't wise, it is gone and nothing but emptiness.

We can see many elderly people that have amassed much wealth, and upon their death, their foolish children, and the thieves of the courts turn it into nothing. It becomes wasted and scattered, and the inheritance is gone before the flesh body has lost it's heat. The kinds start fighting over what is left, and they get two hot shot lawyers, and the lawyers pad their wallets, and the family does without. Solomon is saying this is vanity, this is emptiness.

The parents work their entire lives to make things a little better for their kids, and the kids rather then doing it the Christian way, allow the men of the courts to strip them blind. Stupidity is a very expensive thing, and the fool does very foolish things, and that is what the courts thrive on.

Ecclesiastes 2:20 "Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despare of all the labour which I took under the sun."

Remember, "under the sun" means "in the flesh". Solomon is saying that with all this toiling that I have done in the flesh, and the wealth that I have gotten, is this son that follows me going to blow it all right off the bat? Did I do it all in my life for nothing, for only the short time in the flesh that I have reigned?

Ecclesiastes 2:21 "For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil."

Solomon is now looking at the wise man that labored all his life in knowledge and wisdom in his business [equity], and then he dies and leaves the business to his son. This son knows nothing of the business, and has not worked in it to make it a success, and Solomon is saying that this is a great evil, which is better translated, calamity. The man turns the blessings of God over to a ungrateful son, and the nature of the son, in the flesh is to do folly with it. This is vanity, or emptiness. There was no planning with that wealth for the future, to do good for others.

If I have to depend on this for the eternity it just is not worth it, for the one that follows me can go through it in a week.

Ecclesiastes 2:22 "For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?"

For what is it to man, for all the work that he does, and the frustrations that he goes through in his mind to get his wealth, in the end. When you die, and they count up your wealth, of what gain is it to you, to your soul in the eternity when the flesh body lies in the grave?

In the flesh one could get very boastful of his gains and earthly positions, however, the moment that heart stops ticking, and the buying of your friends ceases, at that point what is any earthly gain of the flesh.?

True wisdom is to take care of yourself forever, and that is both in the flesh, and the soul, or spiritual body. That comes only by pleasing God, and being in His will. It comes by your repentance in Jesus name, and your belief in the finished work on the cross that Jesus completed. That is of the spirit, and not of the flesh.

Any working for the flesh just will not benefit you as far as the next earth age is concerned. There are works though that you can take with you to the next life, and that is recorded in Revelation 20:12; "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works."

What is done for the for the glory of God, by your commitment of your spiritual nature is the only works, or labor that will count in the next life. You use what you have in the flesh life, to apply to carry on with you in the next. The giving to help God's Word go forth, to help in any manner of God's work or people, even the giving of water to the next door child, in Jesus name, is all part of the works that goes with us. This is not laboring under the sun, but is an act from God of charity to give to those that need it.

Remember we have two bodies, the flesh body and the spiritual body, and we have to separate what we do in the flesh from what we do from the spiritual body. What is done in the flesh just will not matter much, but what is done in and from the spirit is with us in eternity.

Ecclesiastes 2:23 "For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity."

When all your though is for the gain of the flesh body, and the wealth that we amass, there is no rest for him day or night, he just can't sleep with all the worries. This is also vanity, emptiness in the end. Anything that causes us to loss a night sleep, and dull the mind, effects what we do the next day, and throws off our judgment on all matters.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 "There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God."

This is Solomon's conclusion. Don't become a miser, or a worry wart; but if you are going to labor and earn a certain amount, don't do without, but enjoy what you have. If the need is there, then get what you need. If you earned it and worked for it then it is your God given right to enjoy what you have. When you are no longer in the flesh, and have died, those that come later will never enjoy your wealth like the one that has earned it. Use what you have to make things a little easier for you and the way that you live. Enjoy what you have, it is God's gift to you for having labored, and God will increase what you have as you continue in your laboring.

Ecclesiastes 2:25 "For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more that I?"

This verse in the manuscripts is a continuation of the verse prior. It read, "For without the hand of God, who can eat, or who can hasten more than I." It is God that giveth all that we have, and are able to do.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 "For God giveth to a man that is good in His sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner He giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit."

All wisdom, joy, and things that we enjoy is given of God. Those that seek sinful ways, God gives them trouble and sorrow. When the sinner goes against the ways of God, God may heap up what they have and their wealth and gain that the sinner has will spill over on the good people that are around him.

There is a time when the wise person just stays away from the foolish person that would drag him down. There comes a time, even when we are planting the seeds of truth, that we should just leave that person alone, and let the Spirit of God work in his mind.

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