Lesson 10 w/answersEcclesiastes 12:1-14
This lesson concludes our study of Ecclesiastes.
Over the course of our studies, we have observed Solomon’s disdain for the folly of man’s thinking, and man’s belief that, through work, or pleasure, or even philosophy, man can find lasting meaning and fulfillment. How are we to act? How are we to think? And where will we find fulfillment? Solomon’s conclusion is that these are all answered by studying, meditating and following God and His instruction, His commandments.
Let’s read Chapter 12 and reflect on what we have learned in light of all that we have studied.
- In Eccl. 12:1, Solomon acknowledges that God is our creator. Then he admonishes us to acknowledge this "before the days of trouble come..." What days or time period is he referring to?
- ANSWER: During our old age, when he believes we will find no pleasure in the days of our lives.
- In verses two through five, Solomon appears to be talking about the days when old age begins to set in and its effect on the person and the home. Let’s see if we can determine what some of these effects might be, beginning in verse 3.
- The keepers of the house tremble?
- ANSWER: The arms and hands grow weak
- The strong men stoop?
- ANSWER: Legs grow bent and feeble
- The grinders cease because they are few?
- ANSWER: Refers to teeth becoming fewer
- Those looking through the windows grow dim?
- ANSWER: Eyesight beginning to fail
- The doors to the street are closed?
- ANSWER: This may picture the lips sinking in due to the lack of teeth
- When men rise up at the sound of birds?
- ANSWER: Old people are early risers, their sleep patterns are irregular
- All their songs grow faint?
- ANSWER: Hearing becomes impaired
- Afraid of heights and dangers in the streets?
- ANSWER: Lack of vigor and a growing fear of venturing out
- The almond tree blossoms?
- ANSWER: Refers to hair turning white—almond tree blossoms are white
- The grasshopper drags himself along?
- ANSWER: Body being bent and walking slowed
- Desire no longer is stirred?
- ANSWER: Speaks of diminished appetites
- Man goes to his eternal home?
- ANSWER: The grave, he dies, etc.
- Mourners go about in the streets?
- ANSWER: Those who remain behind grieve
- The keepers of the house tremble?
- Solomon then tells his readers what happens after the body dies, that it returns to the dust from which it came and the spirit returns to God from which it came. He then summarizes all of his study in verses eight through fourteen. In verse eight Solomon reflects back on life from youth to old age and on man’s efforts to find fulfillment and meaning. What his conclusion?
- ANSWER: That all of man’s efforts at finding meaning and fulfillment through his own endeavors are meaningless, they amount to nothing and man is never fulfilled or happy when relying on his own efforts.
- Solomon then speaks to the time, thought and prayer he put into developing, outlining and writing this book. He tells us that he wanted it to be pleasing to read and he wanted it to be correct and truthful and presented in an orderly manner. In verses eleven and twelve he says the words of the wise are "like goads" and "firmly embedded nails." What does he mean by these references to wisdom?
- ANSWER: A goad was a long stick with a sharp object on the end of it and was used to prod the ox that pulled the cart or plow and of course firmly embedded nails would be used to secure things together. Therefore Solomon saw the wisdom of his writing, the wisdom of God he was passing to us, as words that would encourage and stimulate us and words that would provide something secure we could build on and words that would hold things together firmly.
- Solomon concludes his writings with verses thirteen and fourteen. How does Solomon very concisely sum up all that he has learned in verse thirteen?
- ANSWER: Fear God and keep His Commandments.
- In reading verse 14, and knowing that Solomon wrote these words while living "on the other side of the cross," that is, before Christ and the knowledge of Christ was known to him; how does Solomon’s view of life after death differ from the Christian view today?
- ANSWER: We are saved from judgment through the shed blood of Jesus the Christ; we are passed from judgment under the law. We also look toward heaven and a time of rest and peace with God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Solomon knew of no such thing and, like all of those who lived prior to Christ’s coming, did not believe that it was possible to have pleasure and light after death. Today, through Christ’s and his disciples’ teachings, we know otherwise and look forward to being in heaven with our Creator, our Savior, and our fellow believers.
May God bless you as you study with us and we apply Solomon’s findings to our lives.