I MUST REREAD ECCLESIASTES WHEN THIS IS ALL OVER.
Ecclesiastes 7: In this chapter the teacher talks about how wisdom is better than wealth. He then says a bunch of different proverbs, some stranger than others:
1 A good name is better than fine oil,
and the day of death better than the birthday.
2 It is better to go to a house in mourning
than to a house party,
because that is everyone’s destiny;
and the living should take it to heart.
3 Aggravation is better than merriment
because a sad face may lead to a glad heart.
4 The wise heart is in the house that mourns,
but the foolish heart is in the house that rejoices.
5 It is better to obey the reprimand of the wise
than to listen to the song of fools,
6 because the fool’s merriment
is like nettles crackling under a kettle.
That too is pointless.
7 Oppression turns the wise into fools;
a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 The end of something is better than its beginning.
Patience is better than arrogance.
9 Don’t be too quick to get angry
because anger lives in the fool’s heart.
10 Don’t ask, “How is it that the former days were better than these?”
because it isn’t wise to ask this.
11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance—
an advantage for those who see the sun.
12 Wisdom’s protection is like the protection of money;
the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.
I’ve put some of the stranger ones in bold. I just don’t have much to say about this book. It’s kinda annoying. Later in the chapter the teacher talks about his pointless life and then talks about how “wisdom makes a wise person stronger than ten rulers who are in a city” (7:19).
Ecclesiastes 8: We continue to see discussion about the difficulty of gaining wisdom, but still having some of it is a good thing. The Teacher warns us of power and being careful with it. The teacher ends with a reference to enjoying the life we have.
Ecclesiastes 9: The Teacher explains again how everyone shares the same fate whether you are good or bad. He encourages us to be happy, eat our food and drink our wine happily. We should do the following:
9 Enjoy life with your dearly loved spouse all the days of your pointless life that God gives you under the sun—all the days of your pointless life!—because that’s your part to play in this life and in your hard work under the sun. 10 Whatever you are capable of doing, do with all your might because there’s no work, thought, knowledge, or wisdom in the grave, which is where you are headed.
I want to share a last bit from this chapter:
13 I also observed the following example of wisdom under the sun—it impressed me greatly: 14 There was a small town with only a few residents. A mighty king came against it, surrounded it, and waged a terrible war against it. 15 Now there lived in that town a poor but wise man who saved everyone by his wisdom. But no one remembered that poor man. 16 So I thought, Wisdom is better than might, but the wisdom of commoners is despised and their words aren’t heeded.
17 The calm words of the wise are better heeded than the racket caused by a ruler among fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one incompetent person destroys much good.
From the NRSV notes: “The author disputes the cause-and-effect or act-and-consequence logic that characterizes Proverbs’ view of life. Outcomes are not predictable” (p. 945).
Psalm 93: Here’s something interesting from the NRSV notes: “Like Pss 95–99, Ps 93 praises the Lord as sole king of the universe. Early Israel shared the ancient view that a deity became supreme by defeating chaos and creating a stable and fertile world” (p. 851).
I don’t really have a lot to say about this one. The one thing I want to mention, and I think this has to do with all the psalms, is that the psalms that only heap praise on God just don’t sit well with me. If, as some argue, the Bible was written by humans with God overseeing the process, why are there so many Psalms that just heap praise on God? I don’t get that. What I really want to do is sit down with someone, unload my frustrations, and then talk it through.
Psalm 94: In this one the psalmist appeals to God to come and judge the wicked. The psalmist warns those people who are wicked that they better beware because God is listening and God knows everything.
Psalm 95: The psalmist encourages the people to worship God and reminds them that God will protect the people as long as they remain God’s loyal and obedient servant.
Psalm 96: Another psalm praising God and calling on the nations to recognize the one true God.