4/9 Reading (Ecclesiastes 10-12; Matthew 12)

Ecclesiastes 10: Not too much to say which isn’t surprising since I’m just trying to get through this book. I did find these verses interesting:

12     Words from a wise person’s mouth are beneficial, but fools are devoured by their own lips.
13     Fools start out talking foolishness and end up speaking awful nonsense.
14     Fools talk too much! No one knows what will happen; no one can say what will happen in the future.
15     The hard work of fools tires them out because they don’t even know the way to town!

I did read in the NRSV notes that the main focus of this chapter is on the notion that the world is full of risks.

Ecclesiastes 11: The heading for this chapter in the CEB version is “Take risks; life is short” (p. 1069 OT). Here are the notes in the CEB version for this entire chapter: “In the final reflections before the closing poem, the Teacher discusses what one should do, given the brevity of life. This involves charity, taking risks while working wisely, and enjoying life while one can” (p. 1069 OT).

I like the science aspect of these verses:

3 If clouds fill up, they will empty out rain on the earth. If a tree falls, whether to the south or to the north, wherever it falls, there it will lie. 4 Those who watch the wind blow will never sow, and those who observe the clouds will never reap. 5 Just as you don’t understand what the life-breath does in the fetus inside a pregnant woman’s womb, so you can’t understand the work of God, who makes everything happen. 6 Scatter your seed in the morning, and in the evening don’t be idle because you don’t know which will succeed, this one or that, or whether both will be equally good.

When this text was written humans didn’t necessarily understand the natural explanations for things. Now we do. And I don’t think that God necessarily “makes everything happen.” That’s just me though. Did God play a role in things? That’s a viable question that is a theological or religious question. It isn’t a scientific question.

Ecclesiastes 12: This chapter begins with a focus on the impending death we all face. We then get a section titled “motto and conclusion” in the CEB study bible. It starts with the following phrase: “Perfectly pointless, says the Teacher, everything is pointless” (12:8; p. 1071 OT). Just so reassuring.

Because I’m just so tired of reading this book I am going to put the final verses here and reflect at a later date:

9 Additionally: Because the Teacher was wise, he constantly taught the people knowledge. He listened and investigated. He composed many proverbs. 10 The Teacher searched for pleasing words, and he wrote truthful words honestly.
11 The words of the wise are like iron-tipped prods;
   the collected sayings of the masters
       are like nails fixed firmly by a shepherd.
12     Be careful, my child, of anything beyond them!
There’s no end to the excessive production of scrolls. Studying too much wearies the body. 13 So this is the end of the matter; all has been heard. Worship God and keep God’s commandments because this is what everyone must do. 14 God will definitely bring every deed to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or bad.

Matthew 12: There’s a lot of different things going on here. I just want to summarize and continue forward:

    • The Pharisees tell Jesus and his disciples not to work on the sabbath because it’s against the law (they were picking heads of wheat because they were hungry); he tells them off
    • The Pharisees ask Jesus if he is allowed to heal someone on the sabbath (he does); this is clearly the beginning of their effort to destroy Jesus
    • Jesus then heals an entire crowd but tells them not to tell anyone; the Pharisees accuse him of working for Beelzebul, the ruler of demons; Jesus tells them off
    • This is followed by a section titled “insulting the holy spirit;” the purpose here is to admonish the Pharisees for their earlier statements about working for Beelzebul
    • There’s a section where he compares what they say to the “trees and fruits;” I don’t really get this section
    • To further test him the Pharisees request a sign from Jesus to indicate that he is the son of God; Jesus calls them out on this too
    • Jesus then tells a parable of an unclean spirit seeking a home
    • Jesus is told that his mother and brothers were looking to speak with him; he pretty much blows them off and tells his disciples that they are his family now; he specifically says “Whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven is my brother, sister, and mother” (12:50).



I want to look at the last one more at a later time.

2 thoughts on “4/9 Reading (Ecclesiastes 10-12; Matthew 12)

  1. Elizabeth A. Hardin

    Yes, reading the whole Bible can be a drag, but we see the consequences of it in public thought (hmmm, maybe not the right word). To paraphrase Steve C., if people say they are literal interpreters, they probably have not read the whole Bible.

    On the Matthew section, just a reminder that later in his life, Jesus compassionately give responsibility for supporting his mother to a disciple. Sometimes we “shout” to make a point.

    We watched some of NBC Live’s Jesus Christ Superstar on Sunday. It was amazing – well worth watching (which you can do on nbc.com). It reminds me so of the complicated way that Jesus was understood in his day, even though this production is “modern.”



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