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Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 – Enjoy!

Summary

Though life is brief and death certain, life is a gift to be enjoyed.

Analysis

Two of the basic forms of Wisdom literature in the Bible are short sayings and longer essays (Proverbs 10-31 provides many examples of the former; Proverbs 1-9 provides examples of the latter--this kind of material is sometimes called "instruction"). The book of Ecclesiastes contains both of these types of material. Here in 9:7-10 is the longest piece of "instruction" in the book, where imperative verbs dominate (Go…eat…drink…enjoy). Note that each imperative is given a reason (for God has long ago approved…because that is your portion in life…for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol); this is a reasonable way to live! Following Ecclesiastes in the Bible is the Song of Solomon, which may be understood as a spelling out of the Teacher's advice to "enjoy life with the wife whom you love."

Ecclesiastes 9:7-10

7 Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. 8Let your garments always be white; do not let oil be lacking on your head. 9Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

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10 February 2011

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