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Ecclesiastes 11:8-10 – Some Advice for Young and Old

Summary

Given the uncertainties of life, both young and old should rejoice in the years God gives them.

Analysis

The imperative directed at young people in 11:9 sounds somewhat surprising in the broader context of the wisdom tradition. Ecclesiastes does not call the young to work hard, to get up early, or to lead chaste and pure lives (see Proverbs 6:6; 12:11; 12:24; 19:15; 20:13; 26:14). Young people are advised to enjoy their lives--acknowledging that such advice is also good for senior citizens (11:8).

Ecclesiastes 11:8-10

8 Even those who live for many years should rejoice in them all; yet let them remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.

9 Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Follow the inclination of your heart and the desire of your eyes, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgement.

10 Banish anxiety from your mind, and put away pain from your body; for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.

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10 February 2011

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